Why users purchase virtual products in MMORPG? An integrative perspective of social presence and user engagement

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-427
Journal / PublicationInternet Research
Issue number2
Online published3 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


Purpose - Prior studies on virtual product purchase have focused on external technological factor but have paid less attention to internal user factors. Thus, drawing upon the social presence and user engagement theories, the purpose of this paper is to develop a research model considering both technological factors and user factors and empirically examine the validity of the proposed research model.
Design/methodology/approach - A survey from 214 World of Warcraft players was conducted to test the proposed research model, and structural equation modelling approach (specifically, PLS) was used to test the proposed hypotheses.
Findings - The data analysis results suggest that both social presence and user engagement positively influence the intention to purchase virtual products. Furthermore, two technological factors, interactivity and sociability, are found to affect social presence, and two social factors, social ties and social identity, are found to affect user engagement.
Originality/value - This study proposes a dual factor framework (i.e. technological and user factors) to investigate the factors influencing the intention to purchase by integrating the social presence perspective and user engagement perspective. The findings would be beneficial for service provider of massively multiplayer online role-playing games to recognize that triggering user demand is of equal importance with offering better technologies and suggest new ways to promote users’ virtual product purchase intentions.

Research Area(s)

  • MMORPG, Social presence, User engagement, Virtual community, Virtual product