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Identifying the preferences and heterogeneity of consumer groups in multiplayer video games


  • Daniel Kaimann

    (Paderborn University)

  • Nadja Maraun

    (Paderborn University)

  • Joe Cox

    (Portsmouth Business School)


Video games are high-involvement products with multiplatform and multiplayer characteristics, which aim to enhance consumer utility by providing opportunities for ‘playful consumption’. However, relatively little research has previously been undertaken into preferences for playful consumption, particularly in the context of multiplayer video games. This study addresses this deficiency in the literature through the analysis of data from a popular online game that includes historic behavioral data for 7 million consumers participating in 868,000 unique game rounds. Our analysis of these data identify the behavioral preferences of consumers in order to identify the factors associated with variations in consumer participation and engagement. We show that consumers value opportunities for score enhancement, with a preference for combat rather than non-combat actions. However, our findings also suggest that consumers value variety and heterogeneity as part of the experience, suffering disutility from factors such as the absence of particular player-roles or vehicle use within a given round. Our results represent the first such evidence on ‘in-game’ consumer preferences and the optimization of the video gaming experience, which has important implications for player matching, utility and willingness to pay for additional content.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Kaimann & Nadja Maraun & Joe Cox, 2016. "Identifying the preferences and heterogeneity of consumer groups in multiplayer video games," Working Papers CIE 94, Paderborn University, CIE Center for International Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:pdn:ciepap:94

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holbrook, Morris B, et al, 1984. "Play as a Consumption Experience: The Roles of Emotions, Performance, and Personality in the Enjoyment of Games," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(2), pages 728-739, September.
    2. Karol Borowiecki & Juan Prieto-Rodriguez, 2015. "Video games playing: A substitute for cultural consumptions?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 39(3), pages 239-258, August.
    3. Holt, Douglas B, 1995. "How Consumers Consume: A Typology of Consumption Practices," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-16, June.
    4. Shabbar Jaffry & Alexandros Apostolakis, 2011. "Evaluating individual preferences for the British Museum," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 35(1), pages 49-75, February.
    5. Holbrook, Morris B & Hirschman, Elizabeth C, 1982. "The Experiential Aspects of Consumption: Consumer Fantasies, Feelings, and Fun," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 132-140, September.
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    More about this item


    Preferences; Video game industry; Cultural goods; Multiple regression analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • C55 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Large Data Sets: Modeling and Analysis
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • L82 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Entertainment; Media
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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