Electronic Markets

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 307–316 | Cite as

Virtual worlds in competitive contexts: Analyzing eSports consumer needs

Special Theme

Abstract

More recently, 3D graphical environments on the Internet, that is virtual worlds, have moved to the center of scientific interest. Since virtual worlds are suggested to mold social computing, research has predominately focused on collaborative virtual worlds. Yet, virtual worlds increasingly move to competitive environments leaving operating businesses with the question as to what to offer in order to fulfill customers’ needs. To close this knowledge gap, we examine competitive virtual worlds in terms of eSports services intrinsically tying cooperation and competition; we illuminate competitive and hedonic need gratifications of continuous eSports use. We apply Uses and Gratifications theory reporting on ten in-depth expert interviews as well as survey data collected from 360 eSports players. We reveal that both competitive (competition and challenge) and hedonic need gratifications (escapism) drive continuous eSports use.

Keywords

Virtual worlds eSports Uses and gratifications 

JEL classification

M1–Business Administration M19–Other 

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Copyright information

© Institute of Information Management, University of St. Gallen 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Business, Media and Technology ManagementUniversity of CologneCologneGermany
  2. 2.Department of Information Systems and Information ManagementUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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