Virtual worlds in competitive contexts: Analyzing eSports consumer needs

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Due to space constraints, we do not provide an in-depth discussion of Rayburn and Palmgreen’s (1984) model.

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Correspondence to Thomas Weiss.

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Responsible Editors: Hans-Dieter Zimmermann and Nilmini Wickramasinghe

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Weiss, T., Schiele, S. Virtual worlds in competitive contexts: Analyzing eSports consumer needs. Electron Markets 23, 307–316 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-013-0127-5

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Keywords

  • Virtual worlds
  • eSports
  • Uses and gratifications

JEL classification

  • M1–Business Administration
  • M19–Other