Online role-playing game developers can get ahead of the competition by giving gamers more opportunities to get social, collaborate and take control of their online personas, according to a study from the University at Buffalo School of Management.
The study, forthcoming in the International Journal of Electronic Commerce, considers why some massive multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, like “World of Warcraft” or “Star Wars Galaxies,” command legions of loyal players while others struggle to gain a following.
The question is important to developers because gameplay styles that keep players coming back are key to building a successful MMORPG and to increasing business profit. Online gaming is part of daily life for players of all ages and backgrounds; revenues from games on Facebook and other social networking platforms are expected to reach $2 billion in 2012, according to the study.
“The graphics and technology behind the games have improved over the years, but developers haven’t made much effort to understand what makes MMORPG players really commit to one game over another,” explains study co-author Lawrence Sanders, PhD, professor of management science and systems in the UB School of Management.
“Most prior research has focused on the addictive nature of these games. Our study looked at how to make them more competitive in the marketplace,” says Sanders.
The study followed a group of 173 players who were part of a large MMORPG community. It examined whether two different game-playing strategies were successful in producing loyal players.
Science Brief thanks to EurekAlert.
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Level up: Study reveals keys to gamer loyalty
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