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Is mobile gaming a new pillar of esports? Exploring players' in-game purchases in PC and mobile platforms by using flow and clutch

Ssu-Yun Chou (Institute of Physical Education, Health, and Leisure Studies, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Wooyoung (William) Jang (Department of Sport Management, Wellness, and Physical Education, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, Georgia, USA)
Shang Chun Ma (Institute of Physical Education, Health, and Leisure Studies, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Ching-Hung Chang (Department of Kinesiology, Health, and Leisure Studies, National University of Kaohsiung, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan)
Kevin K. Byon (Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University Bloomington, Bloomington, Indiana, USA)

International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship

ISSN: 1464-6668

Article publication date: 3 January 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The tremendous market growth of mobile platforms for esports underscores the need to understand players' psychological states and consumption behavior. Based on flow theory, this study examines players' psychological states (flow and clutch experiences) and consumption behavior based on the interaction effects of playing frequency, playing duration and players' levels on the PC (LOL – League of Legends) and mobile (LOLWR – League of Legends: Wild Rift) versions of the same esports title.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected from 930 valid responses and analyzed with confirmatory factor analysis and multiple regression (PROCESS macro, Model 3).

Findings

There are two main findings. First, across PC and mobile participants, casual gamers (low playing frequency and duration) have firm purchase intention when they have a clutch experience, but flow experience hinders their purchasing intention. Second, hardcore gamers' (high playing frequency and duration) psychological states are clearly distinguished according to technological platforms. Flow experience is the most effective for their purchase intention in the PC platform, but both flow and clutch states are important in the mobile platform. Flow experience is essential overall for hardcore gamers to intend their in-game item purchasing.

Originality/value

This study has two primary originality/values. First, this study explores flow and clutch together to measure psychological states and the impact on the purchase intention of in-game items. Second, the interacting effects of playing frequency, duration, and skill level with technical platforms (i.e. PC and mobile) for esports gaming.

Keywords

Citation

Chou, S.-Y., Jang, W.(W)., Ma, S.C., Chang, C.-H. and Byon, K.K. (2023), "Is mobile gaming a new pillar of esports? Exploring players' in-game purchases in PC and mobile platforms by using flow and clutch", International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJSMS-07-2022-0134

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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