Building on the “needs–affordances–features” framework, the authors explored how users are motivated by their needs to actualize the feature-enabled affordances and engage in the metaverse.
The data were collected through semi-structured and in-depth interviews with 35 participants. The authors applied thematic analysis to summarize the key features and affordances, supplemented by frequency analysis to explore the significance of the features. Sentiment analysis was employed to explicate the relationship between user affordance sentiments and engagement.
The key features of the metaverse portal components—hardware, software and content—afford user behaviors. The features of mechanics and physics engines are important for user engagement in the metaverse. The affordances are related to needs satisfaction and user engagement. Mental immersion was frequently mentioned by the participants, implying that it is significant to afford mental immersion in the metaverse.
The findings of the study provide a rich understanding for practitioners in the metaverse on how to use the features to afford user behaviors and engage them. The authors identified the key elements of user engagement that can be used to guide metaverse game designers.
This study provides a rich and systematic understanding of features, affordances, needs satisfaction and engagement in the metaverse. Going beyond a fragmented view, the findings conclude a research framework that weaves features, affordances, needs and engagement together.
The authors are grateful to the editorial team and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. This work was supported in part by the Beijing Social Science Fund (22SRA002), National Natural Science Foundation of China (71771210), National Social Science Foundation of China (22&ZD328), and The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and the Research Funds of Renmin University of China (21XNL018).
Zuo, M. and Shen, Y. (2024), "How features and affordances of a metaverse portal engage users? Evidence from exergames", Internet Research, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 239-261. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-08-2022-0618
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