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How features and affordances of a metaverse portal engage users? Evidence from exergames

Meiyun Zuo (School of Information, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China) (Metaverse Research Center, School of Interdisciplinary Studies, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)
Yuanyanhang Shen (School of Information, Renmin University of China, Beijing, China)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 22 May 2023

Issue publication date: 1 February 2024

898

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Practical implications

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

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).

Citation

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

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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