Avatars are known to be influential in gaming communication. However, little is known about how avatar attractiveness and customization impact online gamers’ flow, i.e., the experience of total concentration with intrinsic enjoyment and loyalty. Grounded in social identity and flow theories, the purpose of this paper is to construct a model to explain how avatar attractiveness and customization can impact online gamers’ flow and loyalty.
The responses of 1,944 online gamers are collected. Structural equation modeling is used for analyses.
The analytical results indicate that avatar attractiveness and customization are positively related to avatar identification, which is positively related to flow, and then to online gamer loyalty. In addition, avatar identification and flow are important process variables in the above relations.
This study is novel in being the first attempt to apply social identity and flow theories to explain how avatar attractiveness and customization contribute to online gamers’ flow and loyalty.
The authors thank the National Science Council of Taiwan (NSC96-2416-H-182-002-MY3) and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (BMRP644, BMRP745) for financial support. The funding organizations supervise the ethical aspects of this study. The authors are grateful to Dr Brian T. Ratchford for his helpful comments on an earlier version of the paper.
Liao, G.-Y., Cheng, T.C.E. and Teng, C.-I. (2019), "How do avatar attractiveness and customization impact online gamers’ flow and loyalty?", Internet Research, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 349-366. https://doi.org/10.1108/IntR-11-2017-0463
Emerald Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited