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Article
Publication date: 7 August 2017

Xuexin Xu, Xiaodong Yang, Junhua Lu, Ji Lan, Tai-Quan Peng, Yingcai Wu and Wei Chen

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) create quasi-real social systems in which players can interact with one another, and quasi-real economic systems…

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Abstract

Purpose

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) create quasi-real social systems in which players can interact with one another, and quasi-real economic systems where players can consume and trade in-game items with virtual currency. The in-game currency price, an important indicator of a virtual economy, is highly contingent on players’ behavioral interaction in MMORPGs. The purpose of this paper is to adopt a network perspective to examine how topological characteristics of social networks in an MMORPG, namely, network externalities, density, and closure, would exert impacts on the in-game currency price.

Design/methodology/approach

Players’ behavioral data were collected from a popular MMORPG in China on a weekly basis for 52 weeks. With a time series analytical approach, the empirical model for the price function of in-game currency was estimated with vector autoregression.

Findings

The results show that the number of core avatars and network density are positively associated with in-game currency price, while network closure has a negative effect on in-game currency price. However, in-game currency price is found to have no significant relationship with the trade volume of the currency.

Originality/value

This study fills in an important research gap by investigating factors influencing the in-game currency price of MMORPGs from a network perspective, which contributes to the existing literature of network effects and advances our understanding about how players’ interaction will influence the dynamics of a virtual economy. The findings could offer useful insights for online game companies to better understand their players’ social interaction and consumption behavior.

Details

Internet Research, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1066-2243

Keywords

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