Social Virtual Worlds (SVW) on the Internet have become increasingly popular during the last decade. Despite their increasing usage, business potential and societal impact, limited prior research has focused on understanding the factors that drive users to participate in SVWs. Thus far research has investigated the utilitarian and hedonic outcomes derived from SVW usage, but the literature offers limited information on the social outcomes derived from virtual world usage. Moreover, social influence in the VW context has mostly been researched by employing the subjective norm construct, largely leaving the actual sources of normative influence unnoticed. To fill in these gaps, we develop a research model examining the utilitarian, hedonic and social outcomes of VW usage as well as the role of normative beliefs in determining the VW engagement. The model is tested with a sample of 844 German users of the SVW Habbo using PLS. The results demonstrate that usage is mainly determined by hedonic and utilitarian outcomes, i.e. pleasure experiences when immersed in the SVW and perceived benefits in social interaction. Social presence was the only social outcome exerting a significant influence on the use intention. Neither normative nor informational influence was found to be a significant predictor of Habbo usage. We discuss the implications for IS research and practice.


Social Virtual Worlds, IS Adoption, Motivation Theory, Social Influence, Habbo


ISBN: [978-1-86435-644-1]; Full paper