Social Virtual Worlds (SVW) on the Internet have become increasingly popular during the past decade. Largely unnoticed by Information Systems research, Habbo Hotel, which focuses in teenage users, has advanced to become the largest SVW, boasting ten times more users than Second Life. 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. Our case study uses a largely quantitative, hypotheses-testing design to uncover the factors behind continuous SVW participation in Habbo Hotel. A research model is developed from prior IS adoption literature and tested with a sample of 844 German Habbo users using PLS. We substantiate our analysis with a qualitative examination of the reasons reported by the users. Our findings illustrate that Habbo use is driven by the stickiness of the platform, i.e. factors intrinsic to Habbo rather than external social pressure. Users engage in the SVW because of what they gain inside, not what they gain in the ‘real’ world, nor because of other people’s opinions. The qualitative analysis reveals that social experimenting is a common behavior displayed by teenagers in the virtual world. We discuss implications for IS research and practice.


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