Communications of the Association for Information Systems


The development and sale of massively multiplayer online games has emerged as a significant part of the 21st century entertainment industry. Yet, firms competing in this sector of the videogame industry vary in their ability to generate revenue from their products. We contend that social influence constitutes one primary factor that determines which massively multiplayer online game individuals consume. Using social identity theory for our theoretical underpinning, we argue that the identity that membership in important social groups provides influences individuals. We investigate the effects that two identity-related constructs, consumer-brand identification and social identity complexity, have on satisfaction and willingness to pay a subscription fee for a massively multiplayer online game. Our results suggest that social influence has a complex relationship with an individual’s willingness to pay. Consumer-brand identification and social identity complexity had significant direct relationships with willingness to pay, while consumer-brand identification had a significant indirect relationship with willingness to pay through satisfaction. Additionally, social identity complexity significantly moderated the relationship between consumer-brand identification and willingness to pay. Overall, our results support social identity theory’s ability to explain how social influence occurs for individuals that play massively multiplayer online games.





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