As a relatively new research area, inquiries into understanding factors which influence the user acceptance of virtual worlds remains an important undertaking. Initial research efforts have been informed largely by theories or frameworks from a rational or utilitarian perspective, such as the technology acceptance model. While results indicate support for the predictive influence of utilitarian factors such as the perceived ease of use in the virtual world context, there is growing recognition that virtual worlds are multi-faceted environments which encompass both utilitarian and hedonic content.

This recognition along with the explosive subscriber growth in hedonic virtual worlds such as massively multiplayer online games begs for congruence between the theories and frameworks utilized and the context(s) studied. Drawing from the information systems, marketing, consumer behavior, and gaming literature, we identify 29 factors which may be used to study the user acceptance of virtual worlds. Lastly, we describe a pilot study which investigates the relative predictive power of both utilitarian and hedonic factors with regards to encouraging prospective user participation in virtual worlds. It is hoped that these results will help guide efforts to develop of an integrated framework which provides a richer understanding of the user acceptance of virtual worlds.