DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix
DiGRA, August, 2019
Many online game players are developing strong psychological attachments with the avatars they use for gameplay. Player-avatar relationships can affect gaming experiences in terms of enjoyment, immersion, and virtual character identity, among other factors. For this study we tested various propositions regarding the effects of game design features on player-avatar relationships, and the effects of those relationships on decorative virtual item consumption motivation. Participants recruited from 15 online game forums were asked to complete two questionnaires on these topics. Our results indicate significant correlations between player-avatar relationships and both game design features (e.g., death penalties and pet systems) and decorative item consumption motivation. Our results offer insights into how game designers can, to some extent, manage player-avatar relationships by fine-tuning design features, perhaps facilitating marketing objectives in the process.