Heads or Tails? Network Effects on Game Purchase Behavior in The Long Tail Market

Irfan Kanat, T. S. Raghu, Ajay Vinzé

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This study aims to uncover role of network effects, namely the social influence and network externalities, on purchasing of digital goods. We are particularly interested in the differences in network effects in long tail versus the head of the market. We used a novel dataset from an online game distribution platform covering 1975 games and 8000 users in this study. The results reveal that network effects are more pronounced for the tail of the market in comparison to the head of the market. For the games that are in the head of the market the purchasing may be more significantly influenced by factors unobserved in this study (such as advertising budget) yet the games in the tail benefited greatly from any change to the network effects. The games that relied on user-to-user engagement did not fare well in the tail of the market.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)803-814
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Published online: 14. November 2018


  • Online games
  • Network effects
  • Network externalities
  • Social influence
  • Digital economy

Cite this