Exploring What Affects Mobile Game Loyalty & In-app Purchase Intention: A Study of Pokemon GO

Ida Goltermann

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this Master’s thesis is to examine the subjects of mobile game loyalty and in-app purchase intention in Denmark. The goal is to explore how specific constructs might affect the loyalty and purchase intention of users when it comes to mobile games. Over the last few years, apps and mobile games have become increasingly popular. Consequently, a broader understanding of consumer behaviour in this environment is needed. While much similar research has been done previously, this thesis strives to add a new perspective by mixing the theories of two studies (Hsiao & Chen, 2016; Hsu & Lin, 2016) on mobile game consumer behaviour. Also, no previous research has been conducted in Denmark, and this study aims to fill this void in the literature as well. The case used to measure mobile game loyalty and in-app purchase intention in this thesis is the mobile game Pokémon GO. The constructs applied in this thesis are hedonic outcome expectations, utilitarian outcome expectations, access flexibility, connectedness and good price. Hedonic and utilitarian outcomes expectations deal with the enjoyment- or goal-orientated aspects of the app. Access flexibility deals with whether the user can control the time they spend playing the mobile game. In contrast, connectedness is about how the user feels connected to other users through the mobile game. Good price is whether the user perceives the prices of the in-app purchases to be equal to the value of it. It is proposed that all these constructs would have a positive effect on mobile game loyalty and in-app purchase intention. It is also proposed that mobile game loyalty will have a positive effect on in-app purchase intention as well. In order to examine whether the relationships between these constructs could be influenced by other variables, moderating hypotheses of habit and gender are included in the research model. The positivistic research philosophy is used in this study. Hence, the empirical data is collected through a survey distributed in two different groups of people in Denmark, one dedicated group and one with more general users. The research model is empirically assessed based on 388 validated responses from users with experience of Pokémon GO. A reliability test shows all constructs to be reliable for further testing. Statistical analysis is then done in order to test the proposed hypotheses and the research model. The findings of this study show that hedonic outcome expectations, utilitarian outcome expectations and connectedness positively influence mobile game loyalty. Good price and mobile game loyalty positively influence in-app purchase intention. Only one moderator, habit, affects one of the relationships. Habit negatively influences the relationship between the construct of good price and in-app purchase intention. The more time a user spends on the app, the less the user’s perception of good price influences their in-app purchase intention. Other relationships are disproven by the analysis. In the discussion, the implications of the findings are examined, and it is recommended that app companies should instead focus their energy and resources on increasing the number of loyal users and retaining them instead of trying to make already loyal users more loyal. Methodological reflections, such as considerations of additional empirical data, are also included in the discussion. Differences between Hsiao and Chen’s study and this one is also explored in the discussion, which highlights the continued need for research in the field of mobile game loyalty and in-app purchase intention across different cultures. Thus, this thesis provides an understanding of consumer behaviour, and the effect culture might have on it in the context of mobile game loyalty and in-app purchase intention.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages75
SupervisorsAlexander Josiassen