Influence of Virtual Communities of Companies in the Gaming Industry: A Case Study of MMO Games

Mathilde Gouriou

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis sets out to gain a better understanding of the influence of an online community in the video game industry, the dynamics between communities and companies publishing the video game and the community’s perspectives about their interactions with a gaming company. The online gaming industry and the number of companies integrating the market are growing rapidly. With the actual importance of the Internet in the world, brands started to communicate to their customers and attract new ones by using online platforms. The interactions between a brand and its community in the gaming industry are not extensively researched, especially in a context such as multiplayer games. Most of the existing literature is focused on deeply analysing one company, in the overall gaming industry. This research aims to gain a broader insight of companies’ perspectives in the context of online multiplayer games.
Existing literature and findings from interviews of online community members were synthesized to define the dynamics between an online community and a video game company. In order to bring context to the study, Porter’s five forces was applied. The framework also allowed to better understand the gaming industry environment with the aim to situated with more accuracy the role of virtual community in the industry. The case companies and their games reviewed in this research are: Epic games with Fortnite, Blizzard entertainment with World of Warcraft and Riot games with League of Legends.
With the combination of the literature and the gathered empirical data, a better understanding of virtual community’s position and influence in the online video games was established. And the importance of co-created and storytelling contents viewed from community’s members was defined. The specificities for each case company in terms of interactions and marketing practices were also revealed.
This research is one of the only one gathering research literature and interview results in the context of multiple case study in the gaming industry. And also it explores more extensively the players’ perspectives of a virtual community.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture - Business and Development Studies, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages134