Purchase Drivers for Cosmetic Virtual Goods in Video Games: A Mixed Methods Study on Purchase Motivation Differences between Single Player and Multiplayer Video Games

Giuseppe Allegra

Student thesis: Master thesis


With the advent of online gaming, multiplayer games and social interactions in gaming have been way more diffuse than ever before. A new source of income for video game companies has also revolutionized the gaming industry, as in microtransactions, the purchase of additional content or resources in the actual game after purchasing the game itself (Tomić, 2017). Specifically, cosmetic virtual goods are steadily becoming the most significant revenue stream for most games. This thesis wants to investigate both the industry’s and consumers’ perception of such cosmetic microtransactions, the drivers of purchase, and how these drivers (and purchase behaviors) might differ between single-player and multiplayer games. This research will investigate these themes with a survey on a sample made of Italian gamers for what concerns consumers and an interview with a long-time industry worker for what concerns the latter. This study has found significant differences in purchase motivations perception between single-player and multiplayer users and that expense on cosmetic virtual goods was significantly higher in multiplayer users. According to the author, this is because the need for affiliation and, more in general, social needs are a stronger compeller towards purchase behaviors than mere recreational needs.

EducationsMSocSc in Management of Creative Business Processes , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages94
SupervisorsSeidi Suurmets