Study: Game Immersion Affects Buying Decisions

Pay attention, advertising departments — it turns out that the level of immersion a player experiences in a game can directly affect their in-game buying decisions. First Planet Company (the publishers of the real economy game Planet Calypso, one of the planets in Entropia Universe), Florida State University, and The Stockholm School of Economics teamed up earlier this year to study how immersion can affect buying habits in virtual worlds and the results show that the two are closely linked.

The study was conducted during the recent Miss Calypso beauty pageant in Planet Calypso. It found that the players who felt the most involved in the virtual event were also the most likely to purchase a piece of Calypso clothing, as well as feel increased loyalty to the Calypso brand.

Rob Hooker, a doctoral graduate from the College of Business at Florida State University, oversaw the the study. He said of the results, “… virtual worlds create opportunities for participants to lose track of time in enjoyable brand related activities. Ultimately, this strongly influences the participant’s intention to purchase a product from that brand.”

Planet Calypso bills itself as “the largest real economy MMO in the world”. The in-game economy uses a virtual currency that is kept on par with the US dollar, and players can deposit and withdraw funds as needed.

The important question that springs to my mind from this study is: does this mean we can stop with the completely immersion-breaking “Night Elf Mohawk” WoW ads? Please?