In video games, in-game goods are virtual items that have the potential to enhance players’ experience in various ways. They are commonly sold by video game companies to increase player engagement and generate revenue. However, research on the purchase motivations of in-game goods is limited. In this study, an inductive approach based on grounded theory is used to explore the reasons why and how video game players purchase different types of in-game goods. Six categories of in-game goods were identified and grouped into three categories, namely functional-based goods, probability-based goods, and ornamental-based goods. Our results indicate that video game players purchase in-game goods to enter and return to the flow state and to increase their chances of achieving desired outcomes. In addition, they are also influenced by social influences such as opinions of reference groups including family members, real-world friends, network friends, colleagues, gaming league friends, and broadcast platform hosts.

The prevailing theoretical frameworks in the field of purchase motivations of in-game goods include the technology acceptance model, the stimulus organism response theory, the theory of planned behaviour, the expectancy disconfirmation model, and the unified theory of acceptance and use of technology (UTAUT). However, these theories were developed in other contexts, which may limit their explanatory power when applied to the video game context. Further, many studies employ a quantitative methodology that does not allow for identifying underlying psychological processes and mechanisms that influence in-game goods purchases. Consequently, the current literature needs to be further enhanced with qualitative methodologies to uncover hidden motivations for in-game goods purchasing and their underlying psychological processes. Buy Games

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