You Can Make It: Expectancy for Growth Increases Online Gamer Loyalty

Gen-Yih Liao and Ching-I Teng
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 21, Number 3, 2016-2017, pp. 398-423.


Online games have demonstrated dramatic growth both in revenue and user base, proving their value to electronic commerce managers. Online gamers are strongly motivated by their expectancy for growth, or anticipation of an increase in game level. However, the relevant literature has not yet explained how expectancy for growth impacts online gamer loyalty. This study addresses that question by using flow theory as the theoretical underpinning to develop the hypotheses. The sample comprised 2,025 online gamers, and their responses were analyzed using structural equation modeling. Analytical findings indicate that expectancy for growth is positively related to perceived skill and perceived challenge, subsequently inducing flow and online gamer loyalty. Moreover, expectancy for growth directly enhances flow, indicating its critical role. This study is the first examining how expectancy for growth impacts online gamer loyalty. Improving expectancy for growth was identified as a novel means for creating online gamer loyalty, guiding game providers to build a loyal gamer base.

Key Words and Phrases: Expectancy for growth, flow theory, gamer loyalty, online games, perceived challenge, perceived skill.