Influence of esports spectating on customer retention in freemium video games
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Elektronisen urheilun katsomisen vaikutukset asiakkaiden sitouttamiseen freemium videopeleihin
Video games have become great segment of entertainment industry during the past couple decades. The total revenue of video game industry was almost 110 billion dollars in year 2017. Video gaming has become spare time hobby for majority of the people. Over 60% of US citizens play video games daily and the average age for players is 34. The video games have no longer specific target group like before. Freemium business model has become dominant option for the video game industry. It is based on providing the core features of the video game for free, while in the same time game includes additional content, which is accessible by optional payment. The advantage of freemium game is attracting vast number of downloads for the video game due to its cost-free core. However, according to research over half of the players abandon the game after first session, which makes the customer retention critical factor for ensuring high enough player base, so the game is profitable. Typically, in freemium games only five percent of the players use money and the great majority of the players play for free. The data gathered from in-game has been utilized for decades in optimizing the customer retention increasingly, but the analyzing and benefiting the factors outside of the video game for the customer retention is still insufficient. One of the remarkable out-of-game factors is competitive video gaming, also called esports, of which popularity has grown rapidly and the most popular video game tournaments have over tens of millions of spectators. The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between esports spectating and intention to play video games. The previous studies have focused on reasons behind watching esports and optimizing the gaming with in-game data, but research has not paid attention to esports influence on intention to play video games. The study was out carried with survey, which examined respondent’s gaming habits, motivations for spectating esports and intention to play video games and use money on video games. The result is that there is distinct relationship between esports spectating and playing video games, and there were couple significant factors for esports spectating motivations. In the future video game companies should pay attention during the development process to out-of-game factors also, for example, esports.