F2P Summit: Not enough research has been done into why players spend on in-app purchases, experts says

Psychologist calls for more research into free-to-play games

Cyberpsychologist’s Berni Good wants to see more studies into what affects whether or not players purchase in-game items.

Speaking during today’s F2P Summit in London, Good claimed there had been extensive research into video games addiction and user behaviour, but very little into players’ intention to purchase in-game content.

Specifically, there were three areas she called for researchers to explore.

She urged firms to look at the rising ‘games as a service’ model to help better understand what affects customer satisfaction in free-to-play titles, specifically from a psychological perspective.

Good also hopes someone will continue the work begun by Park and Lee that established the four value components of free-to-play, but this time focusing on the UK rather than South Korea.

And finally, she called for further research into the ethics of in-app purchases, primarily to identify the real issues around this sometimes controversial business model. She added that no research on this area takes player psychology into account.

Her comments do follow the Office of Fair Trading’s investigation into how apps sell in-game items to children, the highest profile study on the free-to-play sector to date.

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