Study: Virtual goods help build brands

Press Release: Researchers Find Link Between Immersion and Virtual Buying Habits

Planet Calypso and Florida State University proves selling items in a virtual space can yield better results than print, internet or TV advertising

GOTEBORG, Sweden — First Planet Company, developer and publisher of the largest real cash economy MMORPG, and Florida State University researchers announced today the results of a new study on virtual buying habits.  First Planet Company and business scholars at Florida State University and The Stockholm School of Economics have partnered to develop answers surrounding buying habits in virtual worlds.

Rob Hooker, recent doctoral graduate from the College of Business at Florida State University, conducted a new study with far reaching implications in the MMO and virtual world industries to determine how a consumer’s activity with a brand in a virtual world might influence his/her intention to purchase the brand’s product.  The study was conducted during the recent Miss Calypso beauty pageant on Planet Calypso and proved that the more immersive an environment is, the more likely a player is to have intent to buy a product they see.  It also showed that virtual worlds have significant level of immersion or “Flow.” The level of Flow achieved in this study has proven to be greater than other similar studies based on traditional advertising mediums.

“This study was successful in demonstrating that an individual’s perceptions of an activity lead to a mental state that creates positive brand attitudes and subsequent purchase intentions.  More specifically, virtual worlds create opportunities for participants to lose track of time in enjoyable brand related activities,” said Rob Hooker.  “This creates a mental state which contributes to a participant’s attitude about a brand.  Ultimately, this strongly influences the participant’s intention to purchase a product from that brand.  63% of participants from this study indicated that they would purchase Calypso clothing following the activity.”

Ultimately, the results of this project will help scientists to develop a better understanding of cognitive states and aspects of consumer behavior, while helping businesses to better understand how to more effectively sell products in virtual environments. For instance Flow, the optimal mental state a participant has during an activity, is a distinct theoretical construct that clearly separates from perceptions of the activity, such as clear goals, lost sense of time, explicit feedback, etc.  In certain socially-oriented activities, such as the beauty pageant conducted within this study, people/avatars may be more self conscious of their appearance.  These higher levels of self consciousness result in increased levels of Flow.  This finding is opposite of what was previously considered within Flow Theory. Flow positively impacts both brand attitudes and purchase intention within the virtual world context.

First Planet Company is the developer and publisher of Planet Calypso, the largest real economy Massively Multiplayer Online Game in the world.

About First Planet Company

(Image courtesy First Planet Company.)

First Planet Company AB is a subsidiary of the MindArk Group. First Planet Company AB develops and markets Planet Calypso, a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) based on the Entropia Platform, and is part of the Entropia Universe. Set in a distant future, the planet Calypso is home to an expanding human colony struggling with the natural and economic elements involved in establishing their new civilization.