Finding of the week #3

Senior raids

During my ongoing literature review I often discover interesting facts about things I’ve never thought about. Sometimes I can connect these facts with my own observations: The result is mostly a completely new idea why things are as they are. Maybe these ideas are new to you, too. Therefore I’ll share my new science based knowledge with you!

This week: I read the paper „If You Build It They Might Stay: Retention Mechanisms in World of Warcraft“ [1]. The authors investigated the retention mechanisms in WoW to keep players active. MMORPGs like WoW aren’t having a clear ending. These games are more simulating an active and living world with an always ongoing story. These open-ended games need to provide mechanisms to keep users playing and even paying: Most of these games are based on a pay-to-play or free-to-play business model to generate revenue over time. Pay-to-play requires mostly a monthly fee to be played. Free-to-play allows everyone to play without paying a fee. However players can buy fancy stuff or in-game goods for real money to enhance their gameplay experience.
This „finding of the week“ is all about the results connected with senior players.

The results of this paper [1] have shown that senior players have a lower stop rate of playing World of Warcraft (53% to 76%). Additionally they are even playing on a more regular basis than non-senior players.

Seniors have become an important target group: They have a lot of time, often live in financial comfort and want to spend their money [2]. Marketeers are already aware of this target group: A lot of advertisements are directly adressing elderly people. After all, they can become very loyal customers and therefore generate revenue on a regular basis.
Considering this, attracting seniors to MMORPGs can be an important business strategy.

Apart from the financial aspect, there are additional positive effects for elderly people playing MMORPGs: Elderly people may not be as mobile as they like to be and thus they can feel lonely and isolated from the world around them. By playing MMORPGs they have the opportunity to connect and to socialize with other people without the need of being mobile [3]. They can become a part of a social network and thus gain positive social experiences.
Furthermore playing computer games is an active task whereas other options like watching tv is just passive. Computer games even let people feel more productive and offer highly structured tasks to them [3].
Considering this, computer games can enhance the lives of elderly people and help them to feel more connected to the world around them.

In conclusion, if seniors feel accepted in the game, they can become very loyal customers. They even can enhance their lives by playing and thus socializing with others.

I think this system can be quite exciting in the near future. Maybe we can see some more of multi-generational guilds. These guilds can support a better understanding between generations by allowing every player of any age to play and to chat together.
At least, the anonymity will allow a coexistence of every generation: No one can estimate the age of a player by looking at his avatar. But being able to see other players will create a world of ambient sociability [3].

Or, what would be totaly awesome scenario: A senior guild is competing around world firsts. „Space Cowboys“ is becoming reality: „Raid Cowboys“!

[1] Debeauvais, Thomas; Nardi, Bonnie; Schiano, Diane J.; Ducheneaut, Nicolas; Yee, Nick (2011): If You Build It They Might Stay: Retention Mechanisms in World of Warcraft, in: FDG ’11 Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Foundations of Digital Games, pp. 180 – 187.

[2] Boyer King, Emilie (2004): Engaging the Aging: Marketing to Europe’s Seniors, retrieved on 2013/4/6.

[3] McGonigal, Jane (2011): Reality Is Broken, New York.

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