Do Personality Traits Predict Consumers' Compulsive Behaviour in the Video Gaming Industry?

  • Xin Jin

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Over the last two decades, the gaming sector has played a pivotal role in the global entertainment economy, with Statista reporting revenues exceeding $249 billion in 2023 (Video Games - Worldwide, 2023). This industry demands substantial academic focus due to dramatic shift in interactions between gamers and game developers in recent years. As technology has advanced rapidly, video game companies have transitioned from selling physical copies to distributing their products through various online platforms. Consequently, grasping consumer reactions to video game marketing has become crucial for many companies in this sector. This study aims to bridge this knowledge gap by examining how personality traits influence consumers’ gaming and compulsive behaviour in the context of the video game industry. Furthermore, it highlights the potential risks associated with compulsive purchasing and gaming behaviours. This insight is pivotal not only for marketers and developers to target and engage consumers responsibly but also empowers consumers themselves. From the consumers’ point of view, recognizing the influence of personality traits on their behaviour can lead to greater self-awareness and more informed decisions regarding their gaming habits. This knowledge enables consumers to seek out games that offer positive experiences while avoiding those may exploit their vulnerabilities.
A conceptual framework involving personality traits, gaming behaviour, and consumers’ compulsive behaviour is constructed, rooted in existing literature. This framework was tested through an online survey with over 600 active gamers, where Confirmatory Factor Analysis was performed through Structural Equation Modelling. The findings indicate that the direct effect of five personality traits (emotional stability, conscientiousness, agreeability, materialism and need for arousal) on gaming behaviours are positively supported as well as three relationships between gaming behaviours (social value: perceived connectedness) and compulsive behaviour. Furthermore, it was found that the effect of four personality traits (openness to experience, agreeability, materialism and need for arousal) on compulsive behaviour is indirectly affected by perceived connectedness and achievement orientation.
This confirms that the relationship between personality traits and consumers’ compulsive behaviour is partially mediated by perceived connectedness and achievement orientation.
This study enriches the literature on consumer behaviour in three ways. First, it unveils new perspectives on how personality traits act as antecedents of online gaming behaviours.
Second, it reveals that the mediation occurs through two gaming behaviours, social value:

perceived connectedness and achievement orientation. Third, the study introduces consumers’ compulsive behaviour as a new consequence of gaming behaviours. By shedding light on the individual characteristics of consumers and their reactions to video game marketing in the digital era, this research enables game developers and marketers to gain deeper insights into their customer base. For instance, gamers with high emotional stability and materialism tend to play online game obsessively. Conversely, those with high openness to experience, agreeability, materialism, and need for arousal show a greater likelihood of compulsive purchasing tendencies. This understanding is crucial for crafting more effective marketing strategies and developing products that better meet customer needs. For example, people with high emotional stability and conscientiousness often prefer games where they can achieve more. As a result, it is reasonable to assume that individuals with these characteristics might lean towards games that provide competitive elements. On the ethical side, marketers can create campaigns that encourage gamers to take regular breaks, engage in physical activity (e.g., Pokemon Go game), and maintain social interactions outside of gaming. The study underlines the shared responsibility of the industry and consumers to promote a healthy gaming culture that prioritizes mental health and well-being.
Date of Award7 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorYuksel Ekinci (Supervisor) & Elaine Rust (Supervisor)

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