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Game Research » Review of “Why do people play online games? An extended TAM with social influences and Flow experience”

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Review of “Why do people play online games? An extended TAM with social influences and Flow experience”

  • Full reference
    Hsu, C.-L.; Lu, H.-P. (2004): Why do people play online games? An extended TAM with social influences and Flow experience, Information & Management, Vol. 41, pp. 853–868.
  • Recommendation
    Recommended for scientific researchers, wepecially for those with interest in adoption criteria of digital games

  • Summary
    In their study, Hsu and Lu (2004) applied a modified Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) in order to evaluate the acceptance factors of Online Games.
    The Technology acceptance model was originally designed by Davis (1989). It is a structural equation model and was based on the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA). The TRA postulates that an individual’s belief influences his/her attitude, which in turn influences his/her behavioural intention, Davis (1989) extended this model specifically for the acceptance of IT systems by the variables: Perceived Usefulness (PU) and Perceived Ease of Use (PEOU) as the major determinants of acceptance of an IT system.

Davis TAM

Figure 1: Original TAM by Davis et al. (1989)

Since then the model has been validated several times, extended, and applied to all different kinds of systems in order to determine specific acceptance factors. The TAM has primarily been applied within the context of organizations. Nevertheless, some hedonic variables found entry into TAM studies, e.g. perceived playfulness for the acceptance of the WWW. Hsu and Lu identify a list of mainly hedonic variables used in earlier TAM studies.

Subsequently, Hsu and Lu explain their TAM extension for online games by the constructs Social Influence, consisting of Social Norms and Critical Mass, and Flow, realised as a multi-dimensional construct. The questionnaire was developed from literature. All scales adapted were validated several times before in earlier studies.

They evaluated their extended TAM with an online survey that yielded 233 usable datasets.

Their findings support many of their hypotheses including that Social Norms influence the “Intention to play an online game” and that Critical Mass and Flow are determinants of the “Attitude towards playing an online game”. Astonishingly, their results imply that Perceived Usefulness does not directly affect the “Intention to play an online game”, but only the “Attitude towards playing an online game”. This, in my opinion may however be due to their measurement, which was from my viewpoint not adapted specifically enough to the purpose of playing online games. Their model including the significant paths is depicted in Figure 2.

TAM
Figure 2: TAM for Online Games from Hsu and Lu (2004)

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