University of Oulu

Massively Multiplayer Online Game in-game persuasive features and influence

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Author: Seinijoki, Juho1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.6 MB)
Pages: 29
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : J. Seinijoki, 2021
Publish Date: 2021-09-21
Thesis type: Bachelor's thesis


This bachelor’s thesis investigates the in-game persuasive mechanisms and their effects in Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. The gaming industry has grown to massive proportions in recent years and the MMO game genre along with it. The topic is very relevant with persuasive and coercive game mechanics being ever more prevalent nowadays, especially related to monetization. This thesis attempts to answer how MMO games persuade the player and what effects the persuasion has on the player. In other words, which kind of persuasive methods are utilized by the game environment to affect the player and what potential consequences this might have on the person playing.

The background section discusses the Persuasive Systems Design (PSD) model, as well as the thin line between persuasion and coercion. The definition of an MMO game and some of its history is also examined. The research was conducted in the form of a literature review and material from 2003 to 2020 was used. The main material was obtained from scientific online journals and books.

This thesis investigates the game mechanics by attempting to categorize them into the PSD model principles which are primary task support, dialogue support, credibility support and social support, while separately including the ones that did not fit into this model. The most prevalent category found was social support. Games are never neutral as they always affect the user somehow. This intended or unintended influence can be investigated through the game environment. It can be highly positive, but deceptive or coercive game mechanics are nowadays commonly used and contribute to problematic usage. The topic of this research contains a lot of ethical questions, and it is important to pay attention to how games implement and use their methods of influence. Western laws are still behind regarding this issue, and games avoid legality issues related to, for example, in-game virtual gambling. The discussion is conducted by looking at the potential effects of gaming from the perspective of issues, ethics and solutions. This research can be used as a general overview of the topic and while not contributing new information to the field, it can work as a basis for future work. A look at potential future avenues is provided.

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Copyright information: © Juho Seinijoki, 2021. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.