Flow in Virtual Worlds: The Interplay of Community and Site Features as Predictors of Involvement

Valerie Elizabeth Barker

Abstract


Cultivating involvement within virtual worlds, where interactivity and community are salient, represents a key goal for virtual world leaders. This online survey of virtual world visitors conducted in 2013 (N = 244; 37% of whom use Second Life) assessed whether the interplay of community and site features facilitates a form of intense involvement known as flow. Flow is an affect-based response to types of pursuit that involve intense enjoyment and high psychological engagement. Prior research shows that flow often leads to positive outcomes for virtual world visitors, including learning, satisfaction and loyalty. Therefore, it is important to understand more about potential antecedents to the reported flow experience in virtual worlds. The study findings showed that site features such a level of interactivity mediate the relationship between sense of community and reported flow experience among virtual world visitors. This suggests that site designers can intensify involvement by encouraging community spirit via interactivity, feedback, content variety and ease of use.

Keywords


virtual worlds, flow, community, interactivity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4101/jvwr.v9i3.7220

The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org