Extending on flow theory, the purpose of this paper is to explore how interactivity (human-to-human interactivity and human-to-machine interactivity) and personal beliefs (perceived attractiveness, personal involvement, and perceived uncertainty) impact flow experience; this study also investigates how flow experience is related to replay intention. Furthermore, this is the first study to explore the relationship between perceived uncertainty and challenges in online gaming.
The proposed research model was empirically evaluated using survey data collected from online game players. The evaluation was conducted using partial least squares of structural equation modeling.
The findings revealed that flow experience was a significant predictor of replay intention. Four antecedents of flow (telepresence, focused attention, skills, and challenges) had a positive influence on flow experience. Interactivity (human-to-human interactivity and human-to-machine interactivity) and personal beliefs (perceived attractiveness, personal involvement, and perceived uncertainty) influenced these antecedents. Moreover, human-to-human interactivity exerted a greater impact on the flow experience antecedents than did human-to-machine-associated interactivity. This study reveals that human-to-human interactivity is most crucial to the effective development of online games. In addition, the author find that utilitarian motivations have positive moderating effects on the relationship between flow and replay intention. Finally, additional practical and managerial implications are discussed.
Few empirical studies have explored the moderating role of utilitarian motivations. This original study analyzed how utilitarian motivations moderate the relationships between flow and replay intention of online game players. Moreover, this is one of the first studies to explore the characteristic of uncertainty and its role in the context of online game playing.