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      Who Pays to Play Freemium Games? The Profiles and Motivations of Players Who Make Purchases Within Social Casino Games


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          Background and aims

          Social casino games (SCGs) feature gambling themes and are typically free to download and play with optional in-game purchases. Although few players spend money, this is sufficient to make them profitable for game developers. Little is known about the profile and motivations of paying players as compared to non-paying players.


          This study compared the characteristics of 521 paying and non-paying Australian social casino game players who completed an online survey.


          Paying players were more likely to be younger, male, speak a non-English language, and have a university education than non-payers. Paying players were more likely to be more highly involved in SCG in terms of play frequency and engagement with games and emphasized social interaction more strongly as a motivation for playing. A cluster analysis revealed distinct subgroups of paying players; these included more frequent moderate spenders who made purchases to avoid waiting for credits and to give gifts to friends as well as less frequent high spenders who made purchases to increase the entertainment value of the game.


          These findings suggest that paying players have some fundamental differences from non-paying players and high spenders are trying to maximize their enjoyment, while non-spenders are content with the game content they access.


          Given the structural similarities between SCG and online gambling, understanding subgroups of players may have broader implications, including identifying characteristics of gamers who may also engage in gambling and players who may develop problems related to excessive online gaming.

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          Most cited references45

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          Sociodemographic correlates of internet gambling: findings from the 2007 british gambling prevalence survey.

          This study provides the first analysis ever made of a representative national sample of Internet gamblers. Using participant data from the 2007 British Gambling Prevalence Survey (n = 9,003 adults aged 16 years and over), all participants who had gambled online, bet online, and/or used a betting exchange in the last 12 months (n = 476) were compared with all other gamblers who had not gambled via the Internet. Overall, results showed a number of significant sociodemographic differences between Internet gamblers and non-Internet gamblers. When compared to non-Internet gamblers, Internet gamblers were more likely to be male, relatively young adults, single, well educated, and in professional/managerial employment. Further analysis of DSM-IV scores showed that the problem gambling prevalence rate was significantly higher among Internet gamblers than among non-Internet gamblers. Results suggest that the medium of the Internet may be more likely to contribute to problem gambling than gambling in offline environments.
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            Video Game Structural Characteristics: A New Psychological Taxonomy

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              A comparative profile of the Internet gambler: Demographic characteristics, game-play patterns, and problem gambling status


                Author and article information

                Journal of Behavioral Addictions
                J Behav Addict
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                14 June 2016
                June 2016
                : 5
                : 2
                : 221-230
                [1 ]Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University , Lismore, NSW, Australia
                [2 ]School of Psychology, The University of Adelaide , SA, Australia
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Sally M. Gainsbury; Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia; Phone: +612 6626 9436; E-mail: Sally.gainsbury@ 123456scu.edu.au
                © 2016 The Author(s)

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 28 October 2015
                : 22 March 2016
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 4, Equations: 0, References: 44, Pages: 10
                Funding sources: This study was commissioned by Gambling Research Australia (The use of social media in gambling) – a partnership between the Commonwealth, State, and Territory Governments. GRA had no role in the study design, collection, analysis, or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.
                Full-Length Report

                Evolutionary Biology,Medicine,Psychology,Educational research & Statistics,Social & Behavioral Sciences
                social network sites,social casino games,gambling,freemium,addiction,social media


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