Factors influencing user trust in online games

Date01 October 2005
Published date01 October 2005
AuthorYuan Gao
Subject MatterInformation & knowledge management,Library & information science
Factors influencing user trust
in online games
Yuan Gao
School of Administration and Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey,
New Jersey, USA
Purpose – This paper aims to provide a theoretical overview of the factors influencing user trust in
online games. It offers a set of guidelines that help online game marketers to better understand how
users form their trust in online games, and fully reap the benefits of this new medium.
Design/methodolo gy/approach This paper review s literature from the p erspectives of
considering an online game player as both a consumer of web-based entertainment and a computer
user. It explores factors related to the web environment as well as those of the games themselves. In
particular, it examines a user’s perceptions about the company, the online gaming site, and an
individual game.
Findings – A number of factors influencing user trust in online games are largely within the control
of the company sponsoring the sites or marketing the games. Based on the analysis of these factors,
this paper provides a set of guidelines that would help marketers win user trust in their online gaming
products or services.
Practical implications – Firms promoting online games can take guidance in how to build user
trust through paying attention to building brand recognition, enhancing usability and appeal, as well
as providing security assurance both at the web sites and within the individual games.
Originality/value – This paper is based on current research in consumer trust, both offline and
online, and represents an original attempt at analyzing theoretically the factors influencing user trust
in online games. It provides a framework for empirical testing of the propositions outlined in the paper.
Keywords Entertainment,User interfaces, Perception, Trust,Worldwide web, Internet
Paper type Conceptual paper
Online games are internet-based games played against remote players. They have been
growing at a rapid pace with the advancement of new internet technologies. To truly
reap the benefits of the growth of the popularity of online gaming, marketers face a
critical task of inspiring trust in users and potential users of their games. Consumer
research shows that the development of trust depends on direct physical experiences
with a company, a store, or a casino (Doney and Cannon, 1997). In a virtual gaming
environment, players no longer interact with the dealer or other players, and thus it is
unclear how online game players form their trust towards web-based games. Along
with the general appeal of a computer game, user trust plays a critical role in attracting
new players and retaining existing ones.
For the purpose of this paper, trust is defined to be a concept related to uncertainty
and risk. Such a perception of risk is based on beliefs regarding the ability, integrity,
and benevolence of the trustee (Mayer et al., 1995). Perceptions of these three
characteristics may lead the trusting party to willingly depend upon the trustee in
expectation of a certain beneficial outcome (Koufaris and Hampton-Sosa, 2003).
The Emerald Research Register for this journal is available at The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister www.emeraldinsight.com/0264-0473.htm
User trust in
online games
The Electronic Library
Vol. 23 No. 5, 2005
pp. 533-538
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/02640470510631245

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