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Spectators’ behavioral intentions on the video gaming broadcasting platforms Yuan Yuan and Kun Fu ABSTRACT Despite the increasing popularity of online games, there has been little research that identifies the experience in watching streams and the corresponding behavioral intentions. Drawing upon the Uses and Gratifications theory, we investigate spectators’ initial reactions to game watching and how it further influences a spectators’ behavioral intentions. Because of streams possess both one-way broadcasting and participation-oriented features, experience and gratifications in watching streams must concerns both scales in measuring gratifications of TV watching and game playing. The results show that social interaction, achievement, and relaxations are the significant experience in affecting viewer’s continued motivation to watch streams. Social interaction and achievement positively affect consuming disposition on the platforms. Take into consideration of gender, male and female spectators possess distinct experimental orientation of viewing and consuming behavior. Different from the prior study, presence significantly affect spectators’ continued motivation to watch and consuming disposition. Meanwhile, as a fundamental variable, perceived website usability is still a significant factor which has a strong impact on spectators’ behavioral intentions. Moreover, continuance motivation in using the platform to watch streams has a positive correlation with consuming intention. The findings inspire both academic and practical attention on improving the content and user experience of the platforms.
INTRODUCTION The video game industry has been experiencing an innovative change since it was developed from Magnavox which is the first home video game console released in 1972 to Twitch which is named as an epicenter of game industry. Such online live video streaming attracts approximately 45 million visitors per month which ranked the 4th largest website by Wall Street Journal regarding to peak internet traffic in the U.S. Such stream platforms primarily provide both active video streams and archived game videos. According to the report of iResearch (2015), the gaming broadcasting has been entering to the phase “broadcasting 3.0”. The independent video gaming broadcasting platforms, on the one hand, as conventional TV programs, movies, online videos, and so on, provides archived video games which were played by highly skilled gamers. On the other hand, a new kind of relationship between players and spectators is formulated under the on live mode. Players chats, explains and even seek advice while broadcasting their games. Spectators are empowered to actively present themselves in front of both players and other spectators. To be specific, they have opportunities to follow their “idols”, communicate with them, even support them in diverse ways, e.g. purchasing game props, donating money, subscribing membership, and so on, in order to maximize their psychological needs and gratifications. With the explicit change of the game field, habitus of both players and spectators as agents should be altered in the new context. On the one hand, the interactive viewing experience may arouse spectators’ continuous attention. On the other hand, spectators will actively watch videos and support their favorite players either monetarily or strategically, whereas academic research has yet to catch up with this phenomenon. Because of the emerging model of online games, investigating viewing behavior and motivations extend the existing studies on the audiences of online games. In the perspective of uses and gratifications as well as behavioral intention, understanding the inner psychology of spectators, particularly on how spectators use video gaming broadcasting platforms and the gratifications obtained from these sites, has a point of reference for improving user experience and achieve sustainable development.
KEY CONCEPTS AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESES This study, employing uses and gratifications theory, attempts to detect the determinants of continued watching motivations and behavioral intention of online video gaming broadcasting platforms referring to the previously published studies. The proposed correlations involve the variables such as perceived website usability, gratifications, presence, continuous use intention and consuming intention. It attempts to identify the antecedents of behavioral intentions and the impact on these dispositions. A wide variety of studies focus on diverse aspects of playing online games. A large camp of researchers investigate the motivations of playing online games (Huang, Yang, and Chen, 2015; Williams, Yee, and Caplan, 2008; Yee, 2006), including massive multiplayer online games (Suárez, Thio, and Singh, 2013). Part of the reasons why they play online games is because players obtain certain gratifications, such as achievement, social interaction, and enjoyment/immersion (Yee, 2006). Interpersonal relationship (Lee, 2015) is proved to be a vital factor which pushes people to play. Other researchers focus on the online game addiction (Caplan, Williams, and Yee, 2009; Charlton and Danforth, 2007; Han, Lyoo, and Renshaw, 2012; Lee, Cheung, and Chan, 2015; Park, Lee, Kim, Jeong, and Han, 2013; Skoric, Teo, and Neo, 2009; Wu, 2013), esp. massively multiplayer online game addiction (Yee, 2002) and the negative effect of playing video games (Anderson and Dill, 2000; Ferguson, 2014). These studies are more related with game playing. Admittedly, the focus of game studies is not limited within these perspectives, but rather broad, e.g, game design, game with learning, ads in games, and so on. Notwithstanding, the studies of online game as well as the specific genre, i.e., video game has gradually attracted scholars’ attentions. Moreover, there is a scarce in exploring the new generation of video gaming, i.e., video gaming broadcasting. Players are the most concern in the previous researches, whereas spectators, as the product of such particular medium, have yet aroused researchers’ attention in the new era of game world. The paradigm of spectators’ motivations and gratifications must be significantly different from that of the conventional channels, as well as that of players. In this regard, it is worth to fill the research gap to testify the relationship between three antecedents and behavioral outcomes.
Uses and Gratifications theory and behavioral intentions The uses and gratifications theory (Katz, 1959) is to address the correlation between media use and corresponding gratification obtained. Baran and Davis (2012) define it as an approach to media study which focusing on the issue of media choice and consumption and of what people ask the media and do with their content, which in turn provide them with utmost gratification. The theory asserts that people utilize media to satisfy their cognitive and affective needs (Joinson, 2008). In this perspective, audiences are deemed as active ones who recognize their own purposes and motives (Baran & Davis, 2000; Katz, Blumler, & Gurevitch, 1974; Press & Fergusen, 2003; Rubin, 1993). Uses and gratifications theory emphasize the social and personal psychological origins of needs which construct gratifications and other consequences (Katz, Blumler, and Gurevitch, 1973). The video gaming broadcasting platforms possess the features of both TV and conventional websites, thereby the constructs of the gratification should contain gratifications in pure viewings streams which is similar as watching TV programs as well as interactivity during viewing streams. Studies have examined the links between motivations and gratifications in watching television (Bantz, 1982; Greenberg, 1974; Rubin, 1977, 1979, 1981, 1983). Constructs such as relaxation, companionship, habit, pass time, learning, arousal, entertainment, and escape are fully adopted from the scale of television uses and gratifications (Rubin, 2002). Except the one-way communication mode, that is audience passively receive what they are exposed, video gaming broadcasting offers chances for spectators to interact with streamers and peer spectators. In this sense, the motivations of spectators in watching streams are supposedly different from pure viewing, but rather have particular expectations. Referring to Yee’s study (2006) in examining motivations of playing online game, three categories are identified, such as achievement, social factor and immersion. Achievement represents players’ goal in gaming. They have certain desire to gain competitive power by obtaining game props, rankings of game performance, and so on (Hartmann and Klimmt, 2006; Park, Song, and Teng, 2011). Meanwhile, it is a good opportunity to establish friendship with others in the game world (Ferguson and Olson, 2013; Huang, Yang, and Chen, 2015; Park et al., 2011). The interaction design of such broadcasting platforms empowers spectators to play a role in gaming, e.g., providing solutions and strategies to streamers, donating money to them, purchasing game props, and emoticons, so on. In this regard, from the perspective of spectators, expectations in players’ achievement or certain psychological gratifications, as well as social component should be considered as their gratifications psychologically. Hence, this study for examining the gratifications, the eight constructs from Rubin’s study (2002), i.e., relaxation, companionship, habit, pass time, learning, arousal, entertainment, and escape, and two constructs from Yee’s study (2006), i.e., achievement and social interaction, are put into consideration. Extensive studies concentrate on the research angle in the motivation and gratifications of game play. Selnow (1984) identify five reasons that motivate youth to play arcade video game, such as 1) companionship, 2) learning, 3) pass time, 4) providing actions, 5) better than human companion. Wigand, Borstelmann, and Boster (1985) found that excitement, satisfaction of performance, and relaxation are the primary motivations of adolescents playing arcades. Myers (1990) found four factors of playing games: fantasy, curiosity, challenge, and interactivity. From the perspective of uses and gratifications, Phillips, Rolls, Rouse, and Griffiths (1995) detected other four motivations, e.g., pass time, escape, arousal, and enjoyment. Whereas, Vorderer, Hartmann, and Klimmt (2003) proved that competition is the most significant gratifications of video game players. Yee (2006) grouped ten motivation constructs into three overarching components including achievement, social, and immersion. Huang and his colleagues (2015) proved a positive correlation among use intensity, selfesteem, self-concept, and interpersonal relationships. Hedonic motivations and gratification, interpersonal relationships and caring are all significant factors which could predict the adolescents’ use intensity referring to the online games. Spectators, as the insiders of game world, immerse into the virtual environment just as players do. Spectators as participants have been discussed in decades ago. Spectators share the tension of play in the context of ancient Roman gladiatorial games (Huizinga, 1938). Meanwhile, gladiators fight on behalf of the spectators (Huizinga, 1938). In this regards, spectators and players have the same goal, similar psychological states, and sentiment. As Cheung and Huang (2011) denote that spectators hold similar states of players under the circumstance of the vicarious relationship between spectators and players. Moreover, based on uses and gratification theory, if a specific medium fulfills the expected gratifications, individuals will have greater motivation to use the medium in the future. Hence, the
hypothesis is proposed as follows: H1. Spectators’ gratifications of watching streams on video gaming broadcasting platforms will positively influence the continuous use intention of the platforms. To generate traffic and earn benefits are the ultimate purposes for the large majority of companies to develop websites. Determinants are identified by previous studies in affecting transaction on website. First, an explicit correlation between positive attitudes and online transaction has been identified (Cho, 2003). Studies have proven that positive attitude is regarded as a more significant factor that affects online transaction (Cho, 2003; Morris, Woo, Geason, and Kim, 2002) than that of privacy and security of the website (Belanger, Hiller, and Smith, 2002). Moreover, positive attitudes lead to less abortion of intended online transaction (Cho, 2003). However, Lin (2007) did not find a significant correlation between positive attitude and user’s intention to transact on the website. The findings show contradictions. Second, past studies found that trust is another identifier of online transaction intention (Gefen, 2000; Konradt, Wandke, Balazs, and Christophersen, 2003). The more the customers trust the website or the company, the more likelihood they will make the transaction on the website. Third, prior studies have shown that the usability of website may impact potential transact of website users (Lightner, Yenisey, Ozok, and Salvendy, 2002). However, the path does not present in a significant manner. As in Lin’s study (2007), the infrastructure of websites does not have a significant relationship with transaction intention. The utility of websites is not an ideal predictor of transaction making. Fourth, content is king. If web users perceive the useful content of website, they may have strong intention to make transaction (Konradt et al., 2003; Lin, 2007). Fifth, stickiness has been proved to have positive effect on web users’ intention to transact (Lin, 2007). Notwithstanding the relationship is in an indirect way, it is the most significant variable than other possible antecedents in influencing behavioral intention (Lin, 2007). Admittedly, diverse factors influence the online consuming intention of customers. In the perspective of consumer purchasing behavior, customer value is a vital determinant (Babin, Darden, and Griffin, 1994; Dodds, Monroe, and Grewal, 1991; Kim, Chan, and Gupta, 2007; Kim, Gupta, and Koh, 2011; Sheth, Newman, and Gross, 1991). Comprehensive value dimensions decide different and multiple choices (Kim et al., 2011). Three significant dimensions of consumer value are functional, emotional and social value (Sweeney and Soutar, 2011). As the fundamental driver of consuming intention, functional value encompasses two constructs, e.g., price utility and functional quality (Kim et al., 2011; Mathwick, Malhotra, and Rigdon, 2001). Meanwhile, experiencing the products may arouse cognitive feelings or affective states, so called emotional value, hedonic or experiential value which includes aesthetics and playfulness factors (Kim et al., 2011). Social value stands for the perceived utility in enhancing one’s social well-being. In Kim and his colleagues’ study (2008), self-image expression and relationship establishment, which may construct through reciprocal communication and supportive behavior, were identified in this dimension. Gratifications obtained from watching streams on the platform may induce particular affective state. It represents that the platforms possess hedonic values to their spectators which could probably stimulate disposition in making transactions. Thus, the hypothesis is proposed as follows: H2. Spectators’ gratifications of watching streams on video gaming broadcasting platforms will positively affect the consuming intention on the platform.
Presence and behavioral intentions Presence is one of the crucial factors to evaluate online games (Wu, Wang, and Cai, 2010). One of the main goals of game designers in developing games is to create a psychological sense of ‘being there’ inside the game world (Tamborini and Skalski, 2006). Presence refers to a psychological and conscious sense that immersing into a virtual environment (Draper, Kaber, & Usher, 1998; Sadowski and Stanney, 2002; Tamborini & Skalski, 2006; Weibel, Wissmath, Habegger, Steiner, & Groner, 2008). As Lomard and Ditton (2006) adverts that present can be regarded as the unique form of immersion. Immersion is defined as “the sensation of being surrounded by a completely other reality […] that takes over all of our attention, our whole perceptual apparatus” (Murray, 1997). It “occurs when users feel involved (Palmer, 1995), absorbed (Quarrick, 1989), engaged, and engrossed” (Lombard, Ditton,Crane,Davis, Gil-Egul, Horvath, and Rossman, 2000, p.4). Spatial presence is defined as the illusion of being physically situated in the game world (Wu et al., 2010). It can be regarded as the perceptual and psychological immersion.
Presence also contains interactive component based on Wu (2010) study. It is classified into two categories, such as spatial presence and social presence (Wu et al., 2010). Immersion is considered as a key determinant which impacts on positive game design because it engages and motivates, and often includes components of interactivity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; de Freitas and Oliver, 2006). Social presence means the psychological sense of interacting with others in the virtual environment (Wu et al., 2010). In this sense, interactivity should be the primary concern in the perspective of social presence. However, interactivity is a buzzword which cannot be well defined (Heeter, 2000; Huhtamo 1999; Miller, Katovich, and Saxton 1997; Schultz 2000; Smethers 1998). As Rafaeli (1988) defines it as “an expression of the extent that, in a given series of communication exchanges, any third (or later) transmission (or message) is related to the degree to which previous exchanges referred to even earlier transmissions” (p.11). It is a process-related variable based on relatedness of sequential messages. The online video gaming broadcasting platforms provide chances for spectators to interact with both players and other spectators. In this regards, both spatial and social immersion are considered as vital determinants in spectators’ continuous viewing behavior. Immersion in the virtual game world and social interaction with others may strengthen spectators’ gratifications which will further influence their continuous intention to watch streams. Hence, the hypothesis is proposed as follows: H3. Presence will positively influence spectators’ continuous use intention of online video gaming broadcasting platforms. Admittedly, diverse factors influence the online transaction intention of customers. In the perspective of consumer purchasing behavior, customer value is a vital determinant (Babin, Darden, and Griffin, 1994; Dodds, Monroe, and Grewal, 1991; Kim, Chan, and Gupta, 2007; Kim, Gupta, and Koh, 2011; Sheth, Newman, and Gross, 1991). Comprehensive value dimensions decide different and multiple choices (Kim et al., 2011). Three significant dimensions of consumer value are functional, emotional and social value (Sweeney and Soutar, 2011). As the fundamental driver of consuming intention, functional value encompasses two constructs, e.g., price utility and functional quality (Kim et al., 2011; Mathwick, Malhotra, and Rigdon, 2001). Meanwhile, experiencing the products may arouse cognitive feelings or affective states, so called emotional value, hedonic or experiential value which includes aesthetics and playfulness factors (Kim et al., 2011). Social value stands for the perceived utility in enhancing one’s social well-being. In Kim and his colleagues’ study (2008), selfimage expression and relationship establishment, which may construct through reciprocal communication and supportive behavior, were identified in this dimension. In this regards, presence creates a psychological sense of being in the game world (Tamborini and Skalski, 2006). The sense of presence in viewing streams may generate a unique kind of gratifications, i.e., enjoyment. Continuous enjoyment has been proved that it is a strong predictor of playing games (Ferguson and Olson, 2013; Ha, Yoon, and Choi, 2007; Koo, 2009; Okazaki, Skapa, and Grande, 2008; Wu et al., 2010). In the same way, spectators who continuously enjoy viewing streams on the platform may lead to a higher frequency of viewing, which then generates certain hedonic or affective value. Moreover, interacting with others while viewing streams may enhance one’s social well-being and sense of achievement. The interdependent relationship between emotional value and social value has been proved (Huang, Ye, and Zhang, 2008). The emotional value of a digital item depends on the appearance which may be used to communicate with others (Huang et al., 2008). Therefore, on the basis of customer value theory, the co-presence, that is both physical and social presence (Ijsselsteijn, Freeman, and Ridder, 2001), might be able to work as determinants which strengthen the gratifications of spectators, which will then influence spectators’ motivation to make transaction on the online video gaming broadcasting platforms. Hence, the hypothesis is proposed as follows: H4. Presence will positively affect spectators’ consuming intention on the platforms.
Perceived web usability and behavioral intentions The perceived usability of a website can be defined as the perception that consumers use the internet as easy to learn, operate, navigate, use, as well as easily interact with the system (Barnes and Vidgen, 2006). Scholars attempted to identify the antecedents that affect users’ online purchase intention. (Brown, Pope, and Voges, 2003). According to Technology Acceptance Model, users’ attitude toward a technology is strongly influenced by the perceived usefulness and ease of use of that technology, which will then influence the use intention to the technology (Smith, 2004). Van der Heijden, Verhagen, and Creemers (2003) found that ease of use in terms of technology directly influence the attitude towards purchasing online. The study of Ling, Chai, and Piew (2010)’s study echos with van
der Heijden and his colleagues (2003). They identified that the prior online purchase including the measurable item “I feel that web site is easy to use” positively related to the customer online purchase intention. The positive correlation between the two constructs had also been proved in Sam and Tahir (2009) study. Hypotheses 5 and 6 are, therefore, stated as follows: H5. Perceived web usability will positively affect spectators’ continuous use intention on online video gaming broadcasting platforms. H6. Perceived web usability will positively affect spectators’ consuming intention on the platforms. As prior study proved that intention to stick to the website significantly correlate with intention to transact (Lin, 2008). The stickiness to the website implies the willingness to continuous use intention and the positive attitude to the website. Therefore, the final research hypothesis is, H7. Continuous motivation to use the platform will positively affect spectators’ consuming intention on the platforms.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Instrument development Because of the unique features of online video gaming broadcasting platforms, the majority of the scale items of this study were developed from the existing studies and carefully modified to fix this context. Such platforms provide archived game videos and on live streams, as well as other emerging features, so that the uses and gratifications possess the features of TV watching and online gaming. In this regards, the measure of gratifications is proposed to conduct from ten dimensions, e.g., relaxation, companionship, habit, pass time, learning, arousal, entertainment, escape, achievement, and social interaction. The measurement towards the ten dimensions was basically referred from previous studies about television and Internet use, as well as online game involvement. That is the items for testing uses and gratifications of video gaming broadcasting platforms, presence as well as behavioral intentions are generated from the existing scales verified by the previous studies. The first part of the questionnaire identified the reasons of using the special media as television use due to that the video gaming broadcasting platforms can be deemed as a particular kind of TV programme in which all programmes are generated by gamers. Therefore, measure of viewing on live and archived game streams was based on Rubin’s (2002) scale in exploring uses and gratifications of television in which contains learning, passing time/habit, companionship, arousal/excitement, relaxation, escape/to forget, and entertainment/enjoyment. The platforms not only featured as a conventional one-way broadcasting media, but also possess the interactive capabilities for spectators to communication with each other, with gamers, as well as other interactivity. Interaction as a crucial factor was added into the construction of gratification scale. The measures of interaction with others were referred from Martin and Schumacher (2003). Because of the emphatic effect, spectators may have similar psychological states as players. Furthermore, achievement has been proved as one of the crucial constructs of players’ gratifications (Wu et al., 2010). Achievement was considered as one of the gratifications that spectators supposedly to possess. The relevant scale was adopted and adjusted from Yee (2006). The second part tested spectators’ online psychology in this context, so called “presence” (Wu et al., 2010). Presence can be identified as a psychological factor in the context of online game. The basic meaning should be being there. Scholars study the presence from different perspective. In this study, it is strongly related with the interactive features of the platforms. The measures of presences including spatial presence and social presence were adapted from Kim and Biocca (1997) and Wu, Wang, and Tsai (2010) accordingly. The reason why Kim and Biocca’s scale of spatial presence was adapt is because the left two items could reflect more on the presence psychology than that of Wu and his colleagues’ 4-item does. The third part of the questionnaire examined the utility of infrastructure of the platforms as websites. The 6-item scale of perceived website usability including was adopted from Flavian et al. (2006). The final part was about the behavioral variables, i.e., continuous use intention and transaction intention. The uses of website per se somewhat reflect the gratifications in viewing streams. Thus, the continuous use and transaction intention were examined by employing the scale from Lin’s (2007).
In all, all questionnaire items were measured on a five-point Likert-type scale with anchors from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”. The pilot study was conducted to test the wording, appropriateness and completeness of the questions after the completion of questionnaire design. Some of the questions were deleted because of the repetitiveness among items in the previous measurement. Wordings have been done by changing to the online video gaming broadcasting. The final version of the self-reported questionnaire consisted of 44 items measuring 3 independent variables and 2 dependent variables.
Data collection To identify the correlations between assigned variables, an online survey was administered via Qualtrics to a nationwide convenience sample and snowball sample in October 2015 over a two-week period. The population for this study was netizens who watch streams on the online video gaming broadcasting platforms in mainland China. Participants were invited to fill out the online survey about their use and gratification of video gaming broadcasting platforms. The merits of online survey are cost reduction (Bhattacherjee, 2001; Mann and Stewart, 2000), efficiency (Bhattacherjee, 2001), and reach (Van Selm, & Jankowski, 2006). A total of 398 usable surveys were collected with an average survey completion time under 20 minutes. Respondents ranged from under 15 to over 36 years old. Fifty-six percent of participants were aged between 22 to 28. The figure for male spectators (280) is more than two times higher than that for females (with 120). Seventy-three percent of them reports education as college/university, followed by high school (18%), masters/doctors (6%), and junior high school and below (3%). Result show that larger number of respondents have selected on live streams than that for archived game videos, which was 96% and 66% accordingly. Over 33% of the respondents have been using online video gaming broadcasting platforms for 1-2 years and nearly 25% of the respondents had been using for 2-4 years. Moreover, roughly half of the respondents stated that they use the platforms for 2 to 3 days a week. Whereas, almost 57% of the respondents indicated the average time spent on watching streams is between 1 and 4 hours per day and over 38% of the respondents had been staying for over 4 hours.
Analysis methods The collected empirical data were analyzed by using multiple regressions analysis method in view of gratification, presence and web usability to positively influence on the continuous use intention and consuming intention of spectators. Furthermore, the dimensions in gratification, presence and perceived website usability were analyzed in view of relationship with behavioral intentions under gender selection variables. The stepwise method is used to assess the determinants which significantly influenced on dependent variables step by step. In the measurement model, the psychometric properties of all the scales were first assessed through an exploratory factor analysis to reduce variables, and then confirmatory factor analysis is used. This step was used to assess the validity of the measurement and identify factors in gratification and presence. Cronbach’s alpha is used to assess the reliability of measurement.
DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess the validity of scales. The items with factor loading (regression weight) lower than the threshold value of .65 were abandoned from the subsequent analysis in order to achieve a high level of validity. Therefore, 9 items were deleted to satisfy the validity value. The results showed that CMIN/DF was 1.649, goodness-of-fit index (GFI) was .900 and RMSEA was .040, indicating that the construct validity of the scales met the requirements. The measurement of reliability of the individual items was assessed to ensure internal consistency between items. The Cronbach’s alpha value of relaxation, entertainment and escape scales were lower than minimum threshold value of 0.7. Therefore, three items in these factors were removed to meet minimum the threshold value. The pass time and habit factors were observed directly. The results of reliability for 35 unobserved variables was shown in Table 1. In addition, the total scale Cronbach’s alpha value achieved 0.934, which reflects that internal consistency is acceptable. As a consequence, the initial model included 15 factors and 37 variables.
Table 1: Cronbach’s alpha value Unobserved factors
No. of observed variables
2 (RE1 RE3)
2 (IF1 IF2)
2 (EN1 EN2)
2 (ES2 ES3)
Game social interaction
3 (GSI2, GSI3, GSI4)
In multiple regression analysis, gratifications, presence and perceived web usability served as the independent variables, and use intention and purchase intention represented the dependent variables. Table 2 lists regression analysis results. Overall, all the regression models were signification at a level of p < .01, thereby, the analytical results in the columns of Table 2 were discussed. Gratification significantly positively influenced on the continuous use intention (p < .01) and consuming intention (p < .01). Therefore, hypotheses H1 and H2 were supported. Presence significantly positively influenced on the continuous use intention (p < .01) and purchase intention (p < .01) Hence, hypotheses H3 and H4 were supported. Perceived web usability significantly positively influenced on the continuous use intention (p < .01) and consuming intention (p < .01), hypotheses H5 and H6 were supported. A positive correlation was found between continuous motivation to watch streams and consuming intention on the platform, r (398) = .594, p < .01) Table 2: Results of the impact of gratification, presence and perceived web usability on the continuous use intention and consuming intention Use intention Unstandardized Coefficients B
Purchase intention Sig.
Unstandardized Sig. Coefficients B
Moreover, multiple regression analysis is also used to assess relationships between the variables among gratification, presence and web usability and use intention and purchase intention. The ten
factors in gratification (relaxation, companionship, pass time, habit, learning, arousal, entertainment, escape, achievement, and game social interaction), two factors in presence (social presence and spatial presence) and perceived web usability served as the independent variables, and user intention and purchase intention represented the dependent variables. Table3 and Table4 list regression analysis results about gender differences in the determinants and the behavioral intentions. The stepwise method is used to assess regression analysis. The regression models for the continuous use intention were signification (p < .05). Spatial presence, game social interaction, achievement, perceived website usability, habit and relaxation were signification at a level of p < .05 to influence on the continuous use intention. Furthermore, on the one hand, selecting only case for male, spatial presence, relaxation, game social interaction, perceived website usability, habit and achievement significantly influence continuous use intention (p < .01). On the other hand, regarding to female spectators, perceived website usability, relaxation and escape extremely significantly influenced on the continuous use intention (p < .01), spatial presence significantly influenced on the continuous use intention (p < .05). Overall, regression models for purchase intention were signification (p < .05), thereby the analytical results in Table 4 were discussed. Game social interaction, perceived web usability, achievement, spatial presence and habit were signification (p < .05) by the stepwise method assessment. Regarding to male, game social interaction (p < .01), perceived website usability, achievement and relaxation significantly affect the continuous use intention. Whereas, entertainment and usability significantly affect the continuous use intention of female spectators (p < .05). Table 3: Sources of gratification, presence and usability for the continuous use intention Unstandardized Coefficients B
Adj.: .483 Durbin-Watson: 1.910 Male
Female Unstandardized Coefficients B
Unstandardize d CoefficientsB
Spatial presence Interaction
1.929 Spatial presence 2.058 Relaxation
Dependent Variable: the continuous use intention
Table 4: Sources of gratification, presence and usability for consuming intention Unstandardized Coefficients B
Adj.: .338 Durbin-Watson: 1.971 Male
Unstandardize d Coefficients B .076
Unstandardize d Coefficients B -.222
Dependent Variable: consuming intention
DISCUSSION Social interaction, achievement and relaxations positively affect behavioral intentions It is worth to identify the impact of gratifications, presence and perceived web usability on the continuous watching intention and consuming disposition of spectators. This study, by employing Uses and Gratifications theory, proposes a behavioral model to identify the important determinants of spectators’ behavioral intentions on the specific kind of platforms. The results show some interesting findings. Part of the subconstructs of perceived gratifications in watching streams on stream websites, such as social interaction, achievement, and relaxation, are significantly positive to continuous watching intention. As a large number of spectators are also game players, thereby the psychological states and behavioral expressions may in a large degree the same as game players or streamers. In Wu et al., (2010) study, all the three facets of perceived gratifications, e.g., achievement, enjoyment, and social interaction, are all positively related to the continuance motivation of playing online games. It can be seen that there is overlapping between the present study and the previous one. It echos with the finding that spectators share the tension of players in the context of ancient Roman gladiatorial games (Huizinga, 1938). The difference is that spectators would watch the streams in the future due to that it may relax them in some way, while enjoyment is a strong predictor that players may continuously play games. The psychological states of spectators are different from players’. Moreover, differences exist in continuous watching intention in regarding to gender. As for male spectators, relaxation, social interaction, and achievement positively relate to continuous watching intention sequentially. To better understand this result, we conducted nine interviews (seven are male, two are female) with undergraduate students who have been watching streams for over one year. Interviewees described that they could get relaxed from daily high-pressure study. Their heads
are cleared and get a pleasant rest by chatting and contacting with other peer viewers on the platform. Therefore, social interaction to them is another key reason to continuous watch. They expressed that they could feel what players feel. They are willing to offer strategies and purchase game pops for players. The only reason for that is they could have certain sense of success or achievement as if they are playing the games. As for female, arousal, escape and social interaction are the three particular subconstructs which positively relate to disposition of continuance watching. Female are easily to be excited when watching streams and it could get out of the unpleasant things and heavy work from universities. It seems that the subconstruct “escape” and “relaxation” have a similar meaning that these spectators could escape from other things and get relaxed. Different from the antecedents of continuous watching intention, gratifications like social interaction and achievement significantly affect consuming intention. The post-interview revealed that social interactions encourage them to make transaction on the platform, esp. purchase emoticons. To better communicate with others and to be a member of the community, that is the sense of belongings, are the other reasons push them spending money on it. It would satisfy their sentimental needs, even self-esteem and self-actualization needs based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (1943). In watching the streams, the sense of achievement is also important to them. Once they found they had chances to offer support to players, this particular feelings greatly satisfy their psychological need which lead to the consumption on the site. Furthermore, when spectators feel that they are not lonely when watching streams, there is a disposition to make transactions on the site. In all, social interaction and achievement are the common antecedents which affect both continuous watching intention and consuming intention on the stream platforms. This is a quite interesting finding in this study. Previous studies have shown that women are more interpersonally-oriented (Spence and Helmreich, 1978). Expressive behavior has long been demonstrated in computer mediated communication (Hiltz and Johnson, 1990; Soukup, 1999), such as online chat-rooms (Soukup, 1999), mobile telephony usage (Plant, 2001), and mobile e-mail (Plant, 2001). Research have revealed women more concern on interpersonal relationship than men (Carlson, 1971; Venkatesh and Morris, 2000). Social interactions in this study imply the interpersonal relationship of spectators with others on the platform. Researchers have found that the reason why female players prefer social interaction games is because they are willing to maintain and improve a relationship with others (Lewis and Griffiths, 2011). The satisfaction brought by the social interactions significantly influence male spectators’ continuous watching intention and consuming disposition. It indicates that the particular psychological state and behavioral expressions on the stream platforms are contradict with the conventional masculine trait.
Presence as immersion positively affect behavioral intentions Presence of online streams positively affects both continuous use intention and consuming disposition. Therefore, hypothesis 3 and 4 were supported. It is different from what Wu et al. (2010) in investigating whether presence influences continuance motivation in playing online games. In their study, no significant correlations between presence and continuance motivation of playing online games was founded in terms of players. Whereas, physical presence in the virtual game world strongly lead to the continuous watching of spectators. The physical presence induces the strong immersion in the virtual world. It enhances the strong stickiness of spectators to revisiting the streams site to watch streams, which will then elicit consuming behavior in the certain context.
Perceived website usability positively affect behavioral intentions Consistent with prior studies, perceived website usability is an important antecedent which determines both continuance watch intention and consuming dispositions online. It is the only determinant which has no gender difference in regarding to the behavioral intentions in the context of emerging stream websites. Moreover, the continued watching intention positively relate to the purchasing intention on the platform. Therefore, hypotheses 5, 6, and 7 are supported.
CONCLUSIONS AND LIMITATIONS Driven by the prospective market of online games, a growing number of studies have been conducting to investigate the relevant topics. As a kind of cheap entertainment, majority of studies have been concerning on the players’ motivation and use behavior, for instance, to identify the antecedents which influence the proactive stickiness. Whereas, few studies have explored spectators’
perception of this particular digital media and behavioral dispositions. We employed uses and gratifications theory to comprehensively reflect the vital factors of spectators’ continuous use and consumption disposition to online streams. In particular, this study presents the impact of gratifications, presence, perceived web usability on continuous use and consumption intention. It differentiated the findings from what the previous studies found in terms of online game players. Meanwhile, by testing the control variable gender, the research provide a better picture of the underlying psychological traits for spectators’ continuous use intention and transaction making disposition in the context of spectators mode. Finally, the present study found that spatial presence strongly influence spectators’ behavioral intentions. It implies that immersion in the game world is a key experience of spectators when watching streams. The findings of this study provide the following insights for practitioners. First, the findings of this study underscore that gratifications like achievement, and social interaction and relaxation significantly affect spectators’ continuous watching motivation and consuming disposition on the streams sites. As cultivating the interesting and satisfy players’ gratifications, website managers should consider proper design strategies to attract spectators, enrich user experience, so that viewers will be willing to use the Web and spend money on the site. Second, another finding that might have implications for practitioners is the status of immersion. Both stream managers and web designers should put in more efforts in improving the spectators’ feeling of involvement in this particular cyberspace to increase the spectators’ intention to stick in the website. Third, this study offers strong support for the importance of website usability as one of the significant keys to enhance continuous use and promote consuming behavior. Therefore, web designers should put more emphases on ways to improve the user experience and maintain the stickiness to the platforms by satisfying their psychological needs, while, the basic task is to build a user-friendly website. Easyto-use not only enhances the revisiting and duration to the digital media, but also facilitate transactions in order to need affective motives. Hence, psychological gratifications and website usability are the valuable factors that are needed to be highlighted in that it may increase the traffic of the websites and potential economic benefit for the companies. This study offers future research directions in this particular area. First, it investigated spectators in a broad context, i.e. spectators of general live streams. It should provide more insight about spectators of a specific game genre. Spectators of different game genres may probably have distinct psychological motives and states in watching streams. Second, future studies may investigate whether culture plays a role in affecting spectators’ continuance use intention and consuming disposition. Third, the research also suggests that the future research on personality traits that influence viewing behavior of spectators. For instance, how spectators’ personality traits relate to the gratifications they obtain from watching streams and the game genre they choose to watch.
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