Document Type

Honors Thesis

Publication Date

Spring 5-2016


Customers of free-to-play video games are becoming one of the largest and most lucrative consumers of entertainment products in America, and yet relatively little formal literature has been written about these users. Because this customer group is significant and influential within the video game industry, and because video games are becoming a popular and mainstream medium, understanding these consumers is important to understanding our economy, our culture, and for making better gaming products.

This thesis will define a conceptual and qualitative value function that could help one better comprehend F2P consumers’ desires and needs in regards to free-to-play video games, and thus help one better understand this consumer group. To improve readability and to support this value function, the thesis will also provide a brief review of the video game industry, as well as details regarding game design and the market for video games. In theory, this model could be used to help a free-to-play developing firm understand their consumer base better and adapt their product to provide those benefits most appreciated by the primary users.

Support and evidence for the model comes from both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources include a demographics survey administered through the University of Maine community in which 264 respondents participated, and email correspondence between the author and a video game developer. Secondary sources include data and information gathered from professionally published articles and journals, news reports, demographic reports, sales and market trends, and insight from industry professionals.