Interacting in virtual reality: When the Proteus effect stimulates 3D MMORPG players to buy

Hélène Yildiz, Alan Reiter, Demetris Vrontis, Jean Pierre Mouline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Virtual reality is transforming people's behaviour in new online multiplayer games. However, the question of how this technology influences players virtual object purchasing behaviour remains open. To answer this question, this research mobilises the theory of embodiment, the theory of community commitment and the sense of social belonging to explain the behaviour of the embodied gamer. Using a sample of 567 players of massively multiplayer online role-playing games in virtual reality, our study establishes conclusive evidence that player embodiment influences player purchase behaviour. Furthermore, our results reveal the presence of a mediating effect between embodiment and the purchase of virtual objects. In other words, players buy virtual objects because embodiment reinforces their commitment and their sense of belonging to their community. Clearly, this research is the first to propose this model in the field of online multiplayer games. Professionals should exploit these groundbreaking results and democratise virtual reality in games. In addition, it is important that the virtual interfaces deployed in games are more engaging, personalised and community-based.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123205
JournalTechnological Forecasting and Social Change
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024


  • Community commitment
  • Deindividuation
  • Embodiment
  • Projective identification
  • Proteus effect
  • Purchase intention
  • Social belonging
  • Virtual items


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