1. bookVolume 29 (2021): Issue 1 (March 2021)
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Brand-Related User-Generated Content in Simulation Video Games: Qualitative Research Among Polish Players

Published Online: 22 Apr 2021
Volume & Issue: Volume 29 (2021) - Issue 1 (March 2021)
Page range: 61 - 87
Received: 10 Mar 2020
Accepted: 22 Feb 2021
Journal Details
First Published
30 Mar 2015
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

Purpose: The article sought to answer research questions regarding investigated branded content generated by players in simulation video games. How does the process work in video games? What are the characteristics of branded user-generated content in video games? To what extent players are willing to participate in branded content creation?

Methodology: I conducted 20 in-depth interviews among Polish players, with the application of snowball sampling. The study participants were adult users of chosen simulation video games: The Sims, Second Life, and Euro Truck Simulator 2.

Findings: We can distinguish content based on game mechanism, official add-ons, or game modding. Players frequently check some brands from a set offered by game developers and create content (e.g. in The Sims users can design house interiors with IKEA furniture). Some players are not satisfied by what a game offers and generate content based on modding (e.g. DHL trucks or McDonald’s restaurants inside the Euro Truck Simulator 2). In this respect, the article refers to Smith’s, Fischer’s, and Yongjian’s content dimensions. Branded game modifications described by respondents are characterized by a high level of similarity towards real brands and positive brand sentiment (valence). I noted no statement about player and marketer (brand) communication in gathered material. The biggest challenge for practitioners in the field of UGC in video games is how to manage brand messages.

Practical Implications: Brand-related user-generated content is an important phenomenon in terms of the brand-building process and its impact on brand reception, which all require marketers’ attention. For game developers, such a content is a source of information about customer expectations. Players show their personal expectations by game modding.

Originality/Value: Brand-related content generated by users is frequently associated with social media. The scholarship shows a lack of knowledge of branded user-generated content in video games.


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