Understanding virtual co-creation activities in the virtual world environment

Janet Ward, Johanna Gummerus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNConference contribution with ISSN or ISBNpeer-review


Purpose – Nascent marketing literature highlights that value is co-created when a customer uses a good or a service (Vargo and Lusch, 2004), and that the customers role in value co-creation needs to be mapped (Lusch et al, 2007). We are interested in the customer co-creation that takes place in a marketer-created interactive-services environment (Bolton & Saxena-Iyer, 2009) of the teen virtual world Habbo Hotel. Users truly act as resource creators, producing much of the content/activities such as socializing, building rooms, game playing, holding events and trading, which we argue are in the domain of co-creation (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004).

Design – Eisenbeiss et al (2012) find user segments of socializers, refugees, creativity seekers and specialists in Second Life but suggest the teenage focus in Habbo Hotel would moderate these results. This research extends research into the teen virtual worlds and makes a comparison between UK and Finnish users. An initial period of participant observation led to the design of an online survey. Questions were taken from previous studies and also developed based on our participant observations. A survey link was placed on Habbo Hotel’s Finnish and English[1]speaking portals. This paper analyses and interprets the activities that take place in-world using factor analysis.

Findings – Initial findings show eight activities emerging although there appear to be differences between the two portals. We will discuss the activities and their co-creation element. Importantly some may be perceived as negative. There will also be a detailed analysis of the similarities and differences between the activities in the UK and Finnish portals at the conference.

Research limitations/implication - There is a difference in the number of responses received between the portals N=1090 UK and N= 229 Finland, that relates to the size of the user base in each portal. Compared to extant research our research suggests there is a wider range of activities. This may relate to differences between virtual worlds for different age groups, or may suggest that new activities are developing, that there are cross- cultural differences and/or that extant research has only sought to identify positive co-creation activities.

Practical implications – To develop future co-creation activities in teen online environments, for co-creation across cultures and in highlighting dimensions useful in profiling within virtual worlds.

Originality – This research gives a far more detailed mapping into customer roles in co-creation in teen-focused co-creation virtual environments and uniquely compares users from different countries
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Naples Forum on Service, 2015
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2015
EventThe Naples Forum on Service - Naples, Italy
Duration: 9 Jun 201512 Jul 2015


ConferenceThe Naples Forum on Service
Internet address


  • Co-creation
  • Habbo Hotel
  • Virtual world
  • Cross-cultural
  • Factor analysis


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