Tourism, migration, and the exodus to virtual worlds: Place attachment in massively multiplayer online gamers

Mark Coulson, Andrea Oskis, Robert Spencer, Rebecca L. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Place attachment to both physical and virtual places was investigated in an online survey of massively multiplayer online gamers. Participants (N = 740) completed a Place Attachment Inventory once for the place in the physical world that they considered home and once for a place in a virtual world they felt attached to. In addition, measures of personality, gaming motivation, life satisfaction, attachment style, and identification with online avatars were taken. Results suggested that place identity, place uniqueness, and place social bonding were higher for physical places than for virtual places but that place affect was higher for virtual places. A small number of participants (N = 55, 7%) identified virtual “homes,” which participants felt were more special and which they identified more strongly with than other virtual places, and that were as unique and associated with an equal sense of belonging to physical homes. Results are interpreted through the lens of migration theory, and recommendations are made for future research into digital domiciles and migration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)525–532
Number of pages8
JournalPsychology of Popular Media Culture
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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