Online reviews: The more the better? The role of polarizing comments in the PC games market

Project: Research project

Project Details


Online word-of-mouth (WOM) profoundly influences consumer choices, yet it becomes especially intricate when applied to experience products, known for their pre-consumption quality assessment challenges. This study explores the unique characteristics of experience products and the significance of studying user-generated reviews, both from consumers and experts, within this context. To tackle the complexity of evaluating experience goods, we adopt a metric inspired by existing research, designed to measure controversy levels within user-generated comments. This metric offers nuanced insights into the uncertainties consumers encounter when assessing such products. Our research centers on its role in online communities and its direct impact on PC game market shares, a domain rich in experience products. Moreover, we examine how this controversy level moderates the influence of essential factors on market shares: comment volume, the quantity of positive and negative comments, professional ratings, and price – a recognized quality signal. Using comprehensive Steam data, our findings reveal that in controversial contexts, negative comments wield significant power over market shares, often overshadowing comment volume and professional ratings’ effects on PC game demand, consistent with the psychological reactance theory. By unraveling these dynamics, we provide valuable insights for businesses and researchers navigating the complex world of online reviews and their influence on market performance.
Effective start/end date1/01/2330/12/24


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