We’ve published an article in Services Marketing Quarterly about segmentation and online games. The idea is that these virtual world are marketplaces where it is possible to segment the users from how they interact with the world, thus also target them as consumers.

Peter Zackariasson, Nils Wåhlin, and Timothy L. Wilson (2010). Virtual identities and market segmentation in marketing in and through Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOGs). Services Marketing Quarterly, 31(3), pp. 275-295.

Abstract

It has been asserted that the emergence of virtual worlds has changed the ways that business may be conducted. In massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) a participant is given the opportunity to not only create an identity of how they would like to appear but also select individual activities. Clearly, this opportunity may carry marketing implications because marketers are given the opportunity to consider potential customers as they might like to be. Background in self-identity and buying behavior, the nature of MMOGs, taxonomy of gamers, and the construction of identity is sketched. Five propositions are developed that summarize our observations from this foundation.