When Ignorance Is Bliss: The Role of Curiosity in Online Games Adoption


Despite the adverse consequences associated with playing risky online games, their popularity is increasing. Prior literature on online games has focused on identifying adoption factors without taking associated risks into consideration. In this study, we examine the factors that drive individuals to play online games in the presence of cybersecurity risks such as physical and psychological risks associated with online games. We draw on the information gap theory of curiosity to investigate the impact of security risk awareness and curiosity on the intention to play online games. Using a hypothetical scenario that simulates a real event and a total of 301 responses collected using Amazon Mechanical Turk platform and analyzed using LISREL 8.80, we provide evidence of how the awareness of threats incites curiosity and invites exploratory behavior that can lead to undesirable consequences. Our results reveal that security risk awareness has a positive and significant effect on both perceived risk and curiosity, while curiosity has a negative effect on perceived risk and a positive effect on the intention to play an online game. This study contributes to the literature on online games by adding the role of cybersecurity awareness as a predictor of curiosity, which in turn leads to risky behavior of playing online games. The study introduces curiosity as a critical factor that has valuable cybersecurity implications in the context of online gaming.


Information Technology and Cybersecurity

Document Type





Awareness, Curiosity, Cybersecurity, Information gap, Online games

Publication Date


Journal Title

Entertainment Computing