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Exploring Video Game Design and Player Retention - a Longitudinal Case Study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2018 (English)In: Proceedings of the 22nd International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2018, p. 39-48Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Lasting player engagement is essential for pushing a video game beyond a successful release. While previous research on retention and engagement in games exists, this has mainly focused on general models and factors. Furthermore, we notice a lack of published studies using longitudinal methods to investigate when and why player interest drops off. In this paper we present a longitudinal case study of players' attitude on specific game elements which enabled us to in more detail determine why and how the appeal of a game changes.

For the case study we selected a AAA game just before release and approached eager participants who wanted to play the game. The seven participants were selected based on interviews and then played freely for 20 hours over five weeks during which they were instructed to fill in player diaries at specified times. At the end of this period, the participants were again interviewed about their experience. The results show that all participants felt less excited about the game, less inclined to play more, and more bored at the end of the period than at the start. No single satisfactory explanation for this development could be deduced from the data. Instead, this article suggests a list of retention breakdown mechanics that were central in this case to maintain player retention. The method to find retention inhibiting factors can be applied as part of the later stages of the development of games to prevent early drop-off.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2018. p. 39-48
Keywords [en]
User experience, user attitude, longitudinal case study, retention
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Information Society
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-161398DOI: 10.1145/3275116.3275140ISBN: 978-1-4503-6589-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-161398DiVA, id: diva2:1258211
Conference
22nd International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Tampere, Finland, October 10 - 11, 2018
Available from: 2018-10-24 Created: 2018-10-24 Last updated: 2018-11-05Bibliographically approved

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Strååt, BjörnVerhagen, Harko
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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