ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Revealing the Participation Inequality in Mobile Location Based Games

By Kate Lund, Paul Coulton, Andrew Wilson
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 11, No. 3]

DOI: 10.1145/2582186.2633433

Free All Monsters! is a novel, context-aware, location-based mobile game and associated online Web-based portal, which allows players to create content that populates the game. The concept has recently transitioned from an initial prototype debuted at very specific events to an iPhone application that will allow the game to be played anywhere in the world. In this paper we present ongoing research that considers the design issues when location-based games have to accommodate the necessary increase of scale, how emergent behavior manifests within the game, and whether the notion of participation inequality is equally evident in such a system. The results show how new game behavior is emerging from the original prototype and that participation inequality is evident in terms of player profiles. Using these results, suggestions are proposed regarding how designers might overcome such effects.1

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