Profile, Gaming Usage and Purposes of Gaming of Internet Café Users in Manila: An Exploratory Study

Profile, Gaming Usage and Purposes of Gaming of Internet Café Users in Manila: An Exploratory Study

Ana Clariza Natanauan (College of Computer Studies and Systems, University of the East, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines), Jenmart Bonifacio (College of Computer Studies and Systems, University of the East, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines), Mikael Manuel (College of Computer Studies and Systems, University of the East, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines), Rex Bringula (College of Computer Studies and Systems, University of the East, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines) and John Benedic Enriquez (College of Computer Studies and Systems, University of the East, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines)
DOI: 10.4018/ijvcsn.2013100103
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Abstract

This descriptive-exploratory study attempted to give the readers a portrait of cyber café gamers in Manila. It determined the profile of gamers, their gaming usage, and their purposes of cyber café gaming. Descriptive statistics revealed that most of the respondents were Manila settlers, students, pursuing or had obtained college degrees, male, young, Roman Catholic, single, belonged to middle-income class, and played games in cyber cafés in the afternoon once to twice a week. One-way chi-square showed that frequency of gaming was not equally distributed in a week and gamers showed tendency to play games in a cyber in a particular time of the day. Real-time strategy games were the most frequently played games in cyber cafés. To recreate, to relieve boredom, and to have fun were the top three reasons in playing games in cyber cafés. Conclusions and directions for future research were also presented.
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1. Introduction

It has been shown that even though a person does not own a particular information and communication technology (ICT), there are different means of accessing it with the aid of another member of the family, a friend or a neighbor, through the workplace, or in public places (Olatokun, 2009). Free public access of computers and Internet can be done in telecenters or in public libraries. On the other hand, they can also be accessed for a relatively small fee through cyber cafés.

It is argued that cyber cafés could help bridge the digital divide since they could provide better equipment or faster connections for different and more advanced users (Haseloff, 2005), and could offer minimal cost alternative to personal computer ownership, Internet access, and other multiple financial barriers (Adomi et al., 2003; Haseloff, 2005). Because of these advantages, they became the most common Internet access model (Haseloff, 2005; Kadli Jayadev, 2010) in developing countries (Rogers and Shukla, 2001; Wahid et al., 2004; Furuholt and Kristiansen, 2007b) either in urban or rural settings (Alam et al., 2009; Furuholt & Kristiansen, 2007a; Haseloff, 2005; Liff & Lægran, 2003). Thus, Rogers and Shukla (2001) concluded that most of the people in developing countries relied on cyber cafés.

In the Philippines, public access to computer and Internet is also predominantly done through cyber cafés. The cyber cafe is interchangeably called internet café, internet shop, or computer shop. The cyber café became an instant-hit business in the Philippines because of its affordable services. In 2004, one of the biggest cyber cafes in the Philippines had 112 branches all over the country (Netopia, 2010). Today, almost every corner of the streets of Metro Manila has an Internet shop or a cyber café. In Manila alone, there are 627 cyber cafes scattered all over its 14 districts (Business Record Database, 2010). The convenience of having a high-speed broadband connection for a relatively small rental fee (Alam, et al., 2009) makes this business innovative (Icafebusiness.com, 2009).

Cyber cafés offer varied services. One of these services is gaming. Gaming is the central activity in café life (Haseloff, 2005; Alam et al., 2009). Somoni et al. (2010) found out that customers repeatedly returned to the cyber cafés because of computer games. This was also confirmed in the studies on cyber cafés in Malaysia (Alam et al., 2009) and in Pakistan (Batool & Mahmood, 2010).

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