Mobile Gaming: Perspectives and Issues

Mobile Gaming: Perspectives and Issues

Krassie Petrova (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-611-7.ch079
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Abstract

Mobile gaming (mGaming) belongs to the category of mobile entertainment applications. It is widely adopted in some countries –for example in Japan (Baldi & Thaung, 2002; Chan, 2008) and is fast becoming a popular and profitable mobile commerce service (Kleijnen, de Ruyter, & Wetzels, 2003; Paavilainen, 2004, p. 133). In 2006, the revenue from phone games in Europe alone reached US$6 billion (Fritsch, Ritter, & Schiller, 2006). It is predicted that worldwide mGaming revenues will continue to grow with Asia-Pacific markets contributing significantly to the growth (Paul, Jensen, Wong, & Khong, 2008).
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Introduction

Mobile gaming (mGaming) belongs to the category of mobile entertainment applications. It is widely adopted in some countries –for example in Japan (Baldi & Thaung, 2002; Chan, 2008) and is fast becoming a popular and profitable mobile commerce service (Kleijnen, de Ruyter, & Wetzels, 2003; Paavilainen, 2004, p. 133). In 2006, the revenue from phone games in Europe alone reached US$6 billion (Fritsch, Ritter, & Schiller, 2006). It is predicted that worldwide mGaming revenues will continue to grow with Asia-Pacific markets contributing significantly to the growth (Paul, Jensen, Wong, & Khong, 2008).

Past research results indicate that both customer perceptions and attitudes, and mGaming supply chain factors may play a critical role as determinants of mGaming business model success and mGaming adoption (Barnes, 2003; Carlsson, Hyvonen, Repo, & Walden, 2005; Kuo & Yu, 2006; Macinnes, Moneta, Caraballo, & Sarni, 2002; Peppard & Rylander, 2006; Petrova, 2007; Siau, Lim, & Shen, 2001; Soh & Tan, 2008). Following up on prior findings the study presented here develops further the proposition that customer adoption of mobile gaming services and products is linked to:

  • i)

    User perceptions about the value of playing a mobile game in the context of their lifestyle, and

  • ii)

    User expectations about the quality of the mGaming service in the context of the environment.

The main objective of this chapter is to identify the determinants of mGaming success, to highlight the most important issues related to mGaming adoption, and to suggest recommendations for mobile game design and mGaming service provisioning. The chapter is organized as follows: First, definitions and background information are provided, and mobile gaming demand and supply are discussed. The sections following introduce mGaming adoption drivers and factors derived from studies using adoption models. mGaming determinants are proposed and discussed. The chapter concludes with an overview of future trends and research directions.

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Background

A mobile game is a video game played on a handheld device such as a mobile phone, by a player with a connection to a mobile data network. A game may require a permanent connection, or may be a standalone one (‘download once’). Actively connected players may be moving and frequently changing their geographic location. Mobile games may involve groups of competing and/or collaborating participants. Using location-awareness features, mobile games may superimpose features of the real world into the game space and create an augmented reality environment (Bell et al., 2006; Broll, et al., 2008; Finn, 2005; Koivisto, 2006; Maitland, van de Kar, de Montalvo, & Bouwman, 2005; Rashid, Mullins, Coulton, & Edwards, 2006). Pervasive mobile games involve players in interaction with another and with the physical environment, and may be played by geographically dispersed groups of players (Segatto, Herzer, Mazzotti, Bittencourt, & Barbosa, 2008).

As a service, mGaming uses the communication channel provided by the private mobile data network, which may also connect to the public Internet (the ‘mobile Internet’). Only mobile network subscribers or prepaid customers may play mobile games which require a permanent connection. However some games may be played within an ad-hoc network formed by the players implementing a short range connection technology such as Bluetooth.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile gaming (mGaming): Playing a mobile game by one or more players.

Mobile phone form factor: refers to the size, style, and other features of the mobile phone as a hardware object.

Mobile application development platform: Software (middleware) which enables the development of applications supporting mobile connectivity (e.g. BREW, J2ME, WAP).

Mobile game: A video game played on a mobile phone.

Mobile commerce (mCommerce): A term referring to commercial transactions conducted over mobile access networks, including transfer of ownership of goods and the provision of services.

Location-Based Service (LBS): A mobile data service which needs and relies on location information, and which customers can access via a mobile devoice connected to a mobile network.

Mobile platform: An operating system designed for and installed in a mobile device (e.g. Symbian OS, Windows CE).

Location information: Information about the geographical position of an active mobile device which can be obtained independently of the mobile network via technologies such as GPS (Global Positioning Service), or can be supplied by the mobile network itself (e.g. using the Cell ID technology).

4G (4th generation): An advanced wireless communication technology offering high quality of service, to become a future standard gradually replacing the currently considered best 3G technology.

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