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Exploring the effect of in-game purchases on mobile game use with smartphone trace data

Kristof Boghe (UGent) , Laura Herrewijn (UGent) , Frederik De Grove (UGent) , Kyle Van Gaeveren (UGent) and Lieven De Marez (UGent)
(2020) MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION. 8(3). p.219-230
Author
Organization
Abstract
Microtransactions have become an integral part of the digital game industry. This has spurred researchers to explore the effects of this monetization strategy on players’ game enjoyment and intention to continue using the game. Hitherto, these relationships were exclusively investigated using cross-sectional survey designs. However, self-report measures tend to be only mildly correlated with actual media consumption. Moreover, cross-sectional designs do not allow for a detailed investigation into the temporal dimension of these associations. To address these issues, the current study leverages smartphone trace data to explore the longitudinal effect of in-game purchase behavior on continual mobile game use. In total, approximately 100,000 hours of mobile game activity among 6,340 subjects were analyzed. A Cox regression with time-dependent covariates was performed to examine whether performing in-game purchases affects the risk of players removing the game app from their repertoire. Results show that making an in-game purchase decreases this risk initially, prolonging the survival time of the mobile gaming app. However, this effect significantly changes over time. After the first three weeks, a reversal effect is found where previous in-game purchase behavior negatively affects the further survival of the game. Thus, mobile games without previous monetary investment are more prone to long-term continual game use if they survive the first initial weeks. Methodological and theoretical implications are discussed. As such, the current study adds to those studies that use computational methods within a traditional inferential framework to aid theory-driven inquiries.
Keywords
computational methods, continual game use, in-game purchases, monetization, smartphone trace data, survival analysis

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Citation

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MLA
Boghe, Kristof, et al. “Exploring the Effect of In-Game Purchases on Mobile Game Use with Smartphone Trace Data.” MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION, vol. 8, no. 3, 2020, pp. 219–30, doi:10.17645/mac.v8i3.3007.
APA
Boghe, K., Herrewijn, L., De Grove, F., Van Gaeveren, K., & De Marez, L. (2020). Exploring the effect of in-game purchases on mobile game use with smartphone trace data. MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION, 8(3), 219–230. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i3.3007
Chicago author-date
Boghe, Kristof, Laura Herrewijn, Frederik De Grove, Kyle Van Gaeveren, and Lieven De Marez. 2020. “Exploring the Effect of In-Game Purchases on Mobile Game Use with Smartphone Trace Data.” MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION 8 (3): 219–30. https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i3.3007.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Boghe, Kristof, Laura Herrewijn, Frederik De Grove, Kyle Van Gaeveren, and Lieven De Marez. 2020. “Exploring the Effect of In-Game Purchases on Mobile Game Use with Smartphone Trace Data.” MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION 8 (3): 219–230. doi:10.17645/mac.v8i3.3007.
Vancouver
1.
Boghe K, Herrewijn L, De Grove F, Van Gaeveren K, De Marez L. Exploring the effect of in-game purchases on mobile game use with smartphone trace data. MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION. 2020;8(3):219–30.
IEEE
[1]
K. Boghe, L. Herrewijn, F. De Grove, K. Van Gaeveren, and L. De Marez, “Exploring the effect of in-game purchases on mobile game use with smartphone trace data,” MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 219–230, 2020.
@article{8671841,
  abstract     = {Microtransactions have become an integral part of the digital game industry. This has spurred researchers to explore the effects of this monetization strategy on players’ game enjoyment and intention to continue using the game. Hitherto, these relationships were exclusively investigated using cross-sectional survey designs. However, self-report measures tend to be only mildly correlated with actual media consumption. Moreover, cross-sectional designs do not allow for a detailed investigation into the temporal dimension of these associations. To address these issues, the current study leverages smartphone trace data to explore the longitudinal effect of in-game purchase behavior on continual mobile game use. In total, approximately 100,000 hours of mobile game activity among 6,340 subjects were analyzed. A Cox regression with time-dependent covariates was performed to examine whether performing in-game purchases affects the risk of players removing the game app from their repertoire. Results show that making an in-game purchase decreases this risk initially, prolonging the survival time of the mobile gaming app. However, this effect significantly changes over time. After the first three weeks, a reversal effect is found where previous in-game purchase behavior negatively affects the further survival of the game. Thus, mobile games without previous monetary investment are more prone to long-term continual game use if they survive the first initial weeks. Methodological and theoretical implications are discussed. As such, the current study adds to those studies that use computational methods within a traditional inferential framework to aid theory-driven inquiries.},
  author       = {Boghe, Kristof and Herrewijn, Laura and De Grove, Frederik and Van Gaeveren, Kyle and De Marez, Lieven},
  issn         = {2183-2439},
  journal      = {MEDIA AND COMMUNICATION},
  keywords     = {computational methods,continual game use,in-game purchases,monetization,smartphone trace data,survival analysis},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {219--230},
  title        = {Exploring the effect of in-game purchases on mobile game use with smartphone trace data},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i3.3007},
  volume       = {8},
  year         = {2020},
}

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