Table of Contents
The contemporary society actively uses different digital technologies in order to make different spheres of life more convenient. At the same time, they can be used only for entertainment. Recently, traditional methods of entertainment such as computer and console games gave way to games played on mobile phones and tablet computers. One of such games, Pokémon Go, attracted a dramatically high number of players since the first days of its release. This study examines the issues that motivate people to spend more time playing Pokémon Go. The project associated with this study included a 40-minute interview with a user of this mobile phone application on campus in August, 2016. The findings suggest that augmented reality, satisfaction, and boredom are the strongest motivators that lead the users of Pokémon Go towards spending more time playing the game. These findings matter because they have different practical applications. For instance, it is possible to use them when designing programs that treat people with internet gaming disorder. Also, the company that develops this application may use them in order to improve the game.
What motivates users spending more time playing Pokémon Go?
First, there is a need for stating that the users of Pokémon Go are intrigued by the new format of the game. In contrast to other games, Pokémon Go is based on the technology called augmented reality, which uses real world as a game setting that allows users observing the gaming process directly at their location. As a result, a player of this game has a different experience in contrast with other games. Another difference is that a player has to move around the real world leaving one’s place and searching for a pokémon. As the interviewee stated, testing and enjoying a new technology that allows mixing real and virtual worlds is one of the main motivators for playing the game. Scholars also approve that students’ interest to subjects and their level of attention and confidence increases if they use augmented reality as a part of their classes (Serio, Ibáñez & Kloos, 2013). Thus, the players of such games quickly engage into a gaming process and get involved in such form of gaming interaction because it becomes a part of reality. Therefore, the interest in a new technology that allows observing the real world and interacting with it serves as a basic trigger that motivates people to spend more time playing the game. However, there are other games that use augmented reality technology, but receive significantly less interest of the users. Consequently, there are other motivators that combine with the exposed one and encourage people to devote hours to the game on the daily basis.
Another critical motivator to play Pokémon Go is satisfaction associated with the process. The process of search for a virtual thing in a real world serves as a challenge factor overcoming which the player feels satisfied with the achieved success. Moreover, some of the pokémons are rare and may “live” in really distant locations, which increases the challenge for the player because of the need to go long distances in a real world. Thus, the completion of a task that is associated with a significant challenge has a strong association with success as a result of the achievement. As the interviewee says, the success of catching a rare pokémon brings the feeling of extreme satisfaction and encourages the player to spend more time in the game. Moreover, the gaming process involves the element of competition because players are encouraged to challenge each other to fight with their pokémons. Thus, satisfaction in this game correlates with such aspects as personal and competitive challenges as well as achievements. As it is stated by the scholars, these factors influence players’ self-esteem and game enjoyment and replay intentions (Kazakova, Cauberghe, Pandelaere & Pelsmacker, 2014). A system of gaming gratifications and the increased level of players’ self-esteem directly impact the players’ will to constantly involve in the gaming process in order to achieve satisfaction (Kazakova, Cauberghe, Pandelaere & Pelsmacker, 2014). As a consequence, the player of the game is ready to discuss its different aspects to recollect the cases of one’s success and reconstruct the feeling of satisfaction. In order to intensify such experiences, the players form groups consisting of friends and “hunt” for pokémons together thus sharing the feeling of satisfaction. Consequently, this motivator can be characterized as strong because it serves as the reason for repeated involvement in the gaming process that Pokémon Go offers.
Boredom is a factor partially associated with the game as compared to its counterparts. The gamers that play Pokémon Go negatively perceive this factor as one that makes other games uninteresting. For instance, the interviewee claimed that most traditional games use similar gaming methods and produce similar experiences. As a result, gamers quickly get bored with them and search for new experiences. In contrast, Pokémon Go opposes this boredom by proposing unique experiences of going out and interacting with a real world. Gamers perceive boredom as a factor that can be mitigated by means of gaming (Wilfinger et al., 2013), but this paradigm fails when games are not interesting. In this sense, the interviewee fears that Pokémon Go may become boring if some of its flaws are not fixed. This is the case when gamers are willing to help game designers in order to exclude the factor of boredom from the game they like. Consequently, boredom is a negative factor that causes people switching from other games to Pokémon Go, which they characterize as more involving and proposing better experiences. This unique aspect can be used as a mediator that intensifies or restrains the users’ interest in the game.
The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that motivate users to spend more time playing Pokémon Go. The research involved a 40-minute length interview with a representative of the campus that plays this game. After the data collection, the three factors were identified, which include augmented reality, satisfaction, and boredom. Each of the revealed factors got considerable support and explanation in scholarly sources that investigate the identified issues.
The major weakness of the research is the limit of interviewees, which represented only one educational institution and were predominantly of male population. It was possible to avoid this by increasing the number and diversity of participants, but it was associated with the need for extended time for carrying out the research. Also, it would have been beneficial to collect data that represent the perception of the game by non-players. These measures would have increased the objectivity of the research and enhanced the transference of the obtained knowledge.
As a result of the performed investigation, it is recommended to increase the number of interviewees in order to ensure the relevance and validity of the research. For instance, it is possible to include ethnicity and age factors, which would allow exploring perceptions of Pokémon Go in a wider range of populations. Also, the researcher may also advocate for the need to inform the population of the risks associated with the obsession of playing Pokémon Go.