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Mobile games: Analyzing the needs and values of the consumers

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In this paper, we examine the consumers' values, needs, and objectives related to mobile games. We use the value-focused model by Keeney (1999) and draw on a survey among 714 Finnish mobile game consumers. Using principal component analysis, we find that - in the case of mobile games - the fundamental objective constructs can be categorized into (1) satisfaction of quality expectations, (2) gaming experience, (3) ease/quickness of setup, and (4) social aspects. The means objectives are categorized into (1) audiovisual effects, (2) customer support, (3) product information, (4) product comparison, (5) trust, and (6) independence of time and place in purchasing process. Using cluster analysis, we were able to categorize the consumers into four groups: value seekers, heavy players, casual gamers, and non-players. These results can be used to guide the development and evaluation of new mobile game offerings.
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Article 4
Issue 1
Mobile Games: Analyzing the Needs and Values of the
Consumers
Esko Penttinen
Information Systems Science
Aalto University School of Economics
esko.penttinen@hse.fi
Matti Rossi
Information Systems Science
Aalto University School of Economics
matti.rossi@hse.fi
Virpi Kristiina Tuunainen
Information Systems Science
Aalto University School of Economics
virpi.tuunainen@hse.fi
Mobile games are one of the largest mobile application areas and one where users are often willing to pay for
services. Furthermore, the market for mobile games is expected to grow dramatically as most phones sold now are
capable of running games. Despite this, there is surprisingly little research concerning user expectations from mobile
games. In this exploratory study, we examine the consumers’ values, needs, and objectives related to mobile
games. Based on earlier literature on mobile services, we developed a preliminary set of issues and did an
exploratory survey of mobile game users to find the key needs and values of mobile gamers.
The results of the study are especially interesting for mobile game developers and mobile phone operators as they
shed light on the demographics and choices of mobile gamers. We argue that if mobile games are ever to be
diffused in greater extent to the market, then a deeper understanding of the values and needs of the potential mobile
game users must be obtained. This understanding can then be used to guide the development of new game
offerings.
Keywords: Mobile games, values, objectives, consumers, principal component analysis, cluster analysis
Volume 11, Issue 1, pp., April 2010
Tuure Tuunanen acted as the Senior Editor for this paper.
Mobile Games: Analyzing the Needs and Values of the
Consumers
Mobile Games: Analyzing the Needs and Values of the
Consumers
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INTRODUCTION
During the last two decades, mobile phones have diffused all over the planet and the core services provided by the
telecom operators (e.g. voice and text messaging) have become commodities. Markets for commodities are typically
efficient and quickly respond to changes in supply and demand, driving down prices and making the basis of
competition on price. Therefore, in order to remain competitive, many mobile operators have sought cost efficiencies
through economies of scale. This has led to a high level of consolidation in the mobile phone operator market. To
deviate from competition, companies usually explore ways to provide value-added services for their customers.
Operators have considered mobile games
1
as a good value-added service for a long time. According to several
market research firms (e.g. Juniper, Gartner) the Asian mobile gaming market is growing very fast and the total
number of mobile gamers is estimated at 400 million people. The value of the global mobile games market is
expected to rise from $5.4 billion in 2008 to more than $10 billion in 2013 (RCR 2008). It is notable that these
estimates are based only on OTA downloads through cellular networks.
The logic behind these bold estimates is the expansion in the smart phone markets. The shipments of smart phones
have grown rapidly during the last few years. The growth of the smart phone market creates a more fruitful basis for
the diffusion of mobile games as the games played on smart phones are more sophisticated and more interesting.
The recent introduction of Apple AppStore, together with iPhone3G, highlights the importance of games, as almost a
third of available titles are games that is over 1,700 games as of January 2009 (Rybicki 2009).
Previous research on mobile games has dealt with the new possibilities of mobility (e.g. location based games (Han,
et al. 2005) and support for combining dimensions of physical world and our social surroundings into games (Peltola
and Karsten 2006). Most mobile game research to date has dealt with technical aspects of the games (see e.g.
(Bell, et al. 2006;Fritsch, et al. 2006). In addition, there is some emerging research into the business models of the
software companies producing mobile games (Rajala, et al. 2007).
Despite the potential of mobile games for different stakeholders, the extant literature provides little empirical
research on the actual consumer values regarding mobile games (Anckar and D'Incau 2002;Barnes 2002;MGAIN
2003). Therefore, in this paper, our objective is to explore the values, needs, and objectives related to the
purchasing process of mobile games. We use the value-focused model by Keeney (1999) and draw on a survey
1
In this paper, we define mobile games as games played on mobile phones. More specifically, we concentrate on games that are downloaded
onto the mobile phone. We acknowledge that there are other mobile gaming devices, such as, Nintendo Game Boy, but we leave these games
outside the scope of our study.
CONTRIBUTION
Our study provides new insights into mobile game buying process from the perspective of customer values.
With previous research on mobile services and value-focused thinking (Keeney, 1999) as our starting points, we developed an Internet-
based survey to collect empirical data on mobile gamers’ needs and values. We uncovered four fundamental objectives for buyers of mobile
games: 1) Satisfaction of quality expectations, 2) Gaming experience, 3) Ease of setup, and 4) Social aspects of games. The means to
achieve these fundamental objectives were: 1) Audiovisual effects, 2) Shopping and Services, 3) Customer support, 4) Trust, and 5)
Trialability. These items are important for players, but their importance varies according to the types of players. We clustered the users into
four clearly identifiable groups that differ on their gaming interests and needs as well as the shopping experience expected by them.
The results of the study are especially interesting for mobile game developers and mobile phone operators as they shed light on the
demographics and choices of mobile gamers. The fundamental objectives and means to achieve them can be used to develop games that
better satisfy the varying customer needs. Furthermore, the clusters we found can be used to segment the gamers. The player segments,
which differ on their values and playing habits, can guide development of different types of games.
From the academic point of view, the results are interesting, indicating that also in the context of digital goods, the users’ needs and their
purchasing behavior varies. Methodologically, we reviewed the value focused framework of Keeney (1999) and developed an internet-
based survey instrument based on it.
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among 714 Finnish mobile game consumers. We chose Keeney’s approach for identifying consumer values in favor
of others, such as personal construct theory (Kelly 1955) and laddering (Gengler and Reynolds 1995;Peffers, et al.
2003) to get fresh insights into the values behind the process. Beginning with an initial set of 62 items, including 25
fundamental objectives and 37 means objectives related to consumer values, we reduce the number of variables by
using principal component analysis, and find four key dimensions for fundamental objectives and six key dimensions
for means objectives.
This paper explores the primary components of the values and needs of the mobile game users. The results of the
study are especially interesting for mobile game developers and mobile phone operators as they shed light on the
demographics and choices of mobile gamers. We argue that if mobile games are ever to be diffused in greater
extent to the market, then a deeper understanding of the values and needs of the potential mobile game users must
be obtained.
The paper is organized as follows. After this introduction, we present the relevant literature on consumer values and
mobile games in the second section. In the third section, we discuss the methodological approach taken in this
study. In the fourth section, we present the results of the empirical study. In the remaining sections, we analyze the
results and discuss the implications to academia and practice.
CONSUMER BEHAVIOR AND CONSUMER VALUES IN MOBILE COMMERCE CONTEXT
Consumer behavior has been described as a choice between different product and service alternatives (Ajzen and
Fishbein 1980). Various motives have been proposed to explain different consumer behaviors, and these motives
have primarily been derived from the perceived values that users/consumers derive from a product and/or its service
attributes (Koo 2009). In addition to individual, consumer decision making involves many environmental factors that
lie outside the control of the individual: social, business, cultural and economical factors all affect the consumers’
stimuli and attention (Foxall 2005). Furthermore, consumers’ choice criterion has also been found to be influenced
by prior knowledge and experience (Bettman and Park 1980).
In the mobile commerce context, several studies have examined the adoption of mobile technologies and services.
These studies have mainly relied on Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis 1989) and innovation diffusion
theory (Rogers 2003) to provide ways of explaining mobile service adoption and use (Bruner and Kumar 2005;Sia,
et al. 2004). However, in addition to willingness to use the new technology or mobile channel as such, the value
perceived by consumers has been defined to include a wide array of aspects that are related to users’ motivations to
use the mobile service (Pihlström 2007). Furthermore, the context-specific conditions under which services are used
through the mobile channel have been confirmed to be essential factors in deriving perceived value (Mallat, et al.
2009;Pihlström and Brush 2008). As Bouwman et al. (2008) maintain, we cannot understand the actual and future
use of mobile technologies and services, unless we take the subtleties and usability of services, i.e. the specific
characteristics, and users’ values of the services involved, into account. Also a study by Pihlström and Brush (2008)
shows that in a mobile service context, a multidimensional view of value is necessary.
The perceived value of a mobile product or service incorporates not only utilitarian aspects (also reflected by the
usefulness or relative advantage constructs) but also hedonic, emotional aspects of experiential use (Pihlström
2007). Earlier research has found major differences between the perceived utilitarian and the hedonic values also in
the context of digital games (Davis 1989;Raessens and Goldstein 2005), and most often, digital games are assumed
to be high on the hedonic value (Batra and Ahtola 1990;Chen 2007;Hirschman and Holbrook 1982;Hsu and Lu
2005;Voss, et al. 2003). A survey of 576 online game players showed that intention to play online games is
influenced by multi-dimensional intrinsic experiential motives of perceived enjoyment, escape and social affiliation
(Koo 2009). In another empirical study of 579 mobile service users, the most important difference between
entertainment and information service users’ post-purchase behavior was that entertainment service users’
continuous service use is primarily influenced by emotional value, in contrast to information service users’ behavior,
which is principally influenced by convenience value (Pihlström and Brush 2008). In other words, perceptions of
pleasure and enjoyment are critical to consumers’ mobile service usage behavior (Hong, et al. 2008). Moreover, the
general importance of social and identity-related influences in mobile technology and services adoption has been
stressed by a number of studies (see e.g. (Hong, et al. 2008;Pihlström 2007;Thorbjornsen, et al. 2007)).
Businesses frequently use the concept of a value proposition to characterize the combination of end-result benefits
and price to a prospective customer from purchasing a particular product. A customer will choose the competing
product, or no product, that offers the best value, meaning the best combination of benefits and price (Keeney
1999).
Three steps are distinguished to address the complexities of asking customers about their values. The steps are
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(1) develop a list of customer values,
(2) express each value in a common form, and
(3) organize the values to indicate their relationships.
Fundamental objectives are fundamental to the decision to purchase over the Internet. To a customer, the decision
about whether to purchase over the Internet can be made with only knowledge of how well the alternatives perform
in terms of the fundamental objectives. Means objectives are important because they suggest numerous
mechanisms for how companies can improve their product or delivery system for customers. Keeney (1999)
suggested that that means objectives can be distinguished from fundamental objectives by asking the “Why is that
important?” question. For each identified objective, there are two types of possible responses: (1) this objective is
one of the essential reasons for interest in the situation (fundamental objective), and (2) this objective is important
because of its implication for some other objectives (means objective).
METHODOLOGY AND EMPIRICAL STUDY
In this study, we were interested in exploring the characteristics of the Finnish mobile game consumers. What kind
of values, needs, and objectives are related to the mobile games and their purchase process for these gamers? To
find answers to these questions, we designed an Internet survey instrument, based on earlier research on Keeney’s
value based framework (e.g. (Keeney 1999;Siau, et al. 2004)), as well as studies on mobile commerce and
entertainment (e.g. (MacInnes, et al. 2002)). The survey instrument included demographic questions, propositions
on values and barriers related to mobile games (measured on LIKERT scale from 1 to 7), as well as open-ended
questions.
Instrument development
In designing the instrument, we started the process by defining the decision context, which in this case is “whether
or not to buy a mobile game”. We searched the literature for constructs to be used in the questionnaire (e.g.
(Gummerus, et al. 2004;Keeney 1999;Pihlström 2007;Pura 2005;Siau, et al. 2004) ). From those studies, we
gathered constructs related to the consumer values on mobile games. As a result of this literature review, we
formulated an initial questionnaire. This initial questionnaire was then sent out to experts for a review in order to
complete and validate the questionnaire instrument from a practitioner point of view. The group of experts included
teleoperators, mobile game developers, and a handset manufacturer. During this round of expert revision, two or
three questions were added and the phrasing of some of the questions was modified. After the expert revision, we
wanted to make sure that the questionnaire is scientifically rigorous. Therefore, we summoned a group of
researchers (two ISS professors, one ISS assistant professor and four PhD students) to test the questionnaire.
During the focus group, two or three questions were modified. The final set of 62 constructs (25 fundamental
objectives and 37 means objectives) can be found in Appendix 1.
Finally, we added introductory text to the questionnaire and created an Internet survey instrument, which was
uploaded to a mobile gaming portal website. The development and design of the instrument is reported in more
detail in (Vihinen 2007) and (Sylvander 2008).
Data collection
The survey was conducted with a questionnaire, which included a total of 96 questions (77 structured and 19 open).
The survey was administered on the Internet, on a mobile game portal of a major Finnish telecom operator. During
the three-week period in the spring of 2004 when the survey was open to visitors, we received 1,128 responses of
which 714 were usable (all questions answered).
As could be expected, the majority of the respondents were male (82%) and 25 years or under (72%) (See Table 1).
The young average age of our sample was highlighted by the fact that the phone bill is paid by the parents for as
many as 42 % of the respondents. There seems to be a clear difference between those who play mobile games and
those who play computer games: according to Entertainment Software Association (ESA 2005), as much as 43% of
those are female, while also the average age is higher at 30 years.
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Table 1: Demographics of the respondents (n= 714)
Gender
Male
82.5% (589)
Female
17.5% (125)
Age
Under 11
1.5% (11)
11-15
22.2% (159)
16-20
29.6% (211)
21-25
21.8% (156)
26-30
10.6% (76)
31-40
11.2% (80)
Over 40
2.9% (21)
Education
Elementary school / high school
53.1% (379)
Secondary school
19.7% (141)
University
19.3% (138)
College
7.8% (56)
Profession
Student
56% (400)
Employee
12.2% (87)
Clerical employee
5.3% (38)
Expert
5.2% (37)
Higher clerical employee
3.2% (23)
Executive
1.8% (13)
Entrepreneur
1.5% (11)
Other
14.7% (105)
Who pays the bill?
Personally/spouse
51% (364)
Parents
41.7% (298)
Employer
7.3% (52)
By placing the Internet survey on a game portal site of a telecom operator, we were able to make sure that enough
of the respondents had some experience with mobile games: 95% of the respondents reported having played mobile
games.
Principal component analysis
The initial set included 62 items (25 fundamental objectives and 37 means objectives) and our objective was to first
reduce the number of variables by using principal component analysis. Therefore, we conducted a principal
component analysis to each set of items (fundamental and means objectives) separately. Principal component
analysis is a widely applied method for reducing the number of variables, and generally requires large amounts of
data. Typically, the method requires at least four observations per variable used in the analysis (Malhotra and Birks
2007). In this case, this requirement is met as the total number of observations is 714.
The suitability of the data for the use of principal component analysis can be tested statistically. We ensured the
usability of factoring with Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy. This test resulted in .930 for
fundamental objectives and in .886 for means objectives. KMO values over 0.6 are generally considered suitable for
the use of principal component analysis. The Barlett’s test of sphericity gave the significance level of .000 for both
sets. Based on above, we argue that principal component analysis can be applied to the data.
The reliability scores (Cronbach’s alpha) for each of the components are presented in the following tables (Table 2
and Table 3).
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Table 2: Fundamental objectives (25 items, n = 714)
Component
No. of items
Alpha
Satisfaction of quality expectations
11
0,95
Gaming experience
6
0,80
Ease and quickness of setup
6
0,77
Social aspects
2
0,65
Table 3: Means objectives (37 items, n = 714)
Component
No. of items
Alpha
Audiovisual effects
9
0,86
Shopping and services
8
0,85
Customer support
5
0,89
Product information
6
0,81
Trust
5
0,73
Trialability
4
0,81
Cluster analysis
We conducted a cluster analysis using the identified fundamental objectives to identify different groups of mobile
game players and to be able to define the distinguishing features between them. As a basis for the analysis, we
used the results of the principal component analysis by calculating standardized principal component scores for
each respondent. As a clustering method, we chose to use non-hierarchical clustering and the K-means algorithm,
which is less sensitive to outliers and more suitable for handling larger sets of data than the hierarchical clustering
(Shmueli et al. 2007).
FINDINGS OF THE EMPIRICAL STUDY
Fundamental objectives
In the case of fundamental objectives, the initial set of items included 25 constructs (see Appendix 1), each
measured on a LIKERT 1-7 scale. We conducted a principal component analysis with varimax rotation to reduce the
number of variables to a set of easily identifiable dimensions.
We chose to select the solution where the principal components had Eigenvalues of over 1. This resulted in the use
of four components, which explained 60.14% of the variance in the sample. The components that emerged from this
analysis were all easily identifiable. The following table presents the Eigenvalues of the four components.
Table 4: Eigenvalues for fundamental objectives
Component
Total
% of variance
Cumulative %
1
9.84278658
39,37%
39,37%
2
2.34187463
9,37%
48,74%
3
1.56128987
6,25%
54,98%
4
1.28909763
5,16%
60,14%
The loadings of the solution with four components are presented in the following table.
Table 5: Rotated Factor Pattern (fundamental objectives)
Item
PC1
PC2
PC3
PC4
Satisfaction of quality expectations
Mobile game corresponds to the advertisement of the game
0,71
0,17
0,30
0,03
Mobile game is well produced
0,84
0,11
0,15
0,04
Price/quality ratio of the mobile game is good
0,80
0,12
0,21
-0,02
It is easy to play the mobile game using the mobile phone’s keypad
0,74
0,23
0,31
0,03
Mobile game corresponds to my expectations
0,75
0,14
0,28
0,07
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Quality of the mobile game is good
0,78
0,14
0,13
0,15
The playability and gaming experience of the game is adequate
0,83
0,15
0,14
0,08
Game functions well on a mobile phone
0,81
0,13
0,23
0,00
Mobile game fits to the mobile phone’s small screen
0,68
0,11
0,20
0,08
Mobile game’s functionality is good
0,75
0,18
0,20
0,03
Mobile game is meaningful
0,71
0,20
0,16
0,09
Gaming experience
Playing the mobile game requires intelligence and reflection
0,42
0,48
-0,12
0,01
Playing the mobile game requires the use of reflexes and cleverness
0,29
0,69
-0,06
0,12
Objective in the mobile game is getting a high score
0,01
0,77
0,17
0,09
High scores can be compared in the hall of fame
-0,03
0,75
0,22
0,07
Gamer can reach the next level only after completing the previous level
0,21
0,64
0,17
0,02
Length of the mobile game depends on the gamer’s own skills
0,28
0,66
0,11
0,05
Playing the mobile game requires intelligence and reflection
0,42
0,48
-0,12
0,01
Playing the mobile game requires the use of reflexes and cleverness
0,29
0,69
-0,06
0,12
Objective in the mobile game is getting a high score
0,01
0,77
0,17
0,09
High scores can be compared in the hall of fame
-0,03
0,75
0,22
0,07
Gamer can reach the next level only after completing the previous level
0,21
0,64
0,17
0,02
Length of the mobile game depends on the gamer’s own skills
0,28
0,66
0,11
0,05
Ease and quickness of setup
Mobile game seems interesting
0,35
-0,10
0,35
0,22
It is easy to choose a mobile game
0,07
0,22
0,56
0,25
Mobile game is inexpensive
0,40
0,07
0,42
0,01
It is easy to order the mobile game
0,39
0,15
0,70
-0,03
Mobile game is quickly delivered
0,27
0,11
0,72
0,10
It is easy to install the mobile game
0,36
0,14
0,75
-0,02
Social aspects
Friends have recommended the mobile game
0,02
0,16
0,11
0,82
Mobile game has received good reviews (e.g. in game magazines or
web sites)
0,14
0,09
0,08
0,83
The fundamental objectives that were loaded into the first principal component, Satisfaction of quality expectations,
were those that are related to high quality and good price/quality ratio of the product. The results indicate that
consumers evaluate the quality of a game based on how well it responds to their expectations, and how well it
functions on a mobile phone. This is in line with Juran (1989), who defines the quality of a good based on its
suitability for the purpose of use.
The second principal component, Gaming experience, is interesting, as no comparable category can be found in
earlier studies based on Keeney’s (1999) framework. Nonetheless, in other studies, for instance those based on
Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Davis 1989), similar category has been identified (see e.g (Hsu and Lu
2004)). These studies have shown that gaming experience or the flow theory and particularly the GameFlow model
(Sweetsner and Wyeth 2005) can be used to explain the interest of consumers to play Internet games.
The third component, Ease and quickness of setup, includes the fundamental objectives related to ease and
quickness of the ordering and delivery processes. Similar results have been reported for studies looking into the
benefits of Internet-based electronic commerce as compared to traditional brick-and-mortar commerce (e.g.
(Torkzadeh and Dhillon 2002)).
Just like the second principal component, also the fourth one, Social aspects, is new when compared to earlier
studies based on Keeney’s (1999) work. However, similar factors have been reported to be significant in other types
of studies. For example, using a TAM model, Kleijnen et al. (2004) recognized the importance of opinions of friends
in the context of attitudes towards and willingness to use mobile financial services.
Means objectives
In the case of means objectives, the initial set of items included 37 constructs (see Appendix 1), each measured on
a LIKERT 1-7 scale. As with the fundamental objectives, we conducted a principal component analysis with varimax
rotation to reduce the number of variables to a set of easily identifiable dimensions.
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We chose to select the solution where the principal components had Eigenvalues of over 1. This resulted in the use
of six components, which explained 57.87% of the variance in the sample. The components that emerged from this
analysis were all easily identifiable. The following table presents the Eigenvalues of the six components.
Table 6: Eigenvalues for means objectives
Component
Total
% of variance
Cumulative %
1
10.4730631
28,31%
28,31%
2
3.7564234
10,15%
38,46%
3
2.3371861
6,32%
44,77%
4
1.8470949
4,99%
49,77%
5
1.6129946
4,36%
54,13%
6
1.3851147
3,74%
57,87%
The loadings of the solution with six components are presented in the following table.
Table 7: Rotated Factor Pattern (means objectives)
Item
PC1
PC2
PC3
PC4
PC5
PC6
Audiovisual effects
Mobile game uses a lot of colors
0,74
0,20
0,10
0,05
0,15
0,02
Mobile game is three-dimensional
0,82
0,05
0,09
-0,09
0,19
0,10
Mobile game has good graphics
0,75
0,25
0,06
0,14
0,05
0,10
Mobile game uses a lot of sounds
0,84
0,04
0,04
0,06
0,14
0,07
Mobile game includes good music
0,80
0,05
0,13
0,07
0,13
0,05
Playing the mobile game requires no instructions
0,44
0,11
0,19
-0,03
0,29
0,00
Mobile game has a multi-player mode
0,39
0,09
0,22
0,07
0,12
0,14
A computer/game console version of the mobile game is
available
0,42
-0,19
0,14
-0,09
0,42
0,32
Game can be ordered through a wap-menu
0,37
0,26
0,13
-0,08
0,35
0,28
Shopping and Services
The publisher of the mobile game is reliable
0,10
0,63
0,17
0,21
0,35
-0,04
Game can be suspended and continued later
0,36
0,54
0,16
0,23
-0,12
0,08
Ordering instructions are easy to find
0,14
0,59
0,24
0,19
0,15
0,14
Mobile game functions in a faultless manner
0,03
0,75
0,12
0,32
-0,04
0,07
The ordering process of the mobile game is reliable
0,07
0,76
0,20
0,25
0,05
0,08
Game can be ordered using text-messaging
0,32
0,42
0,16
-0,05
0,28
0,29
A mistakenly ordered game can be returned.
0,21
0,55
0,20
0,06
0,10
0,29
Mobile game can be paid on the mobile phone bill
0,12
0,59
0,07
-0,01
0,24
0,24
Customer Support
Customer support services are of good quality
0,15
0,14
0,81
0,12
0,11
0,11
Customer support services are inexpensive
0,10
0,18
0,82
0,12
0,04
0,05
Customer support services are easily available
0,14
0,20
0,87
0,11
0,05
0,10
Customer support services are available through Internet
0,08
0,25
0,73
0,21
0,07
0,07
Customer support services are available through phone
0,28
0,08
0,69
-0,02
0,17
0,20
Product Information
Information about the mobile game is available before purchase
-0,05
0,21
0,01
0,71
-0,03
0,12
Advertisement of mobile game is explicit
0,26
-0,01
0,09
0,47
0,25
0,06
Information about the mobile game is quickly available
-0,02
0,14
0,17
0,74
0,19
0,13
Information about the mobile game is available through multiple
sources
0,08
0,07
0,11
0,70
0,20
0,16
Mobile game functions reliably in the customer’s specific phone
-0,01
0,42
0,03
0,60
-0,13
0,15
Information about the mobile game is reliable
0,00
0,28
0,19
0,64
0,02
0,25
Trust
Mobile game can be paid using e-banking
0,06
0,24
0,09
0,09
0,44
0,15
The carrier of the mobile game is well-known
0,18
0,28
0,17
0,08
0,76
-0,04
The developer of the mobile game is a well-known company
0,26
0,23
0,13
0,08
0,76
-0,04
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Mobile game is a classic
0,17
-0,15
0,01
0,10
0,61
0,18
Mobile game is the best in its class
0,24
0,01
-0,07
0,21
0,44
0,24
Trialability
Mobile game can be tested before purchase (demo-versions)
0,07
0,21
0,10
0,16
0,09
0,75
Mobile game can be compared with other games before
purchasing
0,13
0,06
0,17
0,26
0,16
0,72
One can familiarize oneself with the mobile game before
purchase
0,05
0,27
0,13
0,29
0,08
0,73
Getting to know the mobile game is fun
0,26
0,19
0,09
0,32
0,08
0,50
The means objectives that were loaded into the first principal component, Audiovisual effects, were those related to
the graphics and sound attributes of the mobile games. The results indicate that certain flamboyance and pleasing
sound effects are of importance to the consumers of mobile games. These features are, however, still somewhat
difficult to be improved in the case of mobile games because of the limitations of current mobile devices.
The second component includes items related to shopping experience and additional services. Therefore, we named
the component as Shopping and services. The items in the component recognize the significance of the objectives
related to the mobility of the purchasing process, enabling the consumers to purchase the game with the mobile
device alone, that is, without for instance a computer for downloading the game or a credit card for paying for it. The
mobility of the process also responds to the fundamental objectives of ease of use and effectiveness of the game.
Five objectives related to the availability and speed of customer support services loaded to the third principal
component, which we named Customer support. Similar results have been obtained in earlier studies (e.g. Siau, et
al. 2004).
The fourth component was named Product information as it contains means objectives related to quick and reliable
product information. This component is rather intuitive and has been found in most studies based on Keeney’s
(1999) framework.
Similarly, Trust towards different stakeholders, as in our fifth component, has been identified to be of great
importance in a number of earlier studies (e.g. Siau, et al. 2004;Torkzadeh and Dhillon 2002).
All the means objectives related to the possibilities to compare the game with others as well as to try to game out
before purchasing, were loaded into the sixth component, Trialability. The objectives related to the possibilities to
compare similar products and services have also been identified in other studies related to mobile commerce (e.g.
Siau, et al. 2004).
Cluster analysis
In addition to the method being used, the number of clusters to be used has an impact on the results of the cluster
analysis (Malhotra and Birks 2007). To decide on the number of desired clusters, we looked at how the relative
number of responses varies by changing the number of clusters. The purpose of this process was to find the optimal
number, which generates groups with acceptable number of observations. Experimenting with four to six clusters,
the prerequisite of sufficient number of observations was satisfied with four clusters.
We performed the cluster analysis on the basis of the fundamental objectives. The following table presents the
cluster means for each of the four principal components of fundamental objectives.
Table 8: Cluster means of principal fundamental objectives
Demanding
Customers
Game
Enthusiasts
Demanding
Gamers
Casual Gamers
Satisfaction of quality expectations
0,404
0,072
0,518
-2,190
Gaming experience
-0,972
0,506
0,713
-0,273
Ease and quickness of setup
0,058
0,424
-0,876
-0,795
Social aspects
-0,244
0,487
-1,165
0,115
Looking at the average playing times for the four identified clusters we can see that groups 2 (Game Enthusiasts)
and 3 (Demanding Customers) play more mobile games on average more than the other groups. When looking at
the average weekly playing times for all types of digital games, the differences are smaller (see Table 9).
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Table 9: Average weekly playing times by clusters
n
mobile games: average
weekly playing time
(mins)
all games: average
weekly playing time
(mins)
1
Demanding Customers
219 (31%)
71
486
2
Game Enthusiasts
324 (45%)
111
570
3
Demanding Gamers
97 (14%)
128
492
4
Casual Gamers
74 (10%)
76
420
Total
714
98
518
To understand these for groups as buyers and players of mobile games, we looked at the means for both
fundamental and means components for these four groups.
Table 10: Means of principal components by clusters
Components based on Means objectives
Demanding
Customers
Game
Enthusiasts
Demanding
Gamers
Casual
Gamers
Audiovisual effects
3,93
5,17
4,47
3,89
Shopping and Services
5,83
6,20
5,70
3,98
Customer support
5,08
5,67
5,28
4,12
Product information
5,33
5,70
4,85
3,95
Trust
4,03
4,99
3,90
3,77
Trialability
4,90
5,52
4,70
3,76
Components based on Fundamental
objectives
Demanding
Customers
Game
Enthusiasts
Demanding
Gamers
Casual
Gamers
Satisfaction of quality expectations
6,21
6,31
6,33
3,86
Gaming experience
4,01
5,54
5,53
3,91
Ease and quickness of setup
5,62
6,06
5,03
3,98
Social aspects
4,06
5,36
3,01
4,22
The Demanding Customers and the Demanding Gamers share a fairly similar profile. The difference seems to be
that the Demanding Customers are more interested in the total customer experience and service, where as the
Demanding Gamers place more emphasis on the actual playing.
For the Game Enthusiasts, the biggest group (45%) in our sample, value almost each and every aspect of both
buying a mobile game, as well as playing it. Of all the groups, these gamers place the highest importance on
audiovisual effects of mobile games.
The Casual Gamers form the smallest group (10%) in our sample, which is not surprising considering the fact that
the survey was administered on a mobile game portal on the Internet. None of the components received high values
from this group, indicating their general indifference towards mobile gaming. Of the components based on
Fundamental objectives, the customer support is most valued by this group. Of the Components based on Means
objectives, the most important for these gamers are the social aspects of gaming.
DISCUSSION
In this paper we used the value-focused model (Keeney 1999) and examined the objectives of mobile gamers when
choosing games. However, it was discovered that the original model is not sufficient on its own to meet the main
objective of the study, as it does not provide any information about the consumers and their demographics.
Therefore, a principal component analysis followed by a cluster analysis was utilized, as well. We modified Keeney’s
method by replacing the group interviews with an internet-based survey that was considered to be the best
alternative to reach and study mobile game consumers.
Using principal component analysis both for the fundamental and means objectives we found four fundamental
objectives for games:
1) Satisfaction of quality expectations,
2) Gaming experience,
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3) Ease and quickness of setup, and
4) Social aspects.
The means to achieve these fundamental objectives were:
1) Audiovisual effects,
2) Shopping and Services,
3) Customer Support,
4) Product Information,
5) Trust, and
6) Trialability.
These items are important for players, but their importance varies according to the types of players. We could cluster
the users into four clearly identifiable groups that differ on their gaming needs and expected shopping experience.
The first group, which we call Demanding Customers, place emphasis on total customer experience in the whole
process from finding product information to buying, ease of setup and satisfaction with the overall experience. The
second group, Game Enthusiasts, also values the overall experience, but they also expect to be able to try the game
in advance and want its ambience and effects to be best possible. Furthermore, they value the social aspects of
gaming. Demanding Gamers expect things to work well in the buying process, but they are mostly concerned about
the quality and playability of the games. The final group, Casual Gamers, value customer support and social aspects
of gaming, but are less worried about audiovisual effects or trialability of the games.
These results add to the previous research on mobile gaming (Anckar and D'Incau 2002;Barnes 2002;Pura
2005;Sheng, et al. 2005;Siau, et al. 2004) that has been based mainly on TAM and its variants (e.g. Pihlström
2007;Scornavacca, et al. 2006). We argue that our approach based on value-focused thinking outperforms earlier
models and frameworks in explaining consumer values and the choice behavior of buyers in the context of mobile
games. The identification of fundamental and means objectives provides a fresh insight into why and how players
choose games. We did not make a distinction between hedonic and utilitarian values, which has been noted
elsewhere (Pihlström and Brush 2008). Many of our identified objectives can be seen as utilitarian (e.g. ease of
setup, customer support), but hedonic values are visible as well (audiovisual effects, gaming experience). Trust can
be seen as similar objective as commitment in previous research (Pura 2005). Social value of mobile services has
been identified before (Pura 2005), but the importance of social aspects of games especially for casual gamers is an
interesting new insight here.
Customers perceive the value of products and services differently based on their personal values, needs and
preferences (Ravald and Grönroos 1996). The identification of recognizable clusters mobile game of players aids in
understanding the differences between different types of players with markedly different game selection and buying
patterns. Our clustering shows that Game Enthusiasts, who spend a lot of time playing games on all kinds of
platforms, value game offerings very differently from Casual Gamers. We argue that this indicates that new entrants
in the mobile game market have possibilities to compete if they keep their quality high and put efforts into improving
the ease of shopping and ease of setup.
CONCLUSIONS
In this paper, we set out to explore the customer values, needs, and objectives related to the purchasing process of
mobile games. Based on the analysis of existing theories, Keeney’s (1999) value-focused thinking turned out to be
the most suitable theoretical lens to identify the needs of mobile game consumers in general. We used it to identify
fundamental and means objectives of mobile gamers by performing a survey of players in a mobile gaming portal.
The results are interesting for practitioners and researchers. They point out that mobile gamers are a heterogeneous
group and they seek different experiences from games and value different features of games and game shopping.
This should be taken into account when designing and marketing new mobile games. Previous research on game
design has discussed the role of players in game design (Ermi and Mäyrä 2007). Our study deepens this discussion
by identifying values and intentions of players, which can be used as contextual guides for designing games. For
example, demanding gamers value audiovisually stunning games and place requirements for both mobile devices
and the games developed. Casual gamers are more interested in being able to play socially and perhaps they are a
little less demanding about the console like game experience. Demanding gamers are willing to pay for games that
they have tried and found to be their liking, whereas casual gamers probably want games that are so cheap and
small that they do not need to think too much about the purchase decision.
This study is exploratory in nature and thus we refrain from making strong conclusions on the findings. The main
limitations of this study come from the sample that is taken from a mobile gaming site, which on one hand has a
population that contains high proportion of game enthusiasts and by definition most site users are mobile gamers.
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The relative newness of the phenomenon dictates this, as if we drew a sample from general population, most
responders would not have anything to say about mobile games.
Much more research is needed to reveal the needs and values of mobile gamers, but we believe that this is an
important first step, as the needs of different customer groups are different to a degree that designers have to target
their gamers for different gamer groups. In the future it would be interesting to study the differences in values of
especially game enthusiasts and casual gamers and what are the key design dimensions for each group.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank Janne Vihinen and Samu Sylvander for data collection for the survey.
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APPENDIX 1: CONSTRUCTS USED IN THE STUDY (62 ITEMS)
Fundamental objectives (25):
Mobile game seems interesting
It is easy to choose a mobile game
Friends have recommended the mobile game
Mobile game has received good reviews (e.g. in game magazines or web sites)
Mobile game is inexpensive
It is easy to order the mobile game
Mobile game is quickly delivered
It is easy to install the mobile game
Mobile game corresponds to the advertisement of the game
Mobile game is well produced
Price/quality ratio of the mobile game is good
It is easy to play the mobile game using the mobile phone’s keypad
Mobile game corresponds to my expectations
Quality of the mobile game is good
The playability and gaming experience of the game is adequate
Game functions well on a mobile phone
Mobile game fits to the mobile phone’s small screen
Mobile game’s functionality is good
Mobile game is meaningful
Playing the mobile game requires intelligence and reflection
Playing the mobile game requires the use of reflexes and cleverness
Objective in the mobile game is getting a high score
High scores can be compared in the hall of fame
Gamer can reach the next level only after completing the previous level
Length of the mobile game depends on the gamer’s own skills
Means objectives (37)
Information about the mobile game is available before purchase
Advertisement of mobile game is explicit
Information about the mobile game is quickly available
Information about the mobile game is available through multiple sources
Mobile game can be tested before purchase (demo-versions)
Mobile game can be compared with other games before purchasing
One can familiarize oneself with the mobile game before purchase
Getting to know the mobile game is fun
Information about the mobile game is reliable
A computer/game console version of the mobile game is available
Mobile game is a classic
Mobile game is the best in its class
Ordering instructions are easy to find
Game can be ordered through a wap-menu
Game can be ordered using text-messaging
A mistakenly ordered game can be returned.
Mobile game can be paid on the mobile phone bill
Mobile game can be paid using e-banking
The carrier of the mobile game is well-known
The developer of the mobile game is a well-known company
The publisher of the mobile game is reliable
Mobile game uses a lot of colors
Mobile game is three-dimensional
Mobile game has good graphics
Mobile game uses a lot of sounds
Mobile game includes good music
Game can be suspended and continued later
Playing the mobile game requires no instructions
Mobile game has a multi-player mode
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Customer support services are of good quality
Customer support services are inexpensive
Customer support services are easily available
Customer support services are available through Internet
Customer support services are available through phone
Mobile game functions reliably in the customer’s specific phone
The ordering process of the mobile game is reliable
Mobile game functions in a faultless manner
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Esko Penttinen is an assistant professor in information systems science at the Aalto University School of
Economics. He holds a Ph.D. in information systems science and a M.Sc. in economics from the Helsinki School of
Economics, as well as the diploma of the Dijon Business School, France. Esko has published in Industrial Marketing
Management, as well as in several international conference proceedings and book chapters. His research interests
include, electronic financial systems, bundling of products and services, and the transition to the service focus,
especially in the manufacturing industry. Currently, he is conducting research on the fundamental organizational
changes in business relations and product offerings initiated by new technologies.
Matti Rossi is a professor of information systems at Aalto University School of Economics. He has worked as
research fellow at Erasmus University Rotterdam, visiting assistant professor at Georgia State University, Atlanta
and visiting researcher at Claremont Graduate University. He received his Ph.D. degree in Business Administration
from the University of Jyväskylä in 1998. He has been the principal investigator in several major research projects
funded by the technological development center of Finland and Academy of Finland.
His research papers have appeared in journals such as Journal of AIS, Information and Management, IEEE
Software and Information Systems, and over thirty of them have appeared in conferences such as ICIS, HICSS and
CAiSE.
Virpi Kristiina Tuunainen is professor of information systems science (Information and Service Management) at
the Department of Business Technology of Aalto University School of Economics, and director of Aalto University
Service Factory. Her research focuses on electronic and mobile business, service industry, and economics of IS.
She has conducted research in these areas both in Finland as well as abroad (Hong Kong, USA, the Netherlands,
New Zealand and Denmark). She has participated in a number of research projects, co-operating both with
academic as well as business partners. She has published articles in journals such as MIS Quarterly,
Communications of the ACM, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of Strategic Information
Systems, Information & Management and Information Society.
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p class="ber-body"> The mobile application industry has more actions and services in recent years due to consumer demand. The purpose of this study is to explain the relationships among perceived value, satisfaction, and customer loyalty in the paid mobile application industry. Moreover, t his study develop s and test s a conceptual model that offer a value perspective in understanding customer loyalty toward paid mobile applications. To achieve this aim, perceived value and customer satisfaction must be measured and “switching costs” identified. This study also takes a value component perspective from Bernardo, Marimon and del Mar Alonso-Almeida (2012) to confirm how the two types of switching costs (monetary vs. nonmonetary switching costs) moderate the link in perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty in the instance of a paid entertainment mobile application. The results from an online survey indicate that the switching costs had a moderating effect on the relationship between perceived value and loyalty, and the satisfaction and loyalty of using paid mobile applications. With respect to the findings, t he moderating effect of switching cost play a critical role in determining customer loyalty of paid mobile applications . It also revealed that nonmonetary switching costs has more importance than monetary switching costs in engendering loyalty , since monetary contains price in the download paid mobile applications, which provides negative outcomes among the relationship of perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty. In the conclusion, the implications of these findings are discussed. </p
... As such, they tend to find support in the literature on heuristic evaluation of computer games [45] and mobile games. Moreover, the items are supported by the recent study of Penttinen et al. [44], who also have a construct for mobile game experience within the instrument that they develop. @BULLET Aesthetic appeal. ...
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