Some early results from the largest and longest research trial of a pervasive game so far were published last week in Pervasive 2010 conference. Hungry Yoshi is an iPhone version of the older Feeding Yoshi prototype, which was trialed for a week in three UK cities in 2006. Hungry Yoshi scaled up through Appstore, hitting 94624 unique downloads after five months.
The paper is titled Further into the Wild: Running Worldwide Trials of Mobile Systems, and it is about do:s and don’t:s of running such a massive trial, ideas like providing game benefits for providing data for research and letting players vote for gameplay fixes. What I’m really waiting for now are the findings from the quantitative data gathered.
However, the real moral of the story is that now is the time to develop the blockbuster pervasive game. If a research prototype garners 94642 players, how many can you get if you have a real development budget, combining users from several mobile platforms?
While you develop your killer app, I’ll hope that Donald McMillan, Alistair Morrison, Owain Brown, Malcolm Hall or Matthew Chalmers happens to read this post, and see some questions I’d like them to ask their data in their future papers on Hungry Yoshi:
- What are the typical use patterns? Can a player typology be constructed?
- When do players play the game, what hours of their day? Traveling or stationary, is there still a spike at lunch hour like in Mogi?
- How does players’ early investment reflect the time they spend with the game?
- How much of the playtime is spent traveling between a few regular yoshis? Or do players check for yoshis at strange places?
- Do players keep the game running all the time, or do they just peek in at certain times?
- What kind of people downloaded and played the game? Precise demographic data would be appreciated.
Feel free to post your questions to them in the comments of this post! People with data usually love to get more questions to ask.
Thank you for the tip, Elina and Jussi.