A bachelor thesis on Shadow Cities
Last fall, I supervised this bachelor thesis by Linnéa Nordlund and Alex Sjöberg Larsson. Their job was to investigate how players of a fairly hardcore pervasive game, Shadow Cities, felt about the fact that the game uses a freemium model of payment. Linnéa and Alex played the game, scrutinized forum discussions, and performed a small survey.
Their results are rather surprising. In the forum discussions, players either complain about the in-game purchases as they provide play advantages, or downplay their importance in the game. But in the (anonymous) survey, players agree that the in-game purchases provide play advantages and, at the same time, like to use them. There seems to be a difference between the public discourse around the game, and how players actually use the function and play the game.
Linnéa and Alex also made some attempts to find out which players are most positive towards in-game purchases. As they wanted a short survey, they did some shortcuts here and the player classification method they used did not fully work out. Still, they found that players that classified themselves as hard-core players were more accepting towards in-game purchases, something that again contradicts the usual perception of the hard-core player as someone who wants to win by skill alone.
I find their results intriguing and plausible, and it is also a very well written bachelor thesis. Hence, I have asked Linnéa and Alex if I can make it available here. Due to the small size of the survey it has no chance of getting accepted into an academic venue, and my hope is that there might be a scholar out there who’d like to take this work further.
And thanks to you, Alex and Linnéa! You were awesome students!