How do task interuptions and multitasking affect the player experience ? There are several reasons why a player can interupt his task. In game elements can distract him from his current goal and replace it by a new, secundary one. Real life can also interfere with the gaming experience and involve task interuptions in play.
In order to gather a better understanding of the inpact of task interuptions on the gaming experience, we have conducted a short study on task interuption. We asked players to tell us what else they did (in real life) while playing, and how it affected their experience.
Participants were asked to answer the following two questions shortly after each play session they did, through a short online form :
- Did you do anything else while playing ? If yes, what did you do? What happened in game meanwhile ?
- How did it affect your playing experience ?
We gathered data about 228 sessions, played by 184 participants. Let’s have a look at their profiles.
Participants are mainly males
Participants are mainly young adults.
|18 to 25 years old||51||31%|
|26 to 35 years old||95||57%|
|36 to 45 years old||13||8%|
|45 to 55 years old||3||2%|
|56 to 65 years old||0||0%|
|over 66 years old||0||0%|
48% of participants declared playing over 13 hours a week
Participants are mostly regular players. 9% only declared playing 4 hours per week.
|Less than one hour per week||1||1%|
|1h to 4h||14||8%|
|5 to 12h||72||43%|
|13h to 20h||59||35%|
Most participants played at home
|At home / a friend’s place||157||94%|
|In a public place (parc, restaurant, …)||0||0%|
|In transport (car, train, subway…)||4||2%|
|In a gaming area (arcade, internet cafe…)||0||0%|
|At work / School||6||4%|
About 2/3 of participants played on computer
|Smartphone / mobile||8||5%|
Fresh memories about recent gaming sessions
In order to avoid false memories and general answers, we asked the participants to refer to their last gaming session and tell us how far ago it was. We limited records to answers that were recorded the same day as the game session. Over 46% of the responses were gathered within 1 hour after the play session and 80% of the responses were gathered less than 4h after the play session.
|Less than one hours ago||56||34%|
|Less than 4 hours ago||57||34%|
|Less than 8 hours ago||26||16%|
|Over 8 hours ago (today)||8||5%|
Do players actually multitask ?
|Did not multitask||26%|
Out of the 228 game sessions for which we recorded answer, players did something else at the same time in 3/4 of the sessions.
In only 9% of these cases, participants declared it had a negative impact on their gaming experience. In 42% of the cases, they reported it had a positive effect on their gaming experience.
When players are multitasking, what do they do aside from playing ?
Out of all the activities participants did while playing, the top ten reported activities are summarized in the folowing table. “% of tasks” indicates that 10% of multitasking players are actually browsing the web while playing. “% of users” indicates that 10% of all users browse the web while playing.
|% of tasks||% of users|
|Chat / Text / Mail / facebook||10%||9%|
|Make cofee / Tea||9%||9%|
|Watch videos / TV||8%||8%|
|Talk over Skype / Teamspeak with a non player||5%||5%|
|Listen to music / Radio||5%||5%|
Why do users multitask during game sessions ? When and why is it a positive or negative experience to them ? Are there differences in user behaviors depending upon the device they play on, or the game they play ? Stay tuned for more insights on multitasking in games.
What about you, do you sometimes do something else while playing ? If so, is it a good or a bad thing, and when do you multitask ?