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Evaluation of Multiplayer Modes in Mobile Apps

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Smartphones have become increasingly common over the past few years, and mobile games continue to be the most common type of application (Apple, Inc., 2013). For many people, the social

Smartphones have become increasingly common over the past few years, and mobile games continue to be the most common type of application (Apple, Inc., 2013). For many people, the social aspect of gaming is very important, and thus most mobile games include support for playing with multiple players. However, there is a lack of common knowledge about which implementation of this functionality is most favorable from a development standpoint. In this study, we evaluate three different types of multiplayer gameplay (pass-and-play, Bluetooth, and GameCenter) via development cost and user interviews. We find that pass-and-play, the most easily-implemented mode, is not favored by players due to its inconvenience. We also find that GameCenter is not as well favored as expected due to latency of GameCenter's servers, and that Bluetooth multiplayer is the most well favored for social play due to its similarity to real-life play. Despite there being a large overhead in developing and testing Bluetooth and GameCenter multiplayer due to Apple's development process, this is irrelevant since professional developers must enroll in this process anyway. Therefore, the most effective multiplayer mode to develop is mostly determined by whether Internet play is desirable: Bluetooth if not, GameCenter if so. Future studies involving more complete development work and more types of multiplayer modes could yield more promising results.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12