University of Oulu

Alavesa, P., & Xu, Y. (2020). Unblurring the boundary between daily life and gameplay in location-based mobile games, visual online ethnography on Pokémon GO. Behaviour & Information Technology, 1–13.

Unblurring the boundary between daily life and gameplay in location-based mobile games, visual online ethnography on Pokémon GO

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Author: Alavesa, Paula1; Xu, Yueqiang2,3
Organizations: 1Center for Ubiquitous Computing, University of Oulu, Finland P.O Box 4500, Oulu, FI-90014, Finland
2Martti Ahtisaari Institute of Global Business and Economics, University of Oulu, Finland P.O Box 4600, FI-90014, Finland
3Nokia Networks, Oulu, Finland Kaapelitie 4, 90650 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Informa, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-09-23


Observing blending of realities, daily life and gameplay in location-based mobile games is challenging. This study aims at observing this blending by targeting a vast number of images (N = 2432), which have been taken during gameplay of a well-known game, Pokémon GO. Images were collected from social media communities of Pokémon GO players in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and analysed using visual and online ethnography. To keep the sample size manageable for analysis, the images were collected only from Nordic Pokémon GO player communities in eight cities during 2016–2018. The findings show that the blending of daily life and gameplay is observable from the shared photos especially from the augmented reality screenshots which is why in this article the context of gameplay, both outdoors and indoors, in Pokémon GO is described in more detail than in previous studies.

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Series: Behaviour & information technology
ISSN: 0144-929X
ISSN-E: 1362-3001
ISSN-L: 0144-929X
Volume: Ahead of Print
Issue: Ahead of Print
Pages: 1 - 13
DOI: 10.1080/0144929X.2020.1825810
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 222 Other engineering and technologies
113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: First author has received funding from Business Finland funded project Reboot Finland IoT Factory 33/31/2018 and PRINCE (81536), supported by Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship (318927). This research has been conducted following the ethical requirements established by Finnish advisory board on research integrity. The gathered material has been handled and informed consent from the participants was obtained in accordance with Finnish laws. Permission from the original copyright holders was obtained for publishing the images in this paper.
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Behaviour & Information Technology on 23rd of September 2020, available online: