Nov 02, 2016

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: POKEMON GO

A lot has been said about this new craze, which has garnered over 30 millionplayers worldwide. Supporters argue that the game benefits your health by increasing your activity levels, while the naysayers argue that it is bad for your health as it will stop young people developing social skills.

We thought it would be really interesting to put together a study and measure people’s emotions while they played the game and see if we could come to a conclusion once and for all.

We wanted to establish answers to the following: Is Pokemon Go engaging? Is it sociable? It is good for our health?

What did we measure and why?

To find answers to these questions we gathered a group of Pokemon Go players and hooked them up to wearable sensors to measure the following data:

Galvanic Skin Response - We use GSR shimmer devices to measure the microscopic sweat levels on the skin which is essentially skin conductance. Why do we measure GSR? Our emotions lie deep in the limbic system of the brain. The changes in emotional response directly cause changes in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This results in stimulation of sweat glands, so measuring microscopic sweat levels of the skin is a direct measure of changes in ANS function and therefore changes in emotional response.

Steps taken - We measured the steps taken by each of the participants to understand whether the game can positively contribute to our health. Walking is the simplest form of exercise and if we are walking at a pace of 3ph this counts as moderate-intensity exercise. So every step counts!

Heart rate - We use MIO link heart rate sensors which track heart rate at (beats per minute) value, they are EKG accurate. Why do we measure it? Well changes in emotional response and strong emotional stimulation directly cause a release of adrenaline which in turn causes an increased heart rate.

Real-time visuals - Measuring real-time visuals allows us to gain a quicker and deeper understanding of what exactly the participants were looking at and what elements around them are contributing to their level of engagement.

Conscious survey responses - We wanted to compare the non-conscious system 1 level data with the participants’ opinions about the emotional, social and health aspects of the game. Analysing conscious survey responses alongside the non-conscious methods provides the study with deeper insights.

What did we find?

Engagement:

- Generally, Pokemon Go was found to be a very engaging game. Data shows that Pokéstops, Pokégyms and Pokémon created spikes of engagement

- However Pokemon Go is found to be very disengaging during periods of inactivity in which no Pokemon or other in-game features are being displayed

- Most reported emotions were ‘Amused’ and ‘Interested’, followed by ‘Excited’ and ‘Happy’

- No negative emotions were displayed by any of the participants

(Engagement)

Social:

- Interestingly, 100% of participants believed Pokemon Go was a very sociable game

- Data clearly shows however that when participants pathways were obstructed with other people from the public, engagement dropped. This suggests that on a non-conscious level, Pokemon GO could be an anti-social game


(Disengagement)

Health:

- Analysing the survey, we can clearly see the participants associate the positive health aspects with the game - some participants cited this as a reason for frequently playing the game

- Heart rate monitors showed that participants can reach 70% of their maximum heart rate while playing which is regarded as moderate to intensive exercise

What did we conclude?

All in all, we can evidently say that Pokemon Go has a positive effect on its consumers. Not only can the game make us feel positive emotions, it also benefits our health – meaning us Pokemon Go lovers don’t have to feel too guilty about skipping the gym!

We conducted this experiment on behalf of the Daily Mail. For more information behind this study, check out their article here.