Design Framework for Social Interaction with Location-based Games

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Location-based games invite players to have new forms of meaningful social interactions with others and provide opportunities for players to engage with their own neighbourhood’s public space. Earlier research on user requirements for such games have identified seven different activity types that have proven to initiate social interaction and capture real life exchanges for meaningful play-based social experiences. Yet, current understanding on what makes these games successful in such endeavours is still insufficient. This study furthers current understanding on the effects of location-based games for social interaction in local communities: it studies the forms of social interaction that the previously identified seven types of game activities elicit by analysing the nature and types of the exchanges they trigger. Based on this analysis, a design framework is proposed to 1) analyse existing location-based games and describe the forms of social interaction they trigger, and 2) help practitioners design new game activities that target specific forms of social interaction. This contributes to the enhancement of current understanding on the impact that these games can have in local communities, and on the way they can be better designed and used to promote social exchanges that are desired by players.