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Subjective assessment and instrumental prediction of mobile online gaming on the basis of perceptual dimensions

Motivation

The assessment of the perceived quality of the user (Quality of Experience) of pure audio and video material differs in many ways from the quality of computer games. The later possess a variety of factors due to their interactive nature. Not only factors of complex and innovative game systems have an impact on the QoE, but also the players themselves. A quality judgment, that results by comparing the expected and perceived composition of an entity, depends highly on the preferences, expectations and abilities of the player.

In this still young area of research standard methods for determining the QoE are not directly applicable. This is apparent since in a task oriented human-computer interaction the goal should be achieved with minimal effort. However in a game  the player exerts an effort in order to influence the outcome and thereby feels emotionally attached. Thus new concepts such as immersion and flow, a state of happiness while being in an equilibrium between competence and challenge, appear.

An analysis of the gaming market shows, that the proportion of mobile games has risen sharply in recent years. Mobile games are special in a sense that mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets were originally not designed for games and are therefore not optimally adapted to them. This also applies to the new concept of cloud gaming, where the entire game is executed on a server and only the video and audio material is transferred to the end user.

 

Aim of the project

The aim of this research project is to develop methods to assess the QoE of mobile games. In addition, based on a database containing subjective quality judgments, a model similar to the well known E-model should be constructed to predict the QoE. The following concrete steps are planned for this purpose:

  • Set up and modification of a testbed for conducting experiments including a cloud gaming system for mobile games
  • Development of a classification of games to choose representative games and identify system and user factors
  • Building a questionnaire covering a large space of relevant quality dimensions
  • Identification of quality-relevant perceptual dimensions and analysis of their impact on the overall quality
  • Analyzing the performance of current objective metrics which were proposed for different contents and services in mobile gaming
  • Building a QoE model based on game, system and network characteristics as well as user and context factors
Time Frame: 
01/2016 - 06/2019
T-labs Team Members:
Steven Schmidt
Funding by:
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Project Number:
MO 1038/21-1

List of Publications

Investigating the Relationship of Mental Immersion and Physiological Measures during Cloud Gaming
Citation key schmidt2020b
Author Schmidt, Steven and Uhrig, Stefan and Reuschel, Domenic
Title of Book 2020 Twelfth International Conference on Quality of Multimedia Experience (QoMEX)
Pages 1–6
Year 2020
ISBN 978-1-7281-5965-2
DOI 10.1109/QoMEX48832.2020.9123133
Location Athlone, Ireland
Month may
Publisher IEEE
Series QoMEX ’20
How Published Fullpaper
Abstract The ultimate goal of designing game applications is to evoke a state of mental immersion in human users. Recently, advancing and very promising cloud gaming services catch high interest of the research community and industry. Cloud gaming services reduce computational costs of a client by outsourcing the game logic and rendering to a remote server. Consequently, the degree to which a game runs smoothly and enables uninterrupted interaction depends on impairments of the network connection between client and server. Furthermore, the visibility of such impairments may be constrained by properties of the visual display at the client-side. The present paper investigates the impact of common network impairments (bit rate, delay, packet loss) and screen size (small, medium, large) on mental immersion. In addition to traditional subjective assessment using the Immersive Experience Questionnaire (IEQ), also less intrusive, continuous physiological methods are employed (electrocardiography, ECG; electro-dermal activity, EDA). Participants engaged in playing an action platform computer game under different combinations of network impairments and screen sizes. Results revealed a small main effect of screen size on gaming Quality of Experience and real-world dissociation ratings between the small and medium screen size. Effects of network impairments on all IEQ scales were significant and also manifested as increased heart rate variability for packet loss. Besides, positive correlations were found between IEQ scales and heart rate variability. These findings suggest that network impairments influencing gameplay interaction might be of higher importance for immersive experience than varying screen size. Heart rate variability shows promise as a useful ECG measure in future studies on gaming immersion.
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