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Quality and Usability LabAssessment and Prediction of the QoE of Mobile Gaming

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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

A Classification of Video Games based on Game Characteristics linked to Video Coding Complexity
Citation key zadtootaghaj2018a
Author Zadtootaghaj, Saman and Schmidt, Steven and Barman, Nabajeet and Möller, Sebastian and Martini, Maria G.
Title of Book 16th Annual Workshop on Network and Systems Support for Games (NetGames)
Pages 1–6
Year 2018
ISSN 2156-8146
DOI 10.1109/NetGames.2018.8463434
Address Piscataway, NJ
Month jun
Note electronic
Publisher IEEE
How Published full
Abstract Applications used for video streaming of gaming content have seen tremendous growth over the recent years as evident with the increasing popularity of services such as Twitch.tv and YouTubeGaming. Gaming video streaming encoding needs to be performed in real-time and thus has a strict set of encoding constraints. Therefore, many traditional encoding optimization methods such as multiple-pass encoding are not suitable for live gaming video streaming applications. The video quality of streaming services is highly content dependent. While this holds true also for conventional contents, there exist many characteristics of games that do not vary much over time. Therefore, such game-specific information can be exploited to optimize the encoding process. In this paper, we present a classification of games using characteristics such as the type of camera movement, texture details, and static areas of a scene. Using a database of gaming videos from different genres and complexity, we obtain clusters corresponding to the calculated quality values (VMAF). The derived gaming characteristics are then mapped to the quality classes to obtain a decision tree based game classification. We illustrate how the classification can be used for encoding bitrate selection and quality prediction.
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