Do primal instincts explain engagement in location-based games? A hypothesis-forming focus group study on territorial behavior

Samuli Laato, Bastian Kordyaka, Sampsa Rauti, Sonja M. Hyrynsalmi, Marianna Hoikkala, Tarja Pietarinen, Teemu D. Laajala, Mauri Paloheimo, Nobufumi Inaba, Sami Hyrynsalmi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Location-based games (LBGs), where the user’s physical location is a central part of gameplay, have become popular since the commercial success of Pokémon Go. The extant literature has focused to explain the success of LBGs by focusing on aspects of gratification and reasons to start, continue and quit playing. This study departs from the previous work by using a focus group method and hypothesizing that primal instincts developed during the evolutionary period of hunter-gatherer living—such as territorial behavior—can play a role in players’ actions, potentially enhancing engagement and motivation. The manifestation of territorial behavior in LBGs can occur via persistent need to control specific virtual locations in the game world. Initial results indicate that territorial behaviour could impact player engagement in the games. This study presents a conceptualization on how territorial instincts influence player engagement in LBGs and provides a theoretical background for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGamiFIN Conference 2020
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 4th International GamiFIN Conference
EditorsJonna Koivisto, Mila Bujić, Juho Hamari
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventInternational GamiFIN Conference -
Duration: 1 Jan 1900 → …

Publication series

NameCEUR workshop proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)1613-0073


ConferenceInternational GamiFIN Conference
Period1/01/00 → …

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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