In games we trust

Smart phone users are worried less about the risks of using apps that are just for fun, but less trusting of utilities according to a study by researchers in China and Korea published in the International Journal of Networking and Virtual Organisation.

Jun Yong Xiang and Lin Bo Jing of the Chinese Academy of Social Science, in Beijing, working with Hyun Soo Lee of Kyung Hee Cyber University and Il Young Choi of Kyung Hee University, in Seoul, have examined the use of hedonistic and utilitarian smart phone apps to find out how these two classes of apps are perceived and how that perception affects the way we use them. Originally, smart phone applications were generally productivity based: email, calendar, contact databases, corporate data and banking, but as the market expanded, more and more gaming and entertainment apps entered the market and billions instances of such apps have been downloaded as public demand for purely hedonistic apps continues to rise. Some apps lie in both camps, fitness trackers and the like.

“With the increasingly high penetration rate of smart phone applications, people are anxious about the risks presented when engaging in online activities or transactions. These risks include financial, product performance, social, psychological, physical, or time risks,” the team reports. “The distant and impersonal nature of the online environment and the implicit uncertainty of using a global open infrastructure for transactions can bring about two specific types of risk, namely, security/privacy risk and financial risk,” they add.

The team surveyed 615 students (394 respondents were male and 221 female). They were all young (under 30 years old) and used apps “anytime, anywhere” with a high usage frequency. The team suggests their findings will be relevant to mobile game developers, IT departments at financial services companies and government IT.

Xiang, J.Y., Jing, L.B., Lee, H.S. And Choi, I.Y. (2015) ‘A Comparative Analysis On The Effects Of Perceived Enjoyment And Perceived Risk On Hedonic/utilitarian Smartphone Applications’, Int. J. Networking And Virtual Organisations, Vol. 15, Nos. 2/3, pp.120–135.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.