Game Transfer Phenomena in the Augmented Reality Game Ingress

Cynthia Sifonis


Oritz de Gotari & Griffiths (2014) demonstrated that extended game play can result in automatic thoughts and involuntary behaviors associated with the game. This is known as Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP) and is a common video gaming phenomenon. A neglected area of videogame research is that of augmented reality (AR) gaming in which players play in the real world using smartphones. In AR games, the game world is represented as an overlay in the real world. Whereas AR has been examined for its potential for education, little research has examined potential positive or negative effects of playing AR games. The current research examined the degree to which the factors affecting GTP in AR games are similar to that affecting GTP in video games. 867 players of the augmented reality game Ingress responded to a survey examining the degree to which they experienced the subtypes of GTP. AR gamers exhibited all types of GTP to some extent. Unlike traditional video games in which altered auditory perceptions was the most common type of GTP, the most common type of augmented reality GTP was automatic thought processes. Female Ingress players were significantly more likely to experience GTP than males. 18% of players experienced reverse GTP in which real world actions were used to interact with the game. Future research should examine the causes of increased GTP in females and the mechanisms underlying reverse GTP across multiple types of AR games.