How Mobile Ethnography helped an Insights Agency to understand Gamer Behavior In China


Far from the humble beginnings of Nintendo, gaming in the 21st century has grown to be one of the most immersive experiential hobbies for consumer all over the world. From the once-a-week player right up to the enthusiast, there are genres of games to the taste almost everyone.

With Statista reporting that there will be 522.1m gamers, generating US$22,784m of revenue in China alone in 2019, it makes it the biggest gaming market in the world. Incredibly, the market's largest segment is Mobile Games with a market volume of US$21,399m.

With this major shift to mobile gaming in recent years, the way of understanding users is now mobile as well.


The Challenge


When our client approached us, they were eager to delve into the lives of gamers in China to understand their experiences with different platforms and games.

The shift to mobile, means that gamers are no longer static in front of TV or computer screens in their home, but playing on the go everywhere they go from morning to night. And it’s no longer teens that are gaming; the mass-adoption of the smartphone by every generation has brought gaming to everyone from kids to retirees.

But understanding anyone that’s on-the-go is a challenge. Add in that gamers literally play games in countless different contexts, understanding the full experience was proving difficult. Given the immersive nature of gaming, they needed a non-invasive, mobile research solution.


The Goals


  • Understand the motivations, behaviours and attitudes of Chinese gamers of multiple different genres

  • Gain an insight into where, when and how gamers used their mobiles to play games

  • Discover how different environments and contexts influence what games players chose to play over the course of a week


The Solution


As mobile has brought gaming to the home, to the bus, to the workplace (we know your doing it!), mobile ethnography is a powerful way of gaining an insight into what these gamers are experiencing.

Our client set about creating a task list that would delve into every moment of week-long gamer journeys. They decided on a scheduled task list that covered introduction selfie-videos of each respondent, how they spent their time, any life-events that altered how they played, and what games they currently played and why.

In addition to these tasks, our client utilised our mobile screen-recording capability to task respondents with taking a quick snapshot of what they were playing and explaining where they were, why they were playing and how they felt using the accompanying voiceover function. Bringing further visual insight to these recordings, respondents uploaded a quick photo of where they were currently playing on their mobile.


Over the course of the week, gamers were uploading videos, screen-recordings, and photos of covering the games they were playing and the context in which they were playing them. The final task of the week required each respondent to identify what type of gamer they saw themselves as. Our client knew that they needed to connect the gaming experience to the individual and this served as a window into how respondents identified with the games they played.

If you’re looking to learn more about how Indeemo can help understand mobile gamers, please get in touch using the form below.

Contact us

Indeemo is used by Experience Designers and User Researchers for diary studies and observational research ranging from understanding how people shop online to recording how business people book taxis at an airport to understanding out of the box experiences to observing how consumers shop for snacks at convenience stores.

Our Research and Design clients consistently remark on the richness and depth of insights that they can capture using Mobile Ethnography.

The ability to seamlessly analyse contextual video from multiple respondents on a single dashboard can significantly improve the efficiency at which researchers can analyse and synthesise this behavioural data.

If you’re interested in discussing an upcoming research or design project, please submit your details here and we will get back to you ASAP.

We’re looking forward to speaking with you.

Name *
Nature of your inquiry *

Other Case Studies


Website Usability

The process of securing employment in current times is done almost completely online and increasingly on mobile. Job seekers begin their search… Read More →

Voice Assistants

When music discovery and consumption is increasingly powered by voice assisted technologies, the old rules of engagement no longer apply… Read More →

Internet of Things

As technology becomes evermore powerful and intuitive, it is playing an increasingly large part in how we manage our homes. One area of the… Read More →

Mobile Ethnography White Paper

Learn how Mobile Ethnography can supplement your research projects and generate richer contextual insights for your brands.

indeemo white paper