The use of mobile F2P games in everyday life : The experiences of gamers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mobile games have become a significant part of many people’s everyday life. 'Playing' is now accessible anytime, anywhere, in part due to the mobile technologies that host these games. Drawing on the concept of magic circle (Huizinga, 1949) this study adopts a critical approach to challenge the traditional meaning of 'play' and the theorized boundaries that games create. This research also highlights the relationship that gamers have with free-to-play (F2P) games in their everyday life and how mobile technologies allow games to be embedded in the players' daily activities and occupations. This study sought to 1) explore how mobile F2P games fit into the everyday practices of gamers and 2) to ascertain the role of mobile technologies in this process. The qualitative design was based on secondary analyses of data collected in semi‐structured interviews carried out with 15 gamers who played mobile F2P games. The analysis revealed that mobile F2P games are played in a variety of spaces and moments, such as at home, during work time and while commuting. Results also suggest that mobile technologies allowed for a variation in play spaces and moments. The impact of the pandemic is also considered as it still shapes work and leisure 'times' and 'spaces.' Mobile F2P games and the various ways in which they are embedded in gamers’ everyday life challenge the theoretical 'boundaries' of the magic circle. The results shed new light on what 'play' means to gamers as part of their everyday life activities and it also raises questions on how mobile technologies make for highly integrated use of games as part of the gamers’ daily life.