Many mobile games implement paywalls, a monetization strategy whereby players are periodically forced to stop playing the game for a short period of time unless payments are made. While potentially effective at generating revenue, our survey results of over 50 people found that paywalls can frustrate players, reducing player retention and overall game ratings. As an alternative to the classic paywall, we propose an exerwall where players have the additional option of exercising to continue playing. The goal is to encourage physical activity, which is often reduced by playing games, while mitigating player frustration with paywalls. We designed and developed a mobile game called Laser Planets to evaluate the viability of exerwalls, incorporating walking as an alternative to waiting to continue play. Our week-long evaluation with over 20 players shows that exerwalls can be successful at both reducing frustration and increasing physical activity, and could potentially be used to integrate exercising into games that currently use paywalls.
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Gallo, A., Baumann, P., Agu, E., & Claypool, M. (2016). Exerwalls - an exercise alternative to paywalls in mobile games. Proceedings of the International Academic Conference on Meaningful Play. https://web.cs.wpi.edu/~claypool/papers/exerwall/paper.pdf
*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author