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Effect of Network Quality on Player Departure Behavior in Online Games

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3 Author(s)
Kuan-Ta Chen ; Inst. of Inf. Sci., Acad. Sinica, Taipei ; Polly Huang ; Chin-Laung Lei

Understanding the impact of network conditions on player satisfaction, which is one of the major concerns of network game designers, is a popular research topic. Of the various ways to gauge user satisfaction, in this paper, we focus on how network quality affects a player's decision to leave a game prematurely. To answer this question, we analyze a 1,356-million-packet trace from a large commercial massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) called ShenZhou Online. We show that both network delay and network loss significantly affect a player's decision to leave a game prematurely. It is feasible to predict whether players will quit prematurely based on the network conditions they experience. The proposed model can determine the relative impact of different types of network impairment. For our traces, the degrees of player intolerance to network delay, delay jitter, client packet loss, and server packet loss are in the proportion of 1:2:4:3 approximately. The model can also be used to make system design decisions. Through simulations, we show that by prioritizing server processing according to the goodness of network conditions, employing dejitter buffers, or replacing TCP with a more lightweight transport protocol, the probability of premature departure can be significantly reduced. In this way, we demonstrate how our model of players' network experience provides feedback for the design of online games.

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 5 )