By the same authors

From the same journal

From the same journal

Busy doing nothing? What do players do in idle games?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Full text download(s)



Publication details

JournalInternational journal of human-Computer studies
DateAccepted/In press - 7 Sep 2018
DateE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2018
DatePublished (current) - 1 Feb 2019
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)133-144
Early online date8/09/18
Original languageEnglish


Idle games – games where waiting for extended periods is an important dynamic – are increasing in popularity. The game Neko Atsume, a mobile game about collecting cats, is an extreme example of this genre where progress can only be achieved when the game is switched off (so-called "progress while gone"). Do such waiting games engage players? To answer this, we conducted a large survey (N=1972) to understand what players are doing when they play Neko Atsume. Players are highly “engaged” in Neko Atsume as they interact with and around the game in four distinct ways: Time spent playing, Direct sociability; Social media sociability and Checking frequency. However, these characteristics of engagement in Neko Atsume do not fit well with existing models of engagement. We propose that, in future studies, game engagement in idle games could be considered as a habit which players acquire and maintain.

Bibliographical note

© 2018 Elsevier Ltd. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

    Research areas

  • Idle game, Waiting, Engagement, Player Experience, Social

Discover related content

Find related publications, people, projects, datasets and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations