Researchers from Digital Creativity Labs and the Department of Computer Science are developing a ‘Financial Wellbeing Tracker’ app.
The app will collect user data and e-receipt transactions that will form part of a new data infrastructure for the next generation of gaming and gambling studies.
Previous research in this area has been reliant on people self-reporting, via a questionnaire, what they think they spend each week on gaming and gambling. The data gathered in these studies can be unreliable because people often cannot be accurate when self-reporting things like spending and screen time.
In this new approach, information on spending will be gathered with the consent of app users by an automated technique that anonymously records transactions by accessing transactional emails.
The app will also invite users to report on their wellbeing via regular micro surveys. Using this information, the app will provide users with an overview of connections between their spending and emotional wellbeing.
The research team aims to use data gathered from the app to investigate a variety of questions about the interconnections between wellbeing and spending in video games: For example, whether loot box and social casino spending leads to financial detriment, lower wellbeing, and gambling problems.
Researchers are currently evaluating the prototype tracker in preparation for a security review. Following this review, the app will be launched to a pilot study group before it is made more widely available.