The Quest Game-Frame: Balancing Serious Games for Investigating Privacy Decisions
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Digitalisation permeates all areas of social life. The use of digital games in research settings to analyse social phenomena is thereby no exception. However, games that can successfully achieve research ob-jectives and at the same time create an engaging experience require thoughtful balancing. When inves-tigating decision-making, for example, asking players directly about their reasoning in the game is breaking the game flow and prone to distorting influences from the game experience. This paper presents the design science (DS) process of a quest-based game-frame (QGF) oriented on the investigation of privacy decision-making. The design-empirical cycle of the QGF is outlined and applied to design two privacy decision scenarios for investigating reflection tendencies. The conducted binational experiment reflects the behaviour of 78 educators, university students and high-school students from Austria and Norway in online ordering security and fake news sharing while monitoring the game flow. Results demonstrate the potential of the QGF for unobtrusively investigating privacy decisions while maintaining high fluency of performance. Significant differences between educators and high-school students are found in time spent for reflection before making online security decisions. Additionally, Norwegian high-school students show a low awareness when deciding on real/fake news sharing.