Unblurring the boundary between daily life and gameplay in location-based mobile games, visual online ethnography on Pokémon GO

Observing blending of realities, daily life and gameplay in location-based mobile games is challenging. This study aims at observing this blending by targeting a vast number of images (N = 2432), which have been taken during gameplay of a well-known game, Pokémon GO. Images were collected from social media communities of Pokémon GO players in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and analysed using visual and online ethnography. To keep the sample size manageable for analysis, the images were collected only from Nordic Pokémon GO player communities in eight cities during 2016–2018. The findings show that the blending of daily life and gameplay is observable from the shared photos especially from the augmented reality screenshots which is why in this article the context of gameplay, both outdoors and indoors, in Pokémon GO is described in more detail than in previous studies.