Paper: Methods for Evaluating Gameplay Experience

Methods for Evaluating Gameplay Experience in a Serious Gaming Context
Lennart Nacke, Anders Drachen and Stefan Göbel [2010]

The authors of this paper make a great description of what methods are being used for measuring the user experience in digital products. From Maslow's motivational model of human needs to Fabricatore's use of the opinions of players to develop design guidelines, but the fact that there are so many different methods, is because it's quite difficult to create a framework that correctly measures the user experience regarding digital content, especially games, because there are a great number of factors that need to be taken into account, like the social context of the user or the number of times someone has used the software.

They concluded that a good user experience evaluation has to be done taking an 'inclusive' theoretical stance with focus on the game system, the player, and the context of play.

To assess the game system, regular software and traditional game testing can be used: Unit testing, stress testing, soak testing, compatibility testing, localization testing, gampelay metrics, etc.

To asses the individual player experience different kinds of testing can be used: Psychophysiological player testing (electromyography, electrodermal activity, magnetic resonance imaging, etc.), eye tracking, persona modeling, player modeling and RITE testing.

Finally, to asses the player context experience some methodologies can be used: Ethnography, cultural debugging, playability heuristics, qualitative interviews and multiplayer game metrics.

[Note: The methodologies and testing procedures are described in the paper]

These methodologies allow balancing and tuning of the game during and after game development to improve the overall experience the game can provide to its players.

Nacke, L., Drachen, A., & Göbel, S. (2010). Methods for Evaluating Gameplay Experience in a Serious Gaming Context.

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