Games User Research

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Format: Hardcover
Pub. Date: 2018-03-25
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
List Price: $56.53

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Games live and die commercially on the player experience. Games User Research is collectively the way we optimise the quality of the user experience (UX) in games, working with all aspects of a game from the mechanics and interface, visuals and art, interaction and progression, making sure every element works in concert and supports the game UX.

This means that Games User Research is essential and integral to the production of games and to shape the experience of players. Today, Games User Research stands as the primary pathway to understanding players and how to design, build, and launch games that provide the right game UX.

Until now, the knowledge in Games User Research and Game UX has been fragmented and there were no comprehensive, authoritative resources available. This book bridges the current gap of knowledge in Games User Research, building the go-to resource for everyone working with players and games or other interactive entertainment products. It is accessible to those new to Games User Research, while being deeply comprehensive and insightful for even hardened veterans of the game industry. In this book, dozens of veterans share their wisdom and best practices on how to plan user research, obtain the actionable insights from users, conduct user-centred testing, which methods to use when, how platforms influence user research practices, and much, much more.

Author Biography

Anders Drachen, Veteran Data Scientist, University of York,Lennart Nacke, Associate Professor, HCI Games Group, University of Waterloo,Pejman Mirza-Babaei, Assistant Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Dr. Anders Drachen, Ph.D. is a veteran Data Scientist, Professor at the DC Labs, University of York (UK), affiliated Associate Professor at Aalborg University (Denmark) and a Game Analytics consultant at The Pagonis Network. His multiple award-winning work in data- and game science is focused on game analytics and business intelligence. His research and professional work is carried out in collaboration with companies spanning the industry. He is one of the most published scientists worldwide on game analytics, virtual economics, user research, game data mining, and user profiling. He is a former member of the board of the IGDA SIG on Game User Research.

Dr. Lennart Nacke is the Director of the HCI Games Group and an Associate Professor for Human-Computer Interaction and Game Design at the University of Waterloo. He is researching the cognitive and emotional aspects of player experience in video games with a special focus on physiological metrics. Lennart is also working as a gamification and user experience consultant, chaired the CHI PLAY 2014 and Gamification 2013 conferences, and is currently the chair of the CHI PLAY steering committee. He has served on the steering committee of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Games User Research (GUR) Special Interest Group (SIG) in the past and loves the GUR community. He has just finished editing a special issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior on Gamification. His research group writes articles at

Dr. Pejman Mirza-Babaei is an Assistant Professor for Human-Computer Interaction and Games User Research at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He is also the User Research Director at Execution Labs, Montreal. He has been involved with the Games User Research community since 2009, where he has published more than 40 articles, co-organized workshops and courses in international conferences. He has contributed to more than 22 published commercial games, including awards winning titles such as Pewdiepie Legend of the Brofist, Crysis 2, and Weirdwood Manor among many others.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Games User Research as part of the Development Process in the Game Industry: Challenges and Best, David Tisserand
3. It's All About Process, Ian Livingston
4. GUR Post Launch, Ian Livingston
5. A GUR Maturity Model, Graham McAllister
6. Designing A Games User Research Lab From Scratch, Sebastian Long
7. GUR Methods Overview, Michael C. Medlock
8. A Framework for Player Research, Graham McAllister and Sebastian Long
9. Surveys in Games User Research, Florian Bruhlmann & Elisa D. Mekler
10. Interviewing Players, Steve Bromley
11. Observing the Player Experience, Mirweis Sangin
12. The Think Aloud Protocol, Tom Knoll
13. The Rapid Iterative Test and Evaluation Method (RITE), Michael C. Medlock
14. Heuristic Uncovered for Game User Researchers and Game Designers, Heather Desurvire and Dennis Wixon
15. Heuristic Evaluation of Playability: Examples from Social Games Research and Free-to-Play Heuristics, Janne Paavilainen
16. Introduction to Biometrics Measures for Game User Research, Lennart Nacke
17. Developing actionable biometric insights for production teams: case studies and key learnings, Pierre Chalfoun, Jonathan Dankoff
18. Reporting User Research Findings to the Development Team, Pejman Mirza-Babaei and Lennart Nacke
19. Game Analytics for Game User Research, Anders Drachen and Shawn Connor
20. Punching Above Your Weight: How small studios can leverage data for an unfair advantage, Lysiane Charest
21. Affordable and Data-Driven User Research for Indie Studios, Pejman Mirza-Babaei and Thomas Galati
22. Play as if you were home, Guillaume Louvel
23. Dissecting the Dragon: GUR for Dragon Age: Inquisition, James Berg
24. Running User Tests with Limited Resources and Experience, Julien Huguenin
25. Starting from Scratch: Pragmatic and Scalable Guidelines to Impactful Games User Research, Johan Dorell and Bjorn Berg Marklund
26. Strategies for Understanding and Researching Mobile Games in Context, Steven Schirra and Brooke White
27. Involving Players With Special Needs in Games User Research, Kathrin Gerling, Conor Linehan and Regan Mandryk
28. Gamer Motivation Profiling: Uses and Applications, Nick Yee and Nicolas Ducheneaut
29. Social Network Analysis in Games User Research, Johanna Pirker
30. A short guide to user testing for simulation sickness in Virtual Reality, Ben Lewis-Evans
31. Afterword: Flagship Areas in Games User Research

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