THE BLOG

21
May

Player Research at Unite 2015 Europe

Unite Europe is coming! The event, hosted at Westergasfabriek June 24-25, boasts an impressive line up of industry expertise and offers attendees the opportunity to learn of upcoming features and improvements in Unity.

Player Research Director Graham McAllister will be in attendance and delivering a talk on Friday 25 June from 17:30 – 18:30 entitled Assessing The Gameplay Experience: A Player Perspective. A brief description of what Graham will be discussing can be found below. Head over to the Unite 2015 Europe website for full details and running order.

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18
May

The Usability of Bloodborne

[This blog post by Player Researcher Ben Lewis-Evans was featured on Gamasutra]

I work in the area of Games User Research. That is to say I work with game developers to help them achieve the game experience they are after. To do so I use my background in human factors psychology to run playtests, to carry out heuristic analyses based on usability and player experience principles, and to generally just try to help out as much as my expertise allows.

One thing that I often hear, am told, and/or read online is that the existence and popularity of “hard” games like the Souls games, and more recently Bloodborne, means my job isn’t needed. Or as it is sometimes more strongly put, that my job leads to what is “wrong” with games that aren’t like Bloodborne.

This is an understandable misunderstanding. But it is a misunderstanding. And I want to tell you why by using the example of Bloodborne (which, yes, I completed without guides, but no I didn’t get the “true” ending  - just in case you want to stamp my gamer cred card or something).

There are two major misunderstandings here. The first is that usability is about making games easy. The second is that games like Bloodborne don’t have core elements of good usability in them.Continue Reading..

11
May

One to Watch?

[This article by Player Research Director Graham McAllister was featured on GamesIndustry.biz]

Graham McAllister explores the potential gaming applications of Apple’s latest device

It’s not often a new gaming platform comes along. I don’t mean an iteration of an existing one, like a next-generation console update, but rather, a completely new way of experiencing games. The Apple Watch has been with us for just over two weeks, and although smartwatches from other manufacturers have been available for a while, none have made any real impact. But this is Apple, and they’ve been clever to position their offering differently, this is not just a functional device which makes accessing information easier, it’s also presented as a desirable fashion accessory. Such an approach will help address the perception that smartwatches are only for tech-savvy early adopters, Apple is clearly saying that’s not the case at all, they’re for everyone. But is it for gamers? Well, it depends on what you mean by gaming. Is it a device to play games on in the traditional sense? Most likely not. Could it be a way to create deeper engagement with games that users are already playing on their other devices? Almost certainly. But to understand how the Apple Watch can increase a player’s engagement with a game, we first need to explore the watch from an interaction design perspective.

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01
May

Develop Award Finalists!

We are excited and pleased to announce that we have been nominated for a Develop Award for a third time!

The Develop Awards are the European game industry’s highest accolade, an accolade that we won last year! The awards will be held right here in Brighton on the 15th of July.

Congratulations to everyone who have been nominated and we will see you there on the night!