Player Research Blog

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!

13
Apr

What does it take to become an expert?

Player Research Director Graham McAllister’s monthly Gi.biz article went up today. Does it take 10,000 hours to become a master in your field?

Malcolm Gladwell’s 2008 book, Outliers, claimed that an individual must practice for at least 10,000 hours, or approximately 10 years (20 hours a week for 500 weeks) in order to reach expert status. Since then, this figure has been often quoted, however it seems that it may not be quite true.

The 10,000 hour rule was first proposed by Herbert Simon and Bill Chase in 1973, when they looked into the histories of experts in different domains. They found that in chess for example, the average time taken between someone first learning the rules of chess and then becoming a Grandmaster, was 10 years. The same is true in musical composition, the time taken between first studying music and then going on to make a great composition is also around 10 years. Similarly in other domains, studies have found that for scientists and authors, the time taken between making their first publication and their best publication, was also around 10 years. However, what Simon and Chase also found, was that time alone would not automatically lead to expert status, i.e. merely spending 10 years in your chosen discipline had little bearing on becoming an expert. Something else was needed.

Read the full article here.

31
Mar

Anti-Social Behaviour in Games: How Can Game Design Help?

A few short weeks ago Player Researcher Ben Lewis-Evans delivered a talk at the Game Developers Conference 2015 in San Francisco on Anti-Social Behaviour in Games. You can now watch the whole talk online at the link below.

http://www.gdcvault.com/play/1021799/Anti-Social-Behavior-in-Games

If you would like to know more about GDC 2015, you can also head over to Gamasutra to read Ben’s blog on his experiences at the event.

09
Mar

GI.biz Article: Whose Game is it Anyway?

Graham’s second monthly GI.biz article was posted today. In it he speaks to the importance of defining an intended audience in game design and the problematic categories that hamper current games design in doing so:

Who is your game for? This might seem like a trivial question, something which any developer should be able to answer clearly and concisely, yet it’s common for responses to use broad terms or involve a large degree of guesswork.

This seems at odds with the very essence of design. After all, design is not just about creating a product, it’s about creating a product for an intended audience. The reason why design paradigms involve a feedback loop is so key assumptions are regularly validated against a well-defined set of users, but if you haven’t defined your intended audience accurately and you’re validating against the wrong players, are you really evaluating your game’s design at all?

Read the full article at GI.biz

25
Feb

5 for 5%: Essential Playability-Focused Activities That Every Game Should Budget For

[This blog post by Player Researcher Seb Long was featured on Gamasutra]

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Question: What is your studio doing to deliver better a player experience? More than ever, the end-user’s experience of commercial game titles is tantamount to a title’s critical and commercial success. Indie teams like Hipster Whale can compete with high-budget development teams in quality and mind-share – it is their player experience that sets titles apart from their peers rather than budget, IP or marketing spend. So what tools are your team using to ensure you deliver these experiences to players? 

Recently, emphasis on telemetry-based variable-twiddling is often cited as ‘focusing on the player’, but it is becoming clear to many that analytics are an important part of the answer, but don’t offer the complete picture.

So what are you really doing to address the market’s new-found focus on experience, playability and accessibility? How have your development practices changed in order to accommodate player-centric design, focusing on usability, understandability, in delivering a polished player experience, and ensuring that your intended experience is realised by players?Continue Reading..

09
Feb

GI.biz Article: I Fight For The User

Graham’s monthly GI.biz article begins with an introduction to the field of user research:

My day job is to improve everything about the games industry. That may sound rather sensationalist for the opening sentence of a regular new column, but I believe it to be true. Well, mostly. So what job could I possibly have that has such a broad impact across the industry? After all, the games industry is made up of many different roles – designers, programmers, artists, producers, directors, studio heads, publishers, investors – is there really one discipline that could enhance the way each of these individuals work and improve the games that emerge as a result of their efforts? Yes, there is, and it’s called User Research.

Read the full article at GI.biz

15
Dec

Player Research’s Games of the Year 2014

It is the end of the year and time to reflect on another great year in games. It has been a fantastic year at Player Research, so for the last blog post of the year we thought it would be fun if we would post our (the team’s) games of the year.

Each team member’s individual top five games are presented below. But, I am sure the question is which game came out on top?

Continue Reading..

09
Dec

Player Research Internship: Player Recruitment Coordinator

In association with Wired Sussex, Player Research are inviting applications for an intern position.

For more details, please visit Wired Sussex, or continue reading for the full internship specification and application details.

Continue Reading..

08
Aug

Player Research at GDC Europe and Gamescom 2014

Player Research will be attending GDC Europe and Gamescom this year, and Ben will be giving at talk entitled Biometrics, Beyond the Hype at GDC Europe. If you’d like to talk  with us about how we’ve helped game developers all over the world achieve their player experience vision and how we can help you, drop us a line using the contact form below! We will also be in and around the UKIE stand in the Business area, so feel free to drop by and see if you can catch us!

Ben’s talk at  GDC Europe is detailed below:

Eye-tracking, skin response, heart rate monitoring, and brain wave reading. Biometrics generate impressive looking imagery, have a reputation for getting objective data on fluffy player emotions, and making you think SCIENCE! But what can developers realistically expect from biometrics? This talk aims to take developers beyond the hype.

18
Jul

Player Research at Dorothy Stringer High School

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We were pleased and excited to be invited by Geeta Smedley to come and talk yesterday to pupils at Dorothy Stringer High School about our work. It’s all, part of an initiative by STEM Sussex to raise awareness of the different careers available to children studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

We love telling people about our work so we told the kids all about Games User Research, the games industry in the UK and why those subjects are so important to us. We hope we’ve made some kids more aware of the possibilities out there after school using the STEM subjects as a base for your career.

We’d be happy to spread the word further, so if there are any other schools in the Brighton and Hove area looking for STEM career talks, feel free to get in contact!