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]


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..

Feb Article: I Fight For The User

Graham’s monthly 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