Tux Member Presentation

Lennart Nacke:
The Science Behind Gamification and Games User Research

2017-01-24 12:30 at DGP Lab: 40 St. George St., 5th Floor


Two large research strands have shaped human-computer interaction research for games in recent years. Dr. Nacke will talk about the current state of research for both gamification and games user research. Gamification, on the one hand, is the process of transforming non-game tasks into games with the goal to increase user motivation and retention. However, as gamification has become incredibly popular in the recent past, it is time to think about the limited applicability of some concepts that have gained fame and really look at what makes people want to engage with content presented as games. Games user research (GUR), on the other hand, aims to create methods, techniques, and tools to collect data and evaluate player experience, informing the game design process to improve the resulting experience. Since games are a dynamic form of interaction, which can lead to many sensations in a short time, the goal of GUR, is to find ways to assess player experience over time and with precision, while simultaneously avoiding the interruption of gameplay. Both gamification and GUR are exciting new ways to design and study games within the space of human-computer interaction and you will take away inspirational methods and results from these research areas.


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. Lennart has worked as a gamification 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. He is currently editing a special issue of the journal Computers in Human Behavior on Gamification and the textbook on Games User Research. He is also looking for future graduate students to join the NSERC CREATE SWaGUR network at www.swagur.ca