Operationalising and evaluating sub-optimal and optimal play experiences through challenge-skill manipulation

Klarkowski, Madison, Johnson, Daniel, Wyeth, Peta, McEwan, Mitchell, Phillips, Cody, & Smith, Simon (2016) Operationalising and evaluating sub-optimal and optimal play experiences through challenge-skill manipulation. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI '16, ACM, San Jose, CA, pp. 5583-5594.

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The study examines the relationship of challenge-skill balance and the player experience through evaluation of competence, autonomy, presence, interest/enjoyment, and positive and negative affect states. To manipulate challenge-skill balance, three video game modes -- boredom (low challenge), balance (medium challenge), and overload (high challenge) -- were developed and experimentally tested (n = 45). The study showed that self-reported positive affect, autonomy, presence, and interest/enjoyment differed between the levels. The balance condition generally performed well in terms of positive player experiences, confirming the key role challenge-skill balance plays in designing for optimal play experiences. Interestingly, the study found significantly lower negative affect scores when playing the boredom condition. Greater feelings of competence were also reported for the boredom condition than the balance and overload conditions. Finally, some measures point to overload as a more enjoyable experience than boredom, suggesting possible player preference for challenge > skill imbalance over skill > challenge imbalance. Implications for design and future research are presented.

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ID Code: 95776
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Games, Video games, Challenge-Skill Balance, Player experience
DOI: 10.1145/2858036.2858563
ISBN: 9781450333627
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 ACM
Deposited On: 25 May 2016 23:11
Last Modified: 27 May 2016 00:02

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