Renshaw, Tony, Stevens, Richard and Denton, Paul (2009) Towards understanding engagement in games: an eye-tracking study. On the Horizon, 17 (4). pp. 408-420. ISSN 1074-8121

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to report research undertaken in developing improved understandings of games player interaction, with scope limited to obtaining new and unique insights into player involvement and experience within electronic gaming.

Design/methodology/approach – The research presented within this paper is designed to provide evaluators with a detailed eyetracking approach how a player interacts with a game. The research also explores a variety of techniques designed to explore user/player insights into interaction, through consideration of user satisfaction, engagement or immersion. It is postulated by the authors that from this methodology insights related to usability, improved games level learning commercial opportunities based around in-game advertising, will be better understood.

Findings – Whilst the data analysed in this limited pilot is it is perhaps too early to draw firm conclusions, it is concluded that it is technically possible to configure the Eye-Tracker and ancillary equipment to record the eye movements of game players. This has uncovered further areas for investigation centred upon skill and experience assessment, together with the important area of key object identification within games.

Practical implications – The methodology presented within this paper shows that the application of eyetracking solutions can be used to evaluate engagement in games. The findings provide interesting and innovative ways for the games designers and in-game advertisers to improve the gamers‟ experiences.

Originality/value – From an academic perspective, this research is innovative in the way it has developed a methodology for analysis of player engagement within electronic games. This methodology offers valuable insights into game design improvement and in-game advertising opportunities.

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