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Game or Watch

2021-04-16

We're excited to announce new cutting-edge research published by the journal IEEE Transactions on Games by our own Joshua Juvrud and Magnus Johannson, along with Gabriel Ansgariusson and Patrik Selleby! This study measures what happens in the mind when participants watch and play video games.

Image of a human eye in closeup

Video games are unique in that they ask players to interact with what is happening on the screen. But we also see that a lot of people watch others play games, such as on Youtube and Twitch. In a recent study at the Games & Society Lab, we wanted to know how aroused and engaged people are when playing a game compared to when watching someone else play a game. We were measured heart rate, eye movements, and even pupil dilation of both players and viewers to get a sense of their engagement with the game. We found that both players and viewers were just as aroused and engaged in moments where the action was scripted and the control was taken away from the players - such as during cutscenes. But during moments where the players could actually control the action, they showed an especially high level of arousal not found in the viewers. 

This confirms perhaps what you might expect - actually playing a game is exciting! But this has important implications for game designers in considering how and when they want to arouse and engage their players. But it could also have implications for content creators on video and streaming platforms, and might suggest increasing interactions by viewers could also increase engagement - something we are already seeing on popular platforms!

For those interested, you can read the paper here: https://doi.org/10.1109/TG.2021.3073084


Image by Bruno Henrique from Pixabay.

Senast uppdaterad: 2021-07-29