Researching Gamers
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Researching Gamers

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Introductory lecture prepared for the undergraduate course "Researching Audiences" at Victoria University, St Albans, Australia. ...

Introductory lecture prepared for the undergraduate course "Researching Audiences" at Victoria University, St Albans, Australia.
The work of Ben Evans, Jo Iacovides, Ian Bogost, Jane McGonigal, David Myers and Tom Apperley is discussed.
Slides are colourful and light on text.

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  • [last given: 5th October, 2012]\nintroduce paper:\nwhat kind of audience are gamers?\nwhat kind of research is done?\ndesign a research project\nstop and ask questions!\n
  • probably already familiar:\nmass-media: audience is a bucket waiting to be filled up / effects tradition\nconsumer: active negotiator of meaning\nidentity groups looking for representation\naudience as imagined by author / critics / players\n
  • \n
  • fighting and embracing stereotypes\ngender has been a major issue recently\nimage above: what does a girl gamer look like?\ngaming as a subculture or scene, but becoming mainstream\n
  • designers need ‘real’ people to play their games\ntesting pre- or post-production\niOS ‘rate us’ feature\n
  • fan creativity often ‘spills over’ the game platform itself: cosplay, fanfic, etc.\ncreativity can also be re-incorporated: CounterStrike, Steam Workshop\n
  • Games can resemble work: Cooking Mama, WoW\nfans’ work goes back into games\n
  • Game players as clients:\nGamification: making learning/shopping/getting better fun (SuperBetter)\ntension between therapy and capitalism\nTransferability between academic and industrial worlds, gaming and “normal” worlds.\nrecap: game audiences as fans, workers, users and customers\n
  • who is studying gamers?\noften gamers do the most research into gamers!\n
  • e.g. Valve employs an economist to manage its online economies\n
  • What does it mean to be a gamer?\nWhat do audiences take from texts?\nAre games good? politically... ethically... socially...\nHow do games work? code ... GUI\nHow do people play games?\n
  • Henry Jenkins has long ago noted the productivity of fans\nOne way to study fans in to look at what they produce.\nr/gaming is one fertile ground that this is taking place on.\nrecap: increasing blurring between industry, academy and fans\n
  • watching games in play: café or laboratory\nplayer responses: survey, thinking aloud, focus group\nbig data: quantitative corpus approaches\n
  • what can we glean from this kind of information? how do we know?\n
  • quantifying bodily responses: brain, skin, muscles, eyes\nproblematic link between quanitfiable bodily changes (skin pH etc.) and subjective states.\ncan we trust players to tell us what they’re experiencing?\n
  • intro: examples of research into game audiences\nnot in a lab but in a café.\nfindings: games are chosen to suit available players. Cheating, non-serious play are frequent.\nattention to the ‘scene’ of action\n
  • Making use of an ability to teleport others into mobs of high-level opponents.\nThis ability was allowed in the code of the game, but socially prohibited.\nGamers wrote to Myers university calling for his sacking.\nMyers point: if it’s in the code, it’s allowed\nOthers’ point: social rules have evolved and must be respected.\n
  • Who plays Ultima online?\nComparing existing social categories to gamers\n\n
  • Studying audiences through a game using Facebook API\n“people will play anything”\neven after the cows disappeared: “this game is a lot less fun”\nthis might tell us more about FB than about gameplay\n
  • we’ve covered: audiences, approaches, methods, examples\nlet’s put together our own.\n
  • \n
  • summary: gamers are not al alike\nsuit the methods to the context\nthink about the scenes of gaming\nplay games!\n
  • \n

Researching Gamers Researching Gamers Presentation Transcript

  • TEXTResearching Audiences: GamersLuke van Ryn, University of Melbournelvanryn@student.unimelb.edu.au
  • what is anaudience?receiverconsumermeaning-makerideal audience
  • a gamingaudience?GamerUserFanWorkerCitizenClient
  • GAMERSIDENTITY, GENDER, ACHIEVEMENT
  • UsersTestingUsabilityPatching
  • FANSGAMING SUBCULTURES, REMEDIATION, PRODUCTIVITY
  • Workers“playbour”free-to-playmodding
  • CLIENTSCUSTOMERS, MARKETS, CULTURES
  • What kind ofresearch?IndustryAcademicFan
  • industryresearchDoes it work? (QA)Is it fun? (play-testing)Can it be better? (feedback)like us! (reviews)
  • ACADEMIC RESEARCHINDENTITY, MEANING, POLITICS, CODE, SOCIALITY
  • FAN RESEARCHFAQS, WALKTHROUGHS, CALCULATORS
  • MethodsObservationSurveys#DATA!
  • GAMEPLAY METRICSPROJECT KILLS (LEFT) VERSUS DEATHS (RIGHT)DATE CLIENT 2011 HALO REACH
  • BIOMETRICSPROJECT BECAUSE BODIES CAN’T LIEDATE AUTHOR 2012 JO IACOVIDES
  • GAMING RHYTHMSPROJECT GAMING IN MELBOURNE AND CARACASDATE AUTHOR 2010 APPERLEY
  • ANTI-PLAYPROJECT GRIEFING IN CITY OF HEROESDATE AUTHOR 2009 TWIXT (DAVID MYERS)
  • SOCIAL DYNAMICSPROJECT ULTIMA ONLINEDATE AUTHOR 2010 KOLO AND BAUR
  • COW CLICKERPROJECT A FACEBOOK GAME ABOUT FACEBOOK GAMESDATE AUTHOR 2010 BOGOST
  • COOKING MAMAPROJECT AN EXEMPLARY RESEARCH PROJECTDATE CLIENT 2012 VAN RYN ET AL.
  • Questions:Method: observation? survey? participation?Platforms: iOS? Nintendo DS? Wii?“Scenes”: At home? In transit? At school?Theories: gender? gesture? nationalism?
  • Possible questions:Do people learn to cook using Cooking Mama?How do gameplay gestures relate to cookinggestures?Do people buy recipes for the iOS app? why?Why not Cooking Papa?
  • Further readingBen Lewis-Evans (“user” research)http://is.gd/JtcXPyJo Iacovides (learning and gameplay)http://joiacovides.blogspot.com.auJane McGonigal (gamification)http://janemcgonigal.com/