Game User Research (GUR) has matured immensely in the past few years, paralleling the ongoing evolution in digital games. Methods have evolved and matured. User testing has become commonplace in the industry, and is taught in the hundreds of game degrees worldwide. New technologies such as physiological methods and virtual reality have entered the mainstream and become more widely accepted and utilized than ever before. Analytics has extended the reach of user research to entire populations where a decade ago having a dozen participants in a playtest was extensive. Major companies as well as indies are developing new tools for user research, and academic research has shed new light on the inner workings of play experience. Events such as the Game User Research Workshop and Summit are held regularly every year, GUR contributions make their way to dozens of research conferences and industry events, and the CHI community in games is growing stronger every year.
The last book to broadly cover game user research was the anthology “Game Usability” from 2008. Since that time various aspects of GUR has formed a component of several books, but there have been no other volumes dedicated to user research in games. However, given the massive amount of knowledge that has been generated, and is being generated, there are very few resources for those interested in GUR. In short, the time is ripe for a new book on GUR which collates and evaluates current knowledge and practices, and sets the direction for the future development of the field.
The Games User Research Book aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the field and practice of user research in games, and will focus on informing a broad audience. We aim to produce a volume that can be used by professionals and amateurs, by students and instructors, and which provides a comprehensive overview of GUR as well as deeper dives into specific topics, practical applications and experiences from the trenches of industry and academia.