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Understanding player experience in digital games

Department of Computer Science

About the Project

Research areas: Digital games; Player experience and user experience

We would like our interactive systems to offer fulfilling experiences to people but often they don’t. By contrast, games offer compelling experiences to millions of players every day but we know little about what precisely those experiences are and how games provoke them. I am interested in a range of aspects of player experience including immersion, social presence and engagement in games. When we understand what is happening in games, we may be in a better position to understand experiences in other interactive systems.


Cairns, P. (2016) Engagement in Digital Games in O'Brien, H., Cairns, P. Why Engagement Matters: Cross-disciplinary perspectives on engagement in digital media, Springer, 81-104

Denisova, A., Cairns, P. (2015) The Placebo Effect in Digital Games: Phantom Perceptionof Adaptive Artificial Intelligence. ACM CHI PLAY 2015, ACM Press, 23-33

Cairns, P., Cox, A., Nordin, A.I. (2014) Immersion in Digital Games: Review of Gaming Experience Research, in Angelides, M.C., Agius, H. (eds) Handbook of Digital Games, IEEE/John Wiley and Sons, 339-361

Hudson, M., Cairns, P. (2014) Interrogating social presence with experiential vignettes, Entertainment Computing, 5, 101-114 DOI

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