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Improving user engagement in mobile games by identifying and adapting parameters that affect perceived difficulty

LOCATION:  TEL, Room Auditorium 3 (20th floor), Ernst-Reuter-Platz 7, 10587 Berlin  

Date/Time: 09.09.2019, 14:15-15:00 

SPEAKER: Sanjiv Krishnasamy  (TU Berlin)


In the current gaming world, there are numerous games crashing the market. The important factor in the success of any game is the player’s engagement towards the game. There is a need for games to adapt to player skills in order to be successful and popular. The fact that all players exhibit various levels of skill set, forces the game developers to migrate from the predefined instruction book. This thesis is aimed at improving user engagement in touch-based games by adapting the difficulty level of the game to the player skill. In this thesis, three touch-based games are evaluated to identify the parameters affecting the difficulty by performing an experiment with 30 participants. In this study, two adaptive models that dynamically adjusts the difficulty of the game based on the player performance is proposed in order to compare the user engagement towards the game. The result of the comparison among difficulty models shows that in two out of three chosen games, the models that adapt the difficulty level based on player performance have a statistically better user engagement level than the game with steady increase in difficulty level. The user engagement is measured with the help of gaming questionnaire and the statistical hypothesis testing is carried out using ANOVA and Post-hoc Tukey test. Based on the findings in this thesis, it is evident that user engagement can be improved by identifying and adapting the parameters affecting the game difficulty. But, the exemption in one game stands as evidence that this statement cannot be generalized to all touch-based games.

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