If you want to put customers at the center of your business, talk to a video game developer. Creating games to meet the expectations of an informed, passionate and vocal customer base, they have embedded user experience (UX) into every aspect of their business, and used the discipline to cut through the confusion that can mar product development.
As Sebastian Long, a user experience expert at American consultancy Player Research, notes: “It is extremely difficult to remain objective about things we’ve crafted ourselves, or things we’re extremely familiar with. We can easily become oblivious to causes of disparities between the design of our game and real players’ actual experience of our game.” When developing a game, it is very hard to gauge how even small choices will shape the player’s experience for good or ill, especially if – as is often the case – the game is intended for a player who is unlike anyone in the development team.
Recognizing these challenges, most major video game publishers and developers have invested in UX in the past five years. Typically, Long notes, they use player psychology to support game design, test games with real players, use data science to analyze player behavior and have a leader whose job it is to represent the player on the project and within the company. Yet UX is too crucial to be entrusted to any particular group, no matter how able, in video gaming, it is everybody’s responsibility.
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