Effects of balancing for physical abilities on player performance, experience and self-esteem in exergames

Gerling, Kathrin, Miller, Matthew, Mandryk, Regan , Birk, Max and Smeddinck, Jan (2014) Effects of balancing for physical abilities on player performance, experience and self-esteem in exergames. In: CHI'14: Proceedings of the 2014 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 26 April - 1 May 2014, Toronto, ON, Canada.


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Game balancing can help players with different skill levels play multiplayer games together; however, little is known about how the balancing approach affects performance, experience, and self-esteem-especially when differences in player strength result from given abilities, rather than learned skill. We explore three balancing approaches in a dance game and show that the explicit approach commonly used in commercial games reduces self-esteem and feelings of relatedness in dyads, whereas hidden balancing improves self-esteem and reduces score differential without affecting game outcome. We apply our results in a second study with dyads where one player had a mobility disability and used a wheelchair. By making motion-based games accessible for people with different physical abilities, and by enabling people with mobility disabilities to compete on a par with able-bodied peers, we show how to provide empowering experiences through enjoyable games that have the potential to increase physical activity and self-esteem.

Keywords:video games, accessibility, Digital exclusion, Social inclusion, Disabled people
Subjects:G Mathematical and Computer Sciences > G440 Human-computer Interaction
Divisions:College of Science > School of Computer Science
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ID Code:13350
Deposited On:14 Feb 2014 14:00

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