ACM - Computers in Entertainment

The gamer experience

By Panagiotis Zaharias, Anthony Papargyris
SPECIAL ISSUE: Media Arts and Games (Part II), [Vol. 7, No. 2]

DOI: 10.1145/1541895.1541906

Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are persisted virtual worlds capable of supporting hundreds or thousands of gamers simultaneously. Although every MMOG environment has its own “culture,” gamers originate from different countries, speak different languages, and have different national cultural backgrounds. It is assumed that gamers' cultural diversity affects their online gaming experience and their perceptions of a game's usability; nevertheless knowledge is limited and relevant research is rare. This study aims for an empirical investigation between gamers' cultural dimensions and their perceptions of usability. A subjective measurement of usability is given in this study; usability is viewed in more holistic terms, beyond its functional dimensions, so as to capture social and affective dimensions as well, which are very important within the MMOG context. The findings of this exploratory study indicate that there are quantitative relationships between culture and the perception of usability of MMOGs. Such results have practical implications for the designers of MMOGs. A relevant discussion is also presented, along with future research dimensions.

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