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Influencing Experience: The Effects of Reading Game Reviews on Player Experience

Ian Livingston, Lennart E. Nacke, and Regan L. Mandryk. 2011. Influencing Experience: The Effects of Reading Game Reviews on Player Experience. In Proceedings of ICEC 2011. Vancouver, BC, Canada. Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 89-100. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-24500-8_10

Abstract

Game reviews are used by game developers for making business decisions and measuring the success of a title, and have been shown to affect player perception of game quality. We conducted a study where players read positive or negative reviews of a game before playing, and show that the valence of review text affected game ratings and that these differences could not be explained by mediating changes in mood. Although we show predictable changes in player experience over the course of the study (measured objectively through physiological sensors), there were no objective differences in experience depending on review valence. Our results suggest that reading reviews does not directly affect play experience, but rather is a post-play cognitive rationalization of the experience with the content of the review. Our results are important for understanding player experience and to the game industry where reviews and user forums affect a game's commercial success.