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Development and validation of the player experience inventory: A scale to measure player experiences at the level of functional and psychosocial consequences

Vero Vanden Abeele, Katta Spiel, Lennart E. Nacke, Daniel Johnson, and Kathrin M. Gerling. 2020. Development and validation of the player experience inventory: A scale to measure player experiences at the level of functional and psychosocial consequences. In International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 135. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2019.102370

Abstract

Games User Research (GUR) focuses on measuring, analysing and understanding player experiences to optimise game designs. Hence, GUR experts aim to understand how specific game design choices are experienced by players, and how these lead to specific emotional responses. An instrument, providing such actionable insight into player experience, specifically designed by and for GUR was thus far lacking. To address this gap, the Player Experience Inventory (PXI) was developed, drawing on Means-End theory and measuring player experience both at the level of Functional Consequences, (i.e., the immediate experiences as a direct result of game design choices, such as audiovisual appeal or ease-of-control) and at the level of Psychosocial Consequences, (i.e., the secondorder emotional experiences, such as immersion or mastery). Initial construct and item development was conducted in two iterations with 64 GUR experts. Next, the scale was validated and evaluated over five studies and populations, totalling 529 participants. Results support the theorized structure of the scale and provide evidence for both discriminant and convergent validity. Results also show that the scale performs well over different sample sizes and studies, supporting configural invariance. Hence, the PXI provides a reliable and theoretically sound tool for researchers to measure player experience and investigate how game design choices are linked to emotional responses.