Publication: Manipulating Leaderboards to Induce Player Experience

Assessing and inducing player experience (pX) in games user research (GUR) is complicated because of the tradeoff between maintaining rigour through experimental control and having participants feel like they are engaged in play. To establish and evaluate an embedded method for inducing a sense of success or failure in participants during gameplay (e.g., to study how different players exhibit resilience to in-game failure), we manipulated leaderboard position in an experiment in which 155 participants played a Bejeweled clone. We show that manipulating success perception through leaderboards increases the player's perception of competence, autonomy, presence, enjoyment, and positive affect over manipulated failure. In addition, displaying the score enhances the effect on positive affect, autonomy and enjoyment, while not increasing detectability.




Jason Bowey Max Birk
Eindhoven University of Technology
Regan Mandryk
University of Saskatchewan


Bowey, J.T., Birk, M., Mandryk, R.L. 2015. Manipulating Leaderboards to Induce Player Experience. In The ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY), London, UK. 115-120. Best Paper (top 1%).


@inproceedings {377-leaderboard_paper_cam_ready,
author= {Jason Bowey and Max Birk and Regan Mandryk},
title= {Manipulating Leaderboards to Induce Player Experience},
booktitle= {The ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY)},
year= {2015},
address= {London, UK},
pages= {115-120},
note= {Best Paper (top 1%)}