Ecosystems of Engagement:

Understanding modern gamer experience

Kevin Deng

UX Designer, ArenaNet

Remember the "good old days?" 

Gaming in 2000's

So what does 'gaming' look like now? 


League of Legends

27 Million Viewers

288 Million overall

179 hours of esports

Dota 2

$10M prizepool, $5M 1st place

20 Million Viewers



E3 2014

48,900 attendees
49+ Billion impressions


70,000 attendees

Mobile Gaming

American Mobile users spend 3.6 hours each day on their phones

77% of users play mobile

126M Americans play mobile games

Social Games

Big Data + Games

Data driven design

A/B testing



43% of all live video-streaming traffic


4th in peak internet traffic in US (Netflix, Apple, Google, Twitch, Hulu) 1.8% of all internet traffic


Top Streamers make upwards to $100,000 


15.8M US and 60.3M Uniques Global

Content Creators

'minecraft' is the 2nd most searched on Youtube


20 of Top 100 are gaming channels


'PewDiePie' has 32M subscribers and $4M in profit annually


6 of Top 10 Channels are gaming

Gaming is no longer "niche."

Gaming has completely evolved in the past 3 years

  1. Gaming reaching critical mass
  2. Increased choice and Free 2 Play
  3. Content is incredibly deep
  4. Dynamic Development
  5. Mobile and Persistent Access
  6. Passive Consumption and Viewership
  7. Increasingly social

Critical Mass & Pop Culture

59% of Americans play Video Games

Free to Play & Choice

  • Economic shift from earning player's wallets to time
    • All about Engagement and Retention
  • Gamer's have an incredible amount of choice
    • App store, Steam, Free to Play
  • Earn players loyalty and User Acquisition

Content is incredibly deep

  • Overcoming the Knowledge Barrier
  • UX Design of Onboarding
    • NUX
    • Tutorial

Easy to pick up, Difficult to Master

Dynamic Development

  • Games as a service
  • Live events
  • Kickstarter makes Users the publisher
  • Users affect a games direction more than ever

Mobile and always connected

  • Mobile addiction in gaming
  • Gaming fills in the gaps
  • Users get access on demand
  • Notifications alert Users on demand

Content Creators & Viewership

  • Twitch
  • Youtube
  • Play with an audience
  • Spawning an entire new industry

Increasingly social

  • All about community
  • Social networks are driving factors
  • Gaming is a form of socialization
  • Common Shared Experience

Gaming is no longer just 'play'

  • Research and Strategy
  • Creating Content
  • Passive Participation
  • Financially viable
  • Gaming Communities

User behavior is moving towards Meta Experiences

  • Hours spent engaged grown exponentially

  • Users flow seamlessly multi-tasking between several types of experiences

  • Engagement vs Immersion

User Segmentation

Casual gamers entertain themselves with games when time presents itself.

Quick simple gameplay

Short learning curve


Arrange gaming around their daily schedules. 

Highly competitive and collaborative. 

Invest time improving skills


Completely immersed

Arrange schedules around gaming and are part of a gaming community. 

Objective is rank, achievement, and virtual reputation


A gamer that plays everywhere, all the time, across multiple genres.  Play all genres and fit all segmentation profiles. 


User Journeys

Current assumptions of Gamer Behavior

Actual day for a gamer

Actual day for me...during LCS

Game Experience Now

Game Experience League

Mapping Mindstates & Mediums

Gaming Mindstates

Being Inspired
Having Fun

No specific intent


Researching Game

Seeking specific knowledge

Narrowing choices

Understanding & Progression


Actively Engaged in Play
Experiencing the game



Experience Mediums

Physical: Tangible - A place or object that the player experiences. 

Out of Game: Digital Experiences out of game

In Game: Experience within the game and universe. 




Ecosystem Matrix

Example: League of Legends

Example: Puzzle & Dragons

Challenge: Analyze & Design

  • Get into groups of 5
  • Break down a game's engagement ecosystem  and present their strengths and weaknesses. 
  • Design a proposal for a new form of engagement or a feature to improve their current engagement
  • Feel free to use the UX Tools we talked about to help map and present your ideas. 

Infogamers UX Talk: Ecosystems of Engagement

By Kevin Deng

Infogamers UX Talk: Ecosystems of Engagement

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