Authors: Janne Paavilainen; Kati Alha; Hannu Korhonen
Addresses: Game Research Laboratory, University of Tampere, Kanslerinrinne 1, Tampere 33014, Finland ' Game Research Laboratory, University of Tampere, Kanslerinrinne 1, Tampere 33014, Finland ' Tampere Unit for Computer-Human Interaction, University of Tampere, Kanslerinrinne 1, Tampere 33014, Finland
Abstract: Social network games on Facebook have become a popular pastime for millions of players. These social games are integrated into the social network service and feature a free-to-play revenue model. Design characteristics of social games set new challenges for game design and playability evaluations. This article presents two studies for evaluating playability in social games. Study 1 features 18 novice inspectors who evaluated a social game with playability heuristics. The objective of the study was to explore possible domain-specific playability problems and examine how the established heuristics are suited for evaluating social games. The results of Study 1 show that social games' design characteristics can cause specific playability problems and the established playability heuristics are suitable for evaluating social games. Study 2 features 58 novice inspectors who evaluated 12 social games with playability heuristics. The objective of the study was to confirm the existence of domain-specific problems. As a result, six domain-specific playability problems were found: boring gameplay, click fatigue, interruptive pop-ups, friend requirements, spammy messages and aggressive monetisation. This article discusses their meaning for the gaming experience and how they could be fixed.
Keywords: social networks; social games; free-to-play; playability heuristics; evaluation; Facebook; domain-specific playability; social network games; game design; game playability; gaming experiences.
International Journal of Arts and Technology, 2015 Vol.8 No.4, pp.282 - 306
Available online: 13 Dec 2015Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article