From Usability to Playability: Introduction to Player-Centred Video Game Development Process

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While video games have traditionally been considered simple entertainment devices, nowadays they occupy a privileged position in the leisure and entertainment market, representing the fastest-growing industry globally. We regard the video game as a special type of interactive system whose principal aim is to provide the player with fun and entertainment. In this paper we will analyse how, in Video Games context, Usability alone is not sufficient to achieve the optimum Player Experience. It needs broadening and deepening, to embrace further attributes and properties that identify and describe the Player Experience. We present our proposed means of defining Playability. We also introduce the notion of Facets of Playability. Each facet will allow us to characterize the Playability easily, and associate them with the different elements of a video game. To guarantee the optimal Player Experience, Playability needs to be assessed throughout the entire video game development process, taking a Player-Centred Video Game Design approach.