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Title: Immersion and players' time perception in digital games
Author: Nordin, Aliimran
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 5259
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2014
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Immersion is a commonly used term by players, designers and reviewers of digital games to describe their experience of playing digital games. It represents the cognitive sense of 'being in the games'. One of its consequences is players are losing track of time. However, little has been done to further investigate the effect of immersion on players' time perception whilst playing digital games. This thesis describes a series of experimental investigations to discover the relationship between immersion on players' time perception during a gaming session. The first five experimental studies are focused on manipulating immersion to test its effect on players' time perception. The next six experiments are focused on manipulating players' time perception to test its effect on immersion whilst gaming. The results from these experiments are rather inconsistent. ​Immersion in some experiments was​ successfully manipulated it but there were no significant effects on players' time perception. Similarly, ​in the other experiments​ players' time perception ​was manipulated​ but there were no significant effects on their immersion experience. To further consolidate these findings​, a meta-analysis ​was​ conducted to produce the single estimate effect on players' time perception during the experimental investigations. The result suggests that participants either overestimate or underestimate time whilst playing. ​​Further, ​there is substantial heterogeneity across experiments suggesting that the experimental manipulations affect players' time perception differently depending on the experiments. Together, the evidence suggests both immersion and players' time perception are rather sensitive. The manipulation of ​either one​ of them could also affect​ the other but not in a consistent manner.​​ ​Moreover, there are clear challenges in studying this phenomenon in the lab context. Furthermore, considering the literature on time in digital games environment, the final qualitative study is conducted using grounded theory to understand how players perceive time whilst playing digital games. The theory suggests that players are aware of time but they give themselves a ``self-consent" to ignore it during the gaming session. However, when they evaluate about their playing time they realise that they have spent a lot of time and they use statement​s​ such as losing track of time to justify why they have been playing for so long. Many research opportunities open from here. Measuring players' time perception whilst being immersed in digital games in the lab settings is complicated. However, other techniques available in the area of HCI can be applied to measure players' time perception specifically in the context of digital games. This is essential because time is needed for gaming and by understanding how digital games players perceive time allows game designers to​​ better​ understand​ player experience.
Supervisor: Cairns, Paul Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available