Learn from the experts all about Games User Research and it's ins and outs - What it is? Why to do it? When to do it? And How to do it? Use this stepping stone to return to your organization charged with energy to make better products and user experiences (not just for games!) through user research. Bonus: Learn about what can go wrong in Games User Research (and maybe laugh at the mistakes of others? Who doesn't love a good anecdote from the field :-)
Bill Fulton started Microsoft Games Studio's GUR department in 1997, and led it for 7 years. During his tenure, Microsoft's GUR department grew from 1 to 35 researchers and spurred the rest of the games industry towards adopting more rigorous user-research practices as well.
After spending 3 years on the 'other side of the table' as a multiplayer game designer, Bill started a User-experience consultancy in 2008 that provides GUR and Game design services to the games industry, including clients like EA, Sony, Microsoft, Insomniac, and others.
Before Microsoft, Bill spent 4 years in the PhD program in Psychology at the University of Washington, where he studied Research methods, Social Psychology, and Judgment and Decision-making.
Marina first fell in love with technology as a 5 year old playing Super Mario Brothers on the Nintendo Famicon she and her sisters received on their first Christmas in Japan. Call it a kindergarten infatuation, but her enthusiasm for video games developed into a passion for the intersection of people and technologies in user experiences. This inspired Marina to earn a Masters in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon before coming full circle to practice user research on video game experiences. On the side, Marina likes to shop for the latest vinyl toys a la giant robot, exploring the Tokyo Fruits culture, and she's an occasional yelper + foursquare badge collector
Rich co-founded and runs the games user research department for EA's Games Label with a small staff. It supports approximately 30 titles and runs about 2500 hours of user tests a year. They support all types of products from iPhone to Wii to social gaming, though their primary emphasis is on 360 and PS3 console games.
Rich thinks about games, the psychology of games, and methods to tease out player psychology to improve them constantly. On trains, in cars, in movies, while playing with his cats or playing other games. It's truly his passion and he counts himself fortunate to be able to live it every day.
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