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The Number One Educational Resource for the Game Industry

Session Name: The Importance of Player Autonomy: Motivating Sustained Engagement through Volition and Choice
Speaker(s): Scott Rigby, Troy Skinner
Company Name(s): Immersyve, Immersyve
Track / Format: Business, Marketing & Management

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Overview: Player research shows that the psychological experience of autonomy is a key factor to building value and sustaining engagement in games, with data from such varied titles as GTA, Minecraft, Skyrim and League of Legends, showing they succeed largely due to their satisfaction of this key psychological need. This talk will unpack the construct of "autonomy satisfaction," and discuss how it can be optimized and made actionable in a game's design, including core mechanics, story development and implementation, reward and progression systems, and other actionable areas. In particular, the talk will focus on understanding autonomy in a more precise way than simply seeing it as a synonym for "freedom" or "choice." Instead, the talk will explain how autonomy can be satisfied when both freedom and choice are present and when they are constrained, as well as the implications for engagement (both initial and sustained), player enjoyment, and monetization.

GDC 2014

Scott Rigby


Troy Skinner


free content

Business, Marketing & Management

Business & Marketing