Effects of balancing for physical abilities on player performance, experience and self-esteem in exergames

Kathrin Maria Gerling, Matthew Miller, Regan L. Mandryk, Max Valentin Birk, Jan David Smeddinck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Game balancing can help players with different skill levels play multiplayer games together; however, little is known about how the balancing approach affects performance, experience, and self-esteem'especially when differences in player strength result from given abilities, rather than learned skill. We explore three balancing approaches in a dance game and show that the explicit approach commonly used in commercial games reduces self-esteem and feelings of relatedness in dyads, whereas hidden balancing improves self-esteem and reduces score differential without affecting game outcome. We apply our results in a second study with dyads where one player had a mobility disability and used a wheelchair. By making motion-based games accessible for people with different physical abilities, and by enabling people with mobility disabilities to compete on a par with able-bodied peers, we show how to provide empowering experiences through enjoyable games that have the potential to increase physical activity and self-esteem.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI '14 : Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-1-4503-2473-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


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