Comparing the effect of asymmetry and symmetry on player experience in competitive games

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University of New Brunswick


Asymmetric game design is a popular technique used in video game development to create an interesting dynamic between competing and cooperating players. This technique provides players with different sets of available actions and goals, making the play experience much more complex. While previous work has looked at certain aspects of why we enjoy these types of games, such as through enabling interconnectedness with others, there is little information about how we experience these games when compared to symmetric games in competitive settings. In this thesis, asymmetric and symmetric gameplay are compared in a competitive multiplayer setting, using a networked research platform named Slimeball. Participants are asked to play both symmetric and asymmetric versions of Slimeball, and then complete standardized player experience questionnaires. The results of the study demonstrate that the use of asymmetry had a positive effect on player experience. It also had a positive on autonomy con structs. With these results in mind, future game designers can better understand how asymmetric games can lead to positive player experiences.