Video games are experience-based products and user satisfaction is key for their popularity. To design for as strong an experience as possible, game developers incorporate evaluation methods that help to discover their users’ expectations and needs. Despite such efforts, problems still occur with the game design that lower the user experience. To counter these problems, the evaluation methods should be investigated and improved.

To address this need, I have explored various design tools and user experience theories. Applying these in a game evaluation context, I have analyzed user-created game reviews and conducted longitudinal user interview- and game diary studies in connection to playing a newly released game, in other words different methods to take advantage of users' expectations, opinions, attitudes and experiences. One result of the analysis of the obtained data is a set of “slogans” that illustrate how and why users lose interest in a game. A second result is a method for extracting user attitudes from pre-produced user reviews and how this can be used in game development. Thirdly, I introduce an alternative model, aimed at game user experience development, the Playsona. The Playsona is a lightweight tool that introduces a variant of the Persona-method, specifically for video game design.

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