Using Fun to Drive Social Distribution and Monetization Without Spamming Your Friends, A XEOPlayShop

  • 09 Nov 2009
  • 9:30 AM - 3:59 PM
  • ONE UNION SQUARE, BOARD ROOM, 600 University Street, Seattle
  • 10


  • For full time students

Registration is closed
Meeting Details


Nicole Lazzaro is the world renowned expert on emotions and the fun of games and how to apply game design techniques to create more engaging products, services, and games. 


Often ignored by usability, neuroscience now proves that emotion deeply connects decision making and performance. Emotions also coordinate the actions between people. The trick is that emotions and social experiences are emergent qualities that cannot be designed directly. Nicole brings this challenge to life in her workshop.

Who Should Come

Anyone who wants to understand how to use fun and emotion in the design of experiences should attend:

•·         UX designers

•·         Game designers

•·         User and customer researchers

•·         Product managers

•·         Customer experience strategists

•·         Software developers

•·         Service designers

•·         Experience marketing


In this interactive XEOPlayShop we will cover how the choices in games craft player emotions to increase engagement.

In addition to competition there are game mechanics that increase curiosity and others that create social bonding that makes team work possible. We will examine these 4 Keys to Fun plus new social mechanics from XEODesign's research to see how successful social media and iPhone games offer more playful interfaces that increase engagement, loyalty, and viral distribution. 

By adding these kinds of choices designers can drive user behavior to create more engaging experiences.

From XEODesign's latest player research we will look at:

  • How games create emotion and self-motivation
  • What mechanics and emotions drive social engagement, networking, and increase social bonding
  • How player choices create emotions such as Schadenfreude, Fiero, Curiosity, and Love
  • The emotions and mechanics that drive viral distribution

Comparing examples from social media such as Twitter and Facebook to games on the web, console, and iPhone we draw out the secrets of social play and the emotions that makes something viral. Come hear the latest research results on emotions and games played on iPhones and social networks and what that means for more serious applications.

Free white papers on emotion and the fun of games are available here:

What is a XEODesign PlayShop?
A XEODesign PlayShop is a seriously fun workshop where participants learn how to craft emotion to create new experiences. Together we explore ways to design new emotions into gameplay and innovate to reach new consumers based on XEODesign's 17 years of player research by evaluating a selection of published games and non-game social UIs. Participants team up to work through group exercises on exercises provided or on their own concepts in development. This XEOPlayShop:

  • Offers a fresh perspective and hands on experience on the mechanics and emotions that drive player experiences
  • Exposes team members to new ways of thinking about games
  • Inspires teams to incorporate more engagement factors into current projects and future games
  • Designs goals and assessment parameters to be conducted in the next Stage.


1. Increased usage and fun factor of games currently in development

2. Easy to apply techniques to increase appeal and fix "flat" gameplay with the 4 Keys to Fun

3. Enhanced understanding of how to increase player engagement

4. Specific changes to current projects that will make them more fun

5. Understand the mechanics that inspire gameplay and conversion

6. State of the art techniques to create innovate play experiences that broaden the market


Nicole Lazzaro is the Founder and President of XEODesign, Inc. She has eighteen years of expertise in Player Experience Design for mass-market entertainment products. Voted by Gamasutra as one of the Top 20 women working in video games, her clients including Sony, EA, Ubisoft, Sega, PlayFirst, The Cartoon Network, Disney, LeapFrog, Mattel, Monolith, Xfire, D.I.C.E, Leap Frog, Ugobe, The Learning Company, Broderbund, Roxio, Cisco, Go Pets, Sierra Online, and Maxis.

Since founding XEODesign in 1992 Nicole's design and research has improved over 40 million player experiences, including several popular franchises for casual audiences such as three of the Myst Series, Diner Dash, GoPets, Cosmopolitan Virtual Makeover, Mavis Beacon teaches Typing, Jeopardy Online, as well as creativity coaching for the designers of The Sims.

Nicole was the first person to use facial expressions to measure player experiences. Through this research which she published in 2004 she discovered that people's favorite player experiences (PX) craft emotion by offering choices in four play styles: the Hard Fun from challenge and mastery, Easy Fun from exploration and role play, Serious Fun for relaxation and real work, and People Fun from the excuse to hang out with friends.

XEODesign's PX model on emotion and games called the 4 Fun Keys inspires a wide range of creative approaches for crafting more emotions from play. With the 4 Fun Keys developers access player's emotional response to innovate early in the development cycle where there is much less risk.

Nicole has a degree in Psychology from Stanford University where she also studied film making and computer programming.

Time and Date

Monday, November 9th
9:30 A.M. - 4:00 
Lunch included
Registration is required for this special workshop

Location One Union Square, Boardroom, 600 University Street, Seattle
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