Request a Mid Career Mentor

Daniel Aparicio
Experienced User Researcher
PikPok

I'm currently a User Researcher at PikPok where I work with a small team of researchers to lead and manage all user research tasks for my company. I started out in games user research working in Full Sail's UX Lab as part of the Master's in Game Design program. Afterwards, I got a job as a UX Lab Analyst at Epic Games. I mainly work on mobile games, but have had experience working on PC and Console titles as well.  Feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn if you have any shorter questions.

Talk to me about:

Games User Research Methods

GUR Processes

Tech and Tools

Mobile, PC and Console games

Career and professional development

 

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Brice Arnold
Researcher
Activision

I'm a user researcher at Activision on Call of Duty. Before this I spent over five years working at Electronic Arts working on a variety of projects including Battlefield 1, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Apex Legends to name a few. I've worked with teams both large and small including a few mobile projects as well. I've worked on games at all stages of development from pre-production through post-launch. Doing this allowed me to approach research questions applying a variety of different methods both qualitative and quantitative. I also did a brief stint at Paypal working on research projects completely outside of games. 


I'd be happy to share more about what I've learned along the way or games in general.

Talk to me about: 

Games User Research methods

GUR Processes

Tech and Tools

Shooters

Console

Mobile

PC

multiplayer

single player

basically anything except maybe puzzle games

Career and Professional Development

Academia

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Joe Florey
Senior User Researcher
SIEE (PlayStation)

I’m a Senior User Researcher at Playstation EU and have worked on a range of PS4, PSVR and PS5 titles. I’ve spent most of my time working closely with Media Molecule on Dreams, from early development to VR and post-launch testing, using all sorts of testing methods along the way.

I transitioned from an experimental psychology PhD into GUR so have experience of making that jump and am particularly interested in using game telemetry data to enhance user research.

Talk to me about:

Games User Research methods

GUR Processes

Tech and Tools

Transitioning from academia

Career & Personal Development

VR and Console Game Testing

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Luke Fraser
User Researcher
Sprung Studios
I am currently a User Researcher at Sprung Studios, an external partner that delivers UX/UI designs solely for game developers. My academic background is primarily in user research, user-centered design, and HCI.
 
Talk to me for questions about GUR methods, working as a researcher consultant, developing user research processes, and getting your foot in the door. As someone who found work in the field relatively recently, I would be more than happy to share my insights from the job hunt and how to make oneself a standout candidate. 
 
Talk to me about:
Games User Research methods
GUR Processes
Mobile, PC and Switch Games
Career and Personal Development
Academia
Accessibility
How to conduct usability reviews 
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Bill Hardin
Games User Researcher
Amazon Games
I have been a games user researcher in the industry for five years. My background is in academic research (experimental/cognitive psychology and behavioral neuroscience), and my interest in these fields shapes my approach to games user research.

I started with a small mobile studio and then transitioned to AAA studios/publishers Volition, Epic Games, and Square Enix before working as a Games User Researcher with Amazon Games. I have conducted research on a wide range of games and products across multiple platforms and genres but have primarily focused on third-person action games.

I would be happy to talk about anything related to games user research, such as getting started, best practices, qualitative/quantitative methodologies, running end-to-end research, and professional development. I'd also be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
GUR Technology and Tools
Console, Mobile & PC Games
Career and Personal Development
GUR & Academia
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Adam Lobel
User Researcher
Blizzard Entertainment

Greetings! I’m an academic turned games user researcher with a PhD in psychology. I discovered GUR at the CHI 2016 conference in San Jose and immediately knew where to set my post-doc career aspirations. Prior to joining Blizzard where I support Hearthstone, I worked at Ubisoft Montreal where I helped ship Transference, Far Cry Dead Living Zombies, and Far Cry New Dawn.

Switching from academia to industry has required me to level up my skills as an interviewer, increase my agility and pragmatism when it comes to analyses, and learn how to forge and build partnerships with stakeholders. One thing I love about the gaming industry is that it is home to people with a wide variety of talents. There are many roads to getting into and excelling within the industry, so I always welcome discussing my thoughts and experience. Outside of gaming and research, I’m a bit of a music nerd, and have lots of experience with adapting to different cultures and making moves across the globe.

Talk to me about:

Research Methods

Career & Personal Development

GUR & Academia

SQL

Game Development

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Josh Marchand
Games User Researcher
Paradox Interactive
I am currently a games user researcher at Paradox Interactive in Stockholm, Sweden. Before that, I was working on my Graduate degree in Video Game Development from the University of Utah and doing user research on the side for the indie studios around the Salt Lake area. I have used games user research in a plethora of different ways including for interactive exhibits at a planetarium and even a tabletop trading card game! I have also spent a summer working as a user research intern at Epic Games. I have spent a lot of time learning by doing and finding opportunities to grow as a user researcher even when they didn't easily present themselves.
 
As someone who's education background is in the production side of game development, I have always had to go the "extra mile" to learn and understand games user research, but it is something I am extremely passionate about and happy to help others in the same way that I have been helped by this wonderful community! I am happy to talk about anything from my UR background or traditional game dev background as well. Let's chat about how I got to where I am, or more importantly how you can get there as well!
 
Talk to me about:
GUR Methods
GUR Processes
GUR Technology and Tools
Business and Personal skills
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Surabhi Mathur
Associate UX Researcher
EA
I’m a User Researcher who has recent moved from Tech UXR @Uber to Games UXR @EA working on FIFA. 
 
I see myself as a mixed method researcher with stronger inclination towards qualitative research. 
 
I’m constantly drawing parallels from my non-games experience so get in touch if you are thinking about making the move from tech to games or if you want to learn from my experience of entering GUR. 
 
Talk to me about:
Games User Research methods
GUR Processes
Career and professional development
Transitioning from Tech UXR to GUR
LinkedIn
Hannah Murphy
User Researcher
Activision

I am currently a User Researcher at Activision and serve as a member of the GRUX Steering Committee. I’ve been involved with the GRUX community for over 2 years. My journey in games user research began in graduate school when I was studying games in an academic setting at the University of Minnesota. During my time in my Master’s program I discovered games user research and decided it was something I wanted to pursue after completing my degree.

When I transitioned into industry, I started in finance UX before making the transition to games. Prior to my current role at Activision, my first games industry job was at Epic Games as a UX Lab Analyst, followed by a UX Researcher role at Microsoft/Xbox. I’ll gladly talk about my experience transitioning into games, including tips on how to gain experience while still in school. I’m also happy to chat about getting involved with the GUR community, thoughts on graduate school, networking, and cats!

Talk to me about:

Games User Research methods

Tech and Tools

Career and Professional Development

Academia

 

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Alexis Raushel
Associate Games UX Researcher
PlayStation

I have about 5 years of experience researching games and player behavior, and started at PlayStation as a UX researcher following an internship opportunity in 2019. Prior to this, I was a doctoral student in Human Factors Psychology at Wichita State University. There, I completed my Masters degree and was ABD on my Ph.D. before receiving a job offer and converting to industry fulltime.

 

I love talking about the pros and cons of grad school, and can give some insight into the process of shifting from academia to industry. My game development experience primarily centers around large AAA titles, though I have worked on a few indie projects as well. If you have questions about working with dev teams, smart research design, balancing qualitative and quantitative methods, narrative testing, and/or telemetry, let’s talk! I was in your shoes not too long ago and would love to trade experiences.  

Talk to me about:

Game User Research methods

GUR Processes

Console and PC

Narrative Driven Games

RPGs

Career and Professional Development

Academia

Grad school/PhD programs

Human factors psychology

LinkedIn
Lucas Rizoli
UX researcher
(Recently of) Ubisoft Toronto

I would be happy to talk about most any aspect of my work as a UR Project Manager, how I got to it, and where I think things are going—or anything else on which you’d like to hear my experience, advice, or opinions. I have a background in cognitive science, visualization, and opinion mining.

Talk to me about:
Research Methods
GUR Processes
GUR Tech and Tools
Console, PC, Games for Children
Career & Personal Development
Reporting and presenting data
Website
Rohini Sarkar
Opportunity Research Manager
King - Portfolio Games

I’m a player researcher at King, working exclusively on 5 games – Pet Rescue Saga, Farm Heroes Saga, Bubble Witch Saga 3, Candy Crush Friends and Candy Crush Jelly Saga. I’ve always working in research since university but have worked across industries – retail, TV, tech and most recently of course, mobile gaming. A naturally curious (or nosy) individual, I have a thirst for learning new things about people! I've worked on features for games at all stages of development from pre-production through to post-launch which is great as I’ve got to apply a mix of different  both qualitative and quantitative methods. I am also doing a secondment in the Design team in Pet Rescue Saga, working closely with the Game and UX Designers and working on a few bits of design myself. This has been a great opportunity to learn more about the development process and to embed research even more thoroughly into production.

Talk to me about:

GUR Methods

GUR Processes

Career and Professional development

Business and Personal skills

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Charles Somerville
User Researcher
id Software (Bethesda)

I am a user researcher at Bethesda Softworks operating out of the id Software office in Texas. Prior to my current job, I worked as a UX Lab Analyst at Epic Games. When it comes to user research, my goal is to create a two-way road between stakeholders and users, leveraging psychological theories and research methodologies to maintain that road. At the time of writing this short biography (late 2020), I would barely consider myself a mid-level researcher, so I advertise my mentorship with the caveat that my experience and resulting advice are more geared toward breaking in and early career researchers. You're welcome to ask me about research methods, games I've worked on (within NDA limitations!), transitioning from academia to commercial life, and games in general!

Talk to me about:

Games user research methods

PC and mobile user testing

first-person shooters, role-playing games, and action/adventure games

Career and professional development

Academia

Career growth as a junior researcher

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Nathan Varjavand
UX Lead
Hypixel Studios

I've been working in UX for a decade or so, the first half in mainstream UX and the second half in games UX. I've worked on a variety of titles for mobile, console, and PC markets. Over the course of my career, I've had the wonderful opportunity to create and build UX departments at several studios. My areas of expertise lie in creating high fidelity interactive prototypes fueled by user research, conducting cost effective research, and incorporating UX strategy into existing work pipelines. I'm happy to talk about transitioning into the games industry, user research methodologies, UX design tools, theory, or principles, and am also happy to simply chat about games UX in general.

Talk to me about:

Game Design
Prototyping and Rapid Iteration
Console and Mobile games
Career & Personal Development
GUR & Academia
Introducing and evangelizing for UX in the studio
Creating interactive prototypes that capture design requirements
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Jimmy Zhou
Researcher
Riot Games

I began games user research by studying human-games interactions for my Masters at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2017. After an internship at NetEase in 2018 and chatting to many people in the community, I decided to pursue a career in industry rather than proceed with a PhD. I've also been pretty active in the community since then, acting as the logistics assistant for the GUR summit and then the logistics lead the following year. I only recently obtained my first job in industry in 2019, as a UX Lab Analyst at Epic Games. Currently, I'm a researcher at Riot Games for the gameplay side of League of Legends.

My time at NetEase, Epic Games, and Riot Games has given me the chance to work games from a multitude of genres and platforms and my Masters work was in VR so I'm quite happy to talk about any of these topics (within NDA limitations of course). I'm still actually a junior in the industry myself, only a year and a half of industry experience and still fresh from the horrors of the job search so if you feel like you need to talk to someone about the job hunt, improving your skills in preparation, or adjusting to your job in the first year, I am definitely able to help in those areas.

Talk to me about:
Research methods
GUR Processes
GUR & Academia
PC, Console, Mobile, and VR Games
Career and Personal Development

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