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Experiencing BCI Control in a Popular Computer Game

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5 Author(s)
van de Laar, B. ; Human Media Interaction Group, Univ. of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands ; Gurkok, H. ; Plass-Oude Bos, D. ; Poel, M.
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Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are not only being developed to aid disabled individuals with motor substitution, motor recovery, and novel communication possibilities, but also as a modality for healthy users in entertainment and gaming. This study investigates whether the incorporation of a BCI in the popular game World of Warcraft (WoW) has effects on the user experience. A BCI control channel based on parietal alpha band power is used to control the shape and function of the avatar in the game. In the experiment, participants (n=42) , a mix of experienced and inexperienced WoW players, played with and without the use of BCI in a within-subjects design. Participants themselves could indicate when they wanted to stop playing. Actual and estimated duration was recorded and questionnaires on presence and control were administered. Afterwards, oral interviews were taken. No difference in actual duration was found between conditions. Results indicate that the difference between estimated and actual duration was not related to user experience but was person specific. When using a BCI, control and involvement were rated lower. But BCI control did not significantly decrease fun. During interviews, experienced players stated that they saw potential in the application of BCIs in games with complex interfaces such as WoW. This study suggests that BCI as an additional control can be as much fun and natural to use as keyboard/mouse control, even if the amount of control is limited.

Published in:

Computational Intelligence and AI in Games, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:5 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

June 2013

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