Cascading Impact of Lag on User Experience in Multiplayer Games

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Playing cooperative multiplayer games should be fun for everyone involved and part of having fun in games is being able to perform well, be immersed, and stay engaged [13, 17]. These indicators of enjoyment are part of a user's Quality of Experience (QoE), a measure which further includes additional metrics such as attention levels and ability to succeed. Players stop playing the game when it ceases to provide a high enough QoE, especially in cooperative and social games. [8, 18, 19]. Industry application development and current research both operate with the assumption that for any given individual in a group, that individual's QoE is affected only by their own network condition and not the network conditions of the other group members [4, 7, 8]. We show that this assumption is incorrect. Our research shows that the QoE of all group members is negatively affected by a single member's lag (communication delay, or loss caused by poor network conditions). Understanding a user's QoE as a function that includes other users' network conditions has the potential to improve lag mitigation strategies for multiplayer games and other group applications.



Computer Science


Eben Howard, Clint Cooper, Mike P. Wittie, Qing Yang. "Cascading Impact of Lag on User Experience in Multiplayer Games," in USENIX NSDI (poster session), 2013
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