Ask Us (Almost) Anything So We Can Argue About It

Join a panel of industry & academic leaders in the field of #gamesUR who will be taking on all questions from the audience. With a mix of backgrounds and knowledge, our panelists will be able to provide a broad range of answers to questions, and it is our hope that we’ll find significant points of disagreement for the panelists to discuss, and everyone to learn from.

  • Category: Panel
James Berg

James has worked at EA Vancouver for more than a decade, and has led UX research on a wide variety of projects over the last 7 years. Highlights of these include Anthem, Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, Dragon Age: Inquisition, FIFA Ultimate Team, Ragtag, and a variety of other projects and games.

He is a GRUX mentor and former chair of the GRUX Steering Committee, and has been an organizer & speaker for a variety of conferences & large research events. His specialty is deep qualitative research into game mechanics and patterns of engagement, leveraging a broad knowledge of the games industry to help his teams bring amazing user experiences to life.

Melissa Boone

Melissa is a social psychologist currently working as the Xbox Research Manager at Microsoft. She uses her expertise in human behavior, social interaction, and designing and conducting behavioral research to provide insight on user needs and preferences for Xbox’s first-party studios. She has a developed skill set in both quantitative and qualitative analysis, using a wide variety of methods – heuristic evaluations, usability studies, group playtests, panel surveys, interviews, and fieldwork – to provide deep, actionable insight to game development teams.

Melissa’s background is social & health psychology, with a specialization in advanced statistical and research methods. Before she worked on games and tech, she spent several years investigating how people’s social interactions and behavior influenced HIV risk behaviors, drug abuse, and mental health. I’ve also worked as a statistics and research methods consultant, advising scientists and professionals on the design of research projects and analysis of data.

Jonathan Dankoff

Jonathan is a passionate games user researcher with over 12 years of experience on 20+ games ranging from huge AAA titles to educational children’s games and everything in-between.

He has developed many new methods and techniques to better understand and improve the player experience, and been privileged to be a part of exciting new endeavours in UX research such as enormous advances in telemetry and biometrics.

During his tenure at Ubisoft Montreal he shipped well over 100 million units on successful series such as Assassin’s Creed and Rainbow Six. Jonathan is currently the research manager for Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment, leading the research group and working on a wide variety of interesting projects.

He is pretty awesome. For serious.

Kishonna Gray

Dr. Kishonna L. Gray is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Illinois – Chicago. She is also a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. She also previously served as a MLK Scholar and Visiting Professor in Women and Gender Studies and Comparative Media Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Dr. Gray is an interdisciplinary, intersectional, digital media scholar whose areas of research include identity, performance and online environments, embodied deviance, cultural production, video games, and Black Cyberfeminism.

Dr. Gray is the author of Race, Gender, & Deviance in Xbox Live (Routledge, 2014), lead editor for Feminism in Play (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2018), and co-editor for Woke Gaming (University of Washington Press, 2018). She is currently completing a sole-authored manuscript, entitled Intersectional tech: The transmediated praxis of black users in digital gaming. This text will broadly explore how online gaming spaces are prime locales to continue the exploration into the treacherous terrain sometimes experienced by Black gamers. Using their narratives as sites of critical engagement, and the spaces they occupy as “intersectional counterpublics,” this text interrogates intersectional identity development and justice issues within gaming culture.

Journey with Dr. Gray on Twitter @KishonnaGray.

Matt Streit

From a background in Computer Science and Psychology, Matt entered the games industry in 2008 after receiving his PhD. Since then he has worked for 4 games publishers and taught at the Guildhall. Over the last 3 years, Matt has been leading the user research team at Scopely, leading developers and publishers of mobile games. This has provided many opportunities to combine the typically small-sample data of user research with the big data of a live game, and to evaluate how UX-driven changes have impacted both the audience and the business of the games.