Designing Games for the Elderly: A Virtual Reality Pilot Study Based on the Use of Self-Determination Theory to Enhance Relatedness (67330)

Session Information:

Friday, 31 March 2023 15:45
Session: Poster
Room: Orion Hall
Presentation Type:Poster Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

Introduction: Designing games for the elderly needs to highlight age-related challenges and present unique opportunities to address a growing problem. Recent studies on gameplay design for seniors suggest using Self-Determination Theory (SDT) which emphasizes relatedness as a key motivator, providing potential benefits to the well-being of the elderly.

Aim: This project design focuses on relatedness in gaming for seniors through an XR experience.

Research Tool: We created an adventure using a virtual AI child as a companion, guide and motivator. The game utilizes an independent Quest2 VR headset. Designed to resonate with seniors’ inner-childhood memories, the gameplay features hand-drawn settings, nostalgic toys and familiar intergenerational interactions. Successful interactions were rewarded by child’s display of affection. Each of the gameplay’s levels presented a different measure of engagement across the SDT dimensions.

Method: The pilot consisted of 19 healthy Israeli elderly volunteers over 65, each participating in a 15–20-minute session in Shenkar Games’ Lab. Unstructured interviews, motivated by Subjective Vitality and Intrinsic Motivation Inventory questionnaires, were administered to subjects before and after the gameplay to elicit changes in their subjective well-being.

Insights: Chronicling the game highlighted the development of positive emotions between participants and their AI child. The immersive VR experience increased their emotional response and inspired the seniors to interact with their AI child as human, some even expressed desire to hug it. Even with the limited number of participants, the VR pilot demonstrated the possibility of relatedness between seniors and their AI companion.

Yaron Kantor, Shenkar College, Israel
Hava Dagan Gur, Shenkar College, Israel
Ofir Ben Dor, Shenkar College, Israel

About the Presenter(s)
Yaron Kantor, a seasoned entrepreneur and game designer with a Master's in Digital Game Design, specializes in creating games for the well-being of elders. Co-founder of VFC Studio, Yaron uses technology to improve the lives of older adults.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00