Founder and President, XEODesign, Inc.
With a degree in psychology from Stanford University, Nicole Lazzaro is an authority on emotion and player experience in mass-market entertainment products. The first person to use facial expressions to measure player reactions, she puts her expertise to work designing award-winning interfaces at her company XEODesign, Inc.
With eighteen years of experience and past clients like Sony, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, and Sega, Lazzaro and XEODesign use creativity to "make products easier and more fun to use by targeting the complete customer experience, from art usability to interaction."
By breaking player experience down into four play styles -- hard fun, easy fun, serious fun, and people fun -- she allows developers to access a player's full emotional range from the earliest stages of a development cycle.
Lazzaro's approach to the psychology of fun has improved over 40 million player experiences. Writer and gamer designer Chris Bateman said of her in his book 21st Century Game Design, "It would be impossible to overestimate the extent to which Nicole Lazzaro's research has contributed to a better understanding of play in the context of video games."
The novel approach to play testing Lazzaro has introduced to the gaming industry is, in XEODesign's own words, making "products easier and more fun to use by targeting the complete customer experience, from art to usability to interaction."
What her peers say
Sheri: "Nicole is one of my favorite people to sit and talk with. Her insight into game design never fails to spark new ideas and new directions in my designs!
Her work has been groundbreaking in understanding where emotion and player-interaction combine to make really great games. She has given us a vocabulary to express how games affect us emotionally and a framework to help us put that understanding to work to build better games."