Researching Games. Understanding Play. Helping People.


Research fields and foci

Transformative Effects

Why do we play? What is the purpose of fun? Can we design play experiences to improve our cognition, behavior, or emotions? Understanding play allows us to utilize beneficial transformative effects like motivation and learning caused by digital games in various domains such as health, education, and economy.


Interaction Design

We create, evaluate, and refine innovative and gameful interaction concepts for novel or experimental entertainment applications. There-fore, we synthesize knowledge from human computer interaction, cognitive psychology, and best practices from digital games.


User Experience

We follow a user-centered approach to develop intended user experiences: We evaluate our concepts and implementations in user studies and use qualitative as well as quantitative data assessed by self-reports, observation, video analysis, or physiological measures to inform design processes.


Social Play

Social interactions substantially determine the experience of playing digital games. We investigate social experiences as a result of various influencing factors given in specific gaming contexts. We aim at under-standing group dynamics and social-psychological processes during play in order to comprehend their impact on the overall player experience.


Virtual Reality

We investigate the design and application of VR games and explore the benefits and challenges of VR as a novel interaction technology. Ranging from VR interaction design to game specific domains like VR level design, 360° storytelling, and player navigation, we create compelling VR experiences for specific target groups.



    We want to determine if we can use digital virtual characters in virtual reality (VR) to improve the detection and diagnosis of depressed children and adolescents in real life.For this purpose, we...

  • ELI-VR

    We aim to improve primary school children's learning of mathematics through spatial sensorimotor experiences in virtual reality (VR). In school, mathematical structures are predominantly taught...

Recent Publications

  • Patrizia Ring and Maic Masuch. Measuring collision anxiety in xr exergames. In 2023 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces Abstracts and Workshops (VRW), 2023, pp. 627-628. (2023)
  • Linda Graf, Isabelle Passreiter, Joerg-Tobias Kuhn and Maic Masuch. Mats - an adhd-specific mental health app: evidence-based recommendations for designing assistive applications for adhd families. In 11th International Conference on Serious Games and Applications for Health, 2023. (2023)
  • Linda Graf, Gertraud Gradl-Dietsch and Maic Masuch. Depressed virtual agents: development of a playful vr application for the training of child and adolescent psychiatry students. In Accepted at 23rd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2023. (2023)
  • Philipp Sykownik, Sukran Karaosmanoglu, Katharina Emmerich, Frank Steinicke and Maic Masuch. Vr almost there: simulating co-located multiplayer experiences in social virtual reality. In Proceedings of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2023, pp. 1–19. (2023)
  • Linda Graf, Felix Born, Sophie Abramowski and Maic Masuch. Emotional virtual characters for improving motivation and performance in vr exergames. Accepted in Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction 7 (CHI PLAY), 2023, pp. . (2023)
  • Oliver Basu, Stefan Liszio, Linda Graf, Bernd Schweiger, Martin Stenzel and Maic Masuch. Der pingunauten trainer - spielerisches training zur mrt-vorbereitung mit virtual reality. Kongress fuer Kinder und Jugendmedizin, 2022. (2022)
  • Linda Graf, Maximilian Altmeyer, Katharina Emmerich, Marc Herrlich, Andrey Krekhov and Katta Spiel. Development and validation of a german version of the player experience inventory (pxi). Mensch und Computer 2022-Tagungsband, 2022. (2022)
  • Linda Graf, Sophie Abramowski, Melina Bassfeld, Kirsten Gerschermann, Marius Griesshammer, Leslie Scholemann and Maic Masuch. Emotional support companions in virtual reality. In Proceedings of the 2022 IEEE Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR), IEEE, 2022, pp. 634-635. (2022)
  • Philipp Sykownik, Divine Maloney, Guo Freeman and Maic Masuch. Something Personal from the Metaverse: Goals, Topics, and Contextual Factors of Self-Disclosure in Commercial Social VR. In (eds.), Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI 2022, ACM Press, 2022, pp. 1–17. (2022)