WHITE PAPER: The Player Experience of Need Satisfaction (PENS) (2007)


WHITE PAPER: The Player Experience of Need Satisfaction (PENS) (2007)

By Scott Rigby & Richard Ryan

This white paper reviews our underlying need satisfaction model and its application. We generally try to update this paper every couple of years with our latest research information. This version was updated in Sept, 2007 (we know…we’re due for an update. It’s in the works!)


Based on years of research and a multidisciplinary team that combines experience in interactive product development, motivational theory and psychometric testing, Immersyve has developed an indepth model of games that identifies and measures those elements of the player experience that are most deeply satisfying and valued. In research with more than 7500 video game players, Immersyve’s Player Experience of Need Satisfaction model (PENS) has consistently demonstrated that:

  • PENS has statistically proven power in predicting not only fun/enjoyment, but also game ratings, sales, developer loyalty, and sustained player interest.
  • PENS is a more detailed and precise model of “fun” and player satisfaction that provides both heuristic value to developers as they seek to design games to achieve specific goals, as well as analytic value in evaluating games both within and across genres.
  • PENS indices have specific links with game features and controls that aid in development, design, and potentially even optimizing marketing and positioning of projects (by highlighting features and aspects of gameplay that resonate most strongly with the player’s expectations of need satisfaction).

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