GDC 2024 is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

View, browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. With this Session Viewer, you can view session and speaker details for Game Developers Conference 2024.

You will be able to build your schedule with the GDC Mobile App. The GDC 2024 app will be available for download in Apple Apps and Google Play late February 2024.

Sessions do fill up and seating is first come, first serve, so arrive early to sessions that you would like to attend. Adding a session to your schedule does not guarantee you a seat.

UX Summit: Difficult Games by Data and Design

Sebastian Long  (Managing Director, Player Research)

Lanie Dixon  (Director of Insights, Ubisoft Montreal)

Location: Room 3016, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 18

Time: 10:50 am - 11:50 am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: Intermediate

Deciding your games difficulty is, ironically, difficult

Finding 'Goldilocks' frustration — not too hard, not too easy — is perilously tough. Player feedback is essential in the search for 'just right': finding players' 'flow' by controlling the many variables, and examining the experiential outcomes.

Capturing player data on difficulty offers clarity, but also potential ruin. There are many approaches to game balancing through feedback: internal play sessions, analytics, user research, QA and more… In isolation each is a flawed and biased picture of 'difficulty'. Only in combination can these approaches paint the full picture, directing teams to make confident and effective adjustments to difficulty balance.

This talk presents practical, player-centric, tried-and-tested approaches to capture feedback on game difficulty from players and peers, bringing together lessons from multiple genres. Attendees will leave with a clear strategy on how to define difficulty, and how player feedback can make it easier to make the game harder.


Attendees will leave with a clearer strategy on how player feedback should and should not be used in search of balanced and inclusive video game difficulty. Practical approaches for teams to fine-tune game difficulty using player feedback, with lessons from top-tier games and our decades of research experience.

Intended Audience

Product leads, design leads, game economists and producers in search of approaches to difficulty balancing. Teams working on eSports or highly competitive PvP titles, or live-ops games seeking approaches to better understand the longer-term experience of play — including difficulty.

Connecting the Global Game Development Community

GDC Vault icon
Game Developers Choice Awards icon
Independent Games Festival (IGF) icon icon