The Games Institute acknowledges that we are living and working on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (also known as Neutral), Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River.
“At the heart of the enjoyment of games is the very real but hard-to-define gaming experience, something which combines the related concepts of "immersion", "optical experience", "presence", and "flow."
Welcome to IMMERSe!
The overarching goal of the network was to build a strategic games research network for an eight-year period, but once it got started IMMERSe became way more than that. IMMERSe represents a fully multidisciplinary, multimodal, multi-thematic, multi-institutional network. In all products and processes of IMMERSe, these “multi” identities interact with one another to elevate the quality and depth of the work. The legacy of IMMERSe is a showcase of games research that was profoundly improved by integrating “multi” approaches.
To learn more, choose a "Map" below!
IMMERSe was made possible by a SSHRC Partnership Grant, awarded to Dr. Neil Randall, Principal Investigator of IMMERSe and Executive Director of the Games Institute, and Dr. Karen Collins, Associate Professor and Canadian Research Chair in Interactive Audio, in May 2012. The grant went towards supporting the development of a long-term, formal partnership to advance research and knowledge mobilization in the social sciences and humanities ("Partnerships"). In addition to UWaterloo, the academic partners included Carleton, Concordia, McMaster, UOIT, UW and UC Davis. IMMERSe researchers conceptualize the "world of games" through a series of six “themes”: a lens through which researchers focus on specific aspects of games research.
On May 25, 2012, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) announced the awarding of a SSHRC Partnership Grant to the Games Institute to establish a research network for the study of games. As covered by the Kitchener Record, this network joins together six universities and six industry partners to conduct a wide range of studies in player immersion and behaviour in games.
Receiving the grant was a watershed moment for Games Research. IMMERSe was a student research funding system, with the money going towards students across institutions, disciplines, and years of study that were interested in the world of games. The network was able to reflect the whole comprehensive nature of the games world, which encompasses everything from story, to character, to cultural studies, all the way to art, user analysis, psychology, and even health studies.
In a field that is ever evolving a question of academic output is raised: “How do researchers study something as amorphous as games and when they do, what does it look like?” For a research syndicate such as IMMERSe there was no one answer. This is due in part to the vast varieties of games capable of being studied. Over its eight year run, IMMERSe contributors completed research in the areas of mobile games, virtual worlds, gambling games, simulation games, augmented reality games, and the full rich panoply of entertainment gaming. Each game brought with it various unique components and technologies for study, guiding research and encouraging the embrace of different focuses and interpretations of the media. Results of the network have ranged from published work in journals, anthologies, and books; to physical game development; to the exploration of research findings in presentations or conferences.
Descriptions of what the IMMERSe network is can only begin to touch the surface of its true nature. In fact, we believe that the truth of the network comes through in the research and the many wonderful events, publications, and projects IMMERSe researchers created over the years. We urge you to explore the website to discover for yourself.
The IMMERSe Network was a partnership between six academic institutions: