Professor, Stratford School / Communication Arts | Associate Director, Graduate Studies, Stratford

Profile picture of Dr. Lennart NackeLennart Nacke is a tenured Professor of UX Research and Design for games with two decades of successful experience researching games and gamification. He is the Director of the HCI Games Group at the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute and the Associate Director, Graduate Studies, of the Stratford School.

As a result of his passion for player research, he has published 200+ papers, was recognized as one of 10 HCI scholars of the last decade and listed among the 2% of scientists worldwide based on citations and application of his research.

He is researching player experience in video games, immersive VR environments, and gameful applications. Together with co-researchers, he published the PXI — player experience inventory, gamification user types hexad scale, guidelines for biofeedback and sound design in games, and a book on games user research. He is one of the world's top three leading gamification scholars (on Google Scholar), one of the world's top three leading UX researchers (on Google Scholar) and one of Canada's Top 200 and the world's Top 4,000 Computer Scientists. He is passionate about how we can use games and play to increase our well-being and health to live more fulfilled lives.

His approach to life is to keep it playful and to socialize over karaoke at conferences. You can find him writing daily on LinkedInTwitter, and his website.


  • DEI 626, (UX) User Experience Fundamentals and User Research, since Winter 2017
  • DAC 305, Design and User Experience of Interactive Games, since Fall 2018
  • DAC 204, Introduction to Game Design, since Fall 2015
  • GBDA 402, Cross-Cultural Digital Business 2, Winter 2017
  • GBDA 401, Cross-Cultural Digital Business, Fall 2015

Research and Teaching Interests

Game design and gamification: Involves the use of game design principles in systems that primarily support non-game tasks, with the goal of increasing fun, engagement and motivation. Dr. Nacke has been involved in the definition of the term and leading the academic movement in workshop and conference settings. His students have created several games that were deployed outside of gaming contexts, such as finance, social networks, and fitness.

Games user research: Developing new methods and tools for improving player testing and user research in games and entertainment systems. Dr. Nacke works closely together with the International Game Developers Association Special Interest Group on Games User Research and he has served on their steering committee in the past.

Games for human well-being and fitness: Making sports, physiological exercise, and health applications more playful has become one of Dr. Nacke's recent research focus areas, especially in light of the recent increase in sensor use and the quantified self-movement. As part of this, he has investigated how to foster healthy habits, such as sticking to fitness routines and engaging older adults with technology. His students have developed their own apps, and his research team has worked with companies such as Ayogo Health, Inc. in Vancouver, British Columbia, to analyze social health games on Facebook. A recent Engage grant with Vintage Fitness in Toronto supported a project to develop a gamified online fitness service to keep older adults fit and healthy. 

VR: Finding novel sensors and interaction paradigms that drive the manner in which we interact with computers in a meaningful
and engaging way in virtual reality.

Select Publications

  • Nacke, Lennart E. and Deterding, C. Sebastian (2017) Editorial: The maturing of gamification research. Computers in Human Behaviour. 450–454. ISSN 0747-563

  • Drachen, Anders, Pejman Mirza-Babaei, and Lennart E. Nacke, eds. Games user research. Oxford University Press, 2018.

  • Gustavo F. Tondello, Rina R. Wehbe, Lisa Diamond, Marc Busch, Andrzej Marczewski, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2016. The Gamification User Types Hexad Scale. In Proceedings of the 2016 Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '16). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 229–243.

  • Katja Rogers, Sukran Karaosmanoglu, Maximilian Altmeyer, Ally Suarez, and Lennart E. Nacke. 2022. Much Realistic, Such Wow! A Systematic Literature Review of Realism in Digital Games. In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '22). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 190, 1–21.

  • Abeele, Vero Vanden, Katta Spiel, Lennart Nacke, Daniel Johnson, and Kathrin Gerling. "Development and validation of the player experience inventory: A scale to measure player experiences at the level of functional and psychosocial consequences." International Journal of Human-Computer Studies 135 (2020): 102370.

  • Sebastian Deterding, Dan Dixon, Rilla Khaled, and Lennart Nacke. 2011. From game design elements to gamefulness: defining "gamification". In Proceedings of the 15th International Academic MindTrek Conference: Envisioning Future Media Environments (MindTrek '11). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 9-15. DOI=10.1145/2181037.2181040

Awards and honours

  • Recognition of Service Award from Chairing CHI PLAY, 2014
  • Recognition of Service Award from Games and Entertainment Community Spotlight at CHI, 2014
  • Best Programming Award at Ubisoft Academia Competition, 2014 (Team Clan Combat Supervisor)
  • Best Marketing Plan Award at Ubisoft Academia Competition, 2013 (Team Euphoria Supervisor)
  • Visiting Lecturer at University of Sussex (2012 - 2013)
  • CSCW 2012 Best Paper (Top 1% of peer-reviewed accepted publications)



Connect with Lennart

Email icon
Phone icon   519-888-4567 ext. 37822
Office icon  EC1 1309 (Games Institute) / DMS 3012
Website icon
Twitter icon   @acagamic 
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University of Waterloo

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