Digitally augmenting sports: an opportunity for exploring and understanding novel balancing techniques

David Altimira, Florian 'Floyd' Mueller, Jenny Clarke, Gun Lee, Mark Billinghurst, Christoph Bartneck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Using game balancing techniques can provide the right level of challenge and hence enhance player engagement for sport players with different skill levels. Digital technology can support and enhance balancing techniques in sports, for example, by adjusting players' level of intensity based on their heart rate. However, there is limited knowledge on how to design such balancing and its impact on the user experience. To address this we created two novel balancing techniques enabled by digitally augmenting a table tennis table. We adjusted the more skilled player's performance by inducing two different styles of play and studied the effects on game balancing and player engagement. We showed that by altering the more skilled player's performance we can balance the game through: (i) encouraging game mistakes, and (ii) changing the style of play to one that is easier for the opponent to counteract. We outline the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, extending our understanding of game balancing design. We also show that digitally augmenting sports offers opportunities for novel balancing techniques while facilitating engaging experiences, guiding those interested in HCI and sports.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings, The 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsCliff Lampe
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781450333627
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016 - San Jose, United States of America
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016
Conference number: 34th (Website) (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2016
Abbreviated titleCHI 2016
CountryUnited States of America
CitySan Jose
Internet address


  • Exertion games
  • Game adjustment
  • Game balancing
  • Games
  • Handicapping
  • Physical games
  • Player engagement
  • Player performance
  • Sports

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