Playability and player experience in digital games for elderly: A systematic literature review

Antonio Rienzo, Claudio Cubillos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


A higher number of people increasingly uses digital games. This growing interest in games, with different objectives, justifies the investigation of some aspects and concepts involved, such as product quality (game), usability, playability, and user or player experience, topics investigated by the multidisciplinary area called Human–Computer Interaction (HCI). Although the majority of users of these games are children and young people, an increasing number of older adults join technology and use different types of digital games. Several studies establish the increase in learning, socialization and exercise promotion, and cognitive and psychomotor skills improvement, all within the context of active and healthy aging. The objective of this work is to carry out a systematic literature review investigating the player experience of the elderly in digital games. The work allowed answering five research questions that were formulated. The evolution and maturity level of the research area are studied together with the research methods used. The factors that motivate adults to play were also analyzed; what are the recommended technical characteristics for games and some tools and metrics with which games are evaluated for older adults? Research gaps were detected in the area; there are not many specific studies on playability and player experience applied to the older adult, nor are there proven tools and metrics to evaluate them. Particular techniques for assessing and designing games focused on older adults are lacking, and quantitative studies that better identify the factors that affect the playability and experience of older adults in digital games.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3958
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number14
StatePublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Digital games
  • Elderly
  • Mobile health applications
  • Playability
  • Player experience


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