About

Celia Hodent, PhD is an expert in game UX (user experience) and cognitive psychology. She is a consultant, speaker, and acclaimed author of The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design & The Psychology of Video Games.


Dr. Celia Hodent, PhD - expert on video games UX

I have a PhD in Psychology from the University of Paris 5 Sorbonne (France). I’m specialized in cognitive development (my thesis was about language-specific effects on number computation in toddlers). The performance, limitations, and biases of the human brain will never cease to fascinate me.

I’m the GDC UX Summit Chair and an adviser for the GDC UX Summit, so I’m always looking for interesting speakers to talk about Game UX for the conferences I help curate.

Having a UX mindset means putting humans first; putting users’ (players’) interests above business goals. Which is why I care about ethics and kicked off the Ethical Games initiative with academics and game developers.

2005 – 2009

I grew up playing a lot of games, including video games; because of this I felt compelled to walk away from academic research and enter the gaming industry. I first joined Vtech, a toy and educational game manufacturer, in 2005.

In 2008, I started an exciting quest about how cognitive science can help improve the player experience at Ubisoft’s Strategic Innovation Lab think tank (Ubisoft HQ, France). I worked more specifically with the ‘Games for Everyone’ department, on the My Coach series for Nintendo DS. I also developed a training session exploring how the brain learns for Ubisoft’s Design Academy.

2009 – 2013

I joined Ubisoft Montreal and worked in the esteemed Playtest Lab department to focus on user research and user experience. I conducted research and participated in design discussions for many cool Ubisoft franchises, such as Rainbow 6, Driver, Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Watch Dogs. Later, I worked at LucasArts on Star Wars: 1313 and Star Wars: First Assault (and some iOS games) only to see them cancelled. Sadly, the LucasArts studio closed shortly thereafter.

2013 – 2017

I joined Epic Games as Director of User Experience to develop UX practices and strategy for the studio. I mostly worked on Fortnite, but also on Unreal Engine 4, Paragon, Battle Breakers, SpyjinxRobo Recall (VR) and other projects.

2017 – Present
I left Epic Games on October 2017 to become an independent consultant, working with companies from all over the world on video games UX and other projects. I’m also a member of the Comité de la prospective(CNIL, whose mission is to protect personal data, support innovation, and preserve individual liberties) since May 2018.

About This Website

My main goal with this site is to share my knowledge and experience about how psychology can help offer a better experience for players, in the most concrete and applicable way possible. Offering a better UX also means making a video game (or other products or services) more likely to be successful and reach business goals, while respecting the users. Thus, ethical considerations are equally critical when adopting a UX mindset.

I’m currently doing freelance consulting work. If you’re interested, you can visit this page. I’m also happy to exchange ideas around game UX, cognitive psychology, video games, inclusion, or ethics.

Recent Talks

Visit my YouTube channel for even more videos of my talks about video games UX, education, cognitive psychology, game design, and games in general. You will also find videos from the Game UX Summit.

Of Brains & Interfaces – UNESCO Netexplo
The Success of Fortnite: A Psychology & UX Perspective

Talking about “The Gamer’s Brain” book and video games UX for The Triangulation podcast.

Books

The Gamer's Brain book by Celia Hodent -- all about the UX of video games and the psychology behind it.

My Best-Selling Book:

Hodent, C. (2017). The Gamer’s Brain: How Neuroscience and UX can Impact Video Game Design. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and CRC Press

Now available in French, Japanese, and Korean (soon in Russian).


The Psychology of Video Games, book by Celia hodent

My New Book:

Hodent, C. (2020). The Psychology of Video Games. Oxon: Routledge. Available on Amazon, Kindle, and Routledge


Interviews, articles, book chapters, & more


  • Ethical Games – Check the ethicalgames.org initiative which I’m leading with other game developers and academic researchers.
  • Game UX Summit – Check the yearly conference Game UX Summit, for which I’m chair.
  • You can find all my upcoming and past public talks and masterclasses on this page.

Do you have a video games UX or other project you’d like to discuss with me?
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