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James Robb

James Robb

Associate Teaching Professor

Game Development and Entrepreneurship

Faculty of Business and Information Technology

Contact information

Software and Informatics Research Centre (SIRC) - Room 4384
North Oshawa
2000 Simcoe Street North
Oshawa, ON L1G 0C5

905.721.8668 ext. 2407

Research topics

  • e-sports
  • interactive spectatorship
  • game design
  • games user research
  • player experience


James Robb is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Faculty of Business and Information Technology at Ontario Tech University. He teaches courses on game design and co-ordinates the Game Development Workshop within the Game Development and Entrepreneurship program. Although his specialization is game design, he has explored many areas in games research throughout his time at the university. During his undergraduate studies, he worked as a research assistant, building serious games for advertisement and training, where he developed an interest in the research side of game development. This led him to graduate studies where he focused on understanding the design of informative game audio and earned his Master of Computer Science. Currently, James is working toward completing his PhD part-time, although his research focus has moved into the world of e-sports and livestreamed game content. This shift came due to a large portion of his thesis focusing on how different kinds of game audio affected the player's experience. As livestreaming has become more popular, he has become interested in understanding not only the role and experience of the player, but of the spectators of livestreamed content as well.

He also works closely with the Game Development Society at the university to organize the annual GameCon event, where students publicly showcase their finished game projects. Every year approximately 40 student teams set up booths for their games, where they present their work to the public and are graded by their professors on relevant pieces of their game. Students and other showcase visitors  are encouraged to vote for their favourite games from each student cohort; the results are announced during an awards ceremony at the end of the event.

Courses taught

  • Digital Game Design
  • Intermediate Game Design
  • Game Development Workshop I and II (years 1 and 3)
  • Game Design & Production II
  • Discrete Mathematics
  • Computer Architecture
  • Capstone Study Project I and II


  • Journal articles
    • Stahlke, S., Robb, J., Mirza-Babaei, P. (2018). “Fall of the Fourth Wall: Designing and Evaluating Interactive Spectator Experiences.” International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations, 10(1).
    •  Robb, J., Garner, T., Collins, K. and Nacke, L. (2017). “The Impact of Health-Related User Interface Sounds on Player Experience.” Simulation and Gaming, 48(3), p.402-427. doi:10.1177/1046878116688236
  • Conference papers
    • Nacke, L., Costa, J., Kappen, D., Robb, J. and Buckstein, D. (2014). “Developing Iconic and Semi-Iconic Game Controllers.” In: CHI PLAY ’14: Proceedings of the first ACM SIGCHI annual symposium on Computer-human interaction in play, Toronto ON, Canada, p.435. ISBN 978-1-4503-3014-5
    • Kappen, D., Mirza-Babaei, P., Johannsmeier, J., Buckstein, D., Robb, J. and Nacke, L. (2014). “Engaged by boos and cheers: the effect of co-located game audiences on social player experience.” In: CHI PLAY ’14: Proceedings of the first ACM SIGCHI annual symposium on Computer-human interaction in play, Toronto ON, Canada, p.151. ISBN 978-1-4503-3014-5
    • Costa, J., Robb, J., and Nacke, L. (2014). “Physiological acrophobia evaluation through in vivo exposure in a VR CAVE.” In: 2014 IEEE Games Media Entertainment Conference, Toronto ON, Canada. 
    • Wehbe, R., Robb, J., Clarke, J., Costa, J. and Nacke, L. (2014). “Design Guidelines for Gamifying Reading Applications.” In: 2014 IEEE Games Media Entertainment Conference, Toronto ON, Canada. 
    • Costa, J., Wehbe, R., Robb, J. and Nacke, L. (2013). “Time’s up: Studying Leaderboards for Engaging Punctual Behaviour.” In: Gamification 2013: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Gameful Design, Research, and Applications, Stratford ON, Canada, p.26. ISBN: 978-1-4503-2815-9
  • Student game demos
    • Robb, J., Buckstein, D., Hogue, A. (2012). “Hydrocarbon: A Game for Teaching Chemical Principles to Science Students.” In: Extended Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Fun and Games, Toulouse, France, p.14. ISBN: 978-2-917490-21-1