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Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) is home to Game User Research, Inc. (GUR), an organization that helps clients of all sizes engage in organized and effective user research, UX testing, and product evaluations. GUR is in its fourth year at HU, supporting the next generation of UX researchers and helping undergraduate students and recent graduates from research and design schools hone their careers in a supportive, technologically advanced environment.

“Game User Research advances Harrisburg University’s mission of ‘user research done right,’” said Charles Palmer, Associate Professor and Program Lead of Interactive Media at HU. “I’m thrilled that our students have this resource available to them, where they can engage with the latest techniques for studying analytics, carrying out ethnographic research, evaluating user experience studies, building effective UX, and iterating on major media and entertainment products.”

The new UPMC Health Sciences Tower at Harrisburg University, an 11-story, 260,000-square-foot academic and research space dedicated to advanced manufacturing, nursing, and collaborative research with industry partners, was a major catalyst for GUR’s expansion. The previous space would only allow for seven in-person participants, while the new lab facility provides space for 24 testers and Alienware Aurora computers with i9-series processors and 3080-series graphics cards.

User research vendors like GUR are designed to create authentic experiential learning opportunities for students by getting them directly involved in industry support activities, including:

  • Participant recruitment.
  • Script and survey creation.
  • Running usability and playtest data collection sessions.
  • Generating reports based on gathered data.
  • Delivering reports to developers, publishers, and other stakeholders.
  • Interacting with development teams to plan future studies and recommend changes or action items.

These tasks typically take place across several sessions and over multiple weeks or months, depending on the development cycle of the product. Marc Schodorf, Operations Manager for GUR, said of the process, “GUR strives to allow students to see the process and gain real-world experience of user research in the games industry while still learning the craft.”

Students from HU helped to playtest and assist with user research work for THQ Nordic, which published two AAA videogame titles in March 2024: Outcast: A New Beginning (Appeal Studios) and Alone in the Dark (Pieces Interactive).

Previously operating out of Orlando, Game User Research has since branched out to create new services and a wider market network. GUR now offers internships and career development opportunities to students and graduates across the country. Harrisburg University and GUR thank THQ Nordic for this fruitful collaboration and anticipate great work ahead as the partnership develops further.


Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717-901-5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.