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Nicole Lazzaro

Advisor San Francisco Bay Area, US

President, XEODesign, Inc, XEOPlay, Inc. and Member, International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Stanford grad.

President, XEODesign, Inc, XEOPlay, Inc. and Member, International Game Developers Association (IGDA). Stanford grad.

11 vouches

Involved In


San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program


Wonder Workshop
PlayFirst, Inc.
LeapFrog Enterprises
Nexon Mobile
Warner Brothers Online
Playdom/Walt Disney Interactive
San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program
The White House
LucasArts Entertainment
Electronic Arts (EA)
Singapore Civil Servant College
San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program


President XEOPlay, Inc. March 2010 - present
Member International Game Developers Association (IGDA) 2000 - present
President XEODesign, Inc. 1992 - present
Consultant Play-i 2014 - 2014
Keynote Speaker Ski Area Management 2014 - 2014
Presenter Gamification Summit 2011 - 2014
Speaker Casual Connect 2005 - 2014
Lecturer Game Developers Conference 1994 - 2014
Presenter 800 Birds 2013 - 2013
Consultant Kabam 2013 - 2013
Consultant Author and Speaker IBM 2012 - 2013
Consultant at Rocket Play 2012 - 2012
Consultant at Ubisoft 2011 - 2012
Presenter BlogHer 2011 - 2011
Consultant EA 2002 - 2010
Presenter BayCHI 1994 - 2010
Presenter Institute for the Future 2009 - 2009
Consultant iWin, Inc. 2008 - 2009
Consultant PlayFirst, Inc. 2005 - 2009
Consultant LucasArts 2005 - 2009
Consultant Nickelodeon 2008 - 2008
Consultant Three Rings Design 2008 - 2008
Consultant Cheyenne Mountain Entertainment 2008 - 2008
Consultant Bioware 2007 - 2007
Consultant UGOBE 2007 - 2007
Consultant Disney Interactive Studios 2007 - 2007
Consultant Her Interactive 2006 - 2006
Consultant Cisco Systems 2006 - 2006
Consultant at GoPets 2006 - 2006
Guest Lecturer USC School of Cinematic Arts 2005 - 2006
Consultant Roxio 2001 - 2005
Consultant Leap Frog Technology Inc. 1995 - 2005
Consultant for Ubisoft 2003 - 2003
Consultant The Learning Company 1998 - 2000
Consultant Broderbund 1993 - 2000
Co-Founder, Curriculum Advisor and Instructor San Francisco State University Multimedia Studies Program October 1992 - March 1998
Designer Consultant at Interval Research 1998 - 1998
Consultant Sony Online Entertainment 1994 - 1996
Consultant at Pop Rocket Games 1994 - 1995
Consultant Mindscape 1994 - 1994


Stanford University Cognitive Psychology

Interested In

Markets of Interest
  • • 3D Printing
  • • Consumer Electronics
  • • Data & Analytics
  • • Education
  • • Enterprise Software
  • • Games
  • • Green
  • • Healthcare
  • • Mobile
  • • Productivity Tools
  • • Robotics
  • • Smart Home
  • • Social Impact
  • • Wearable Tech
  • • Edutainment
  • • Lifelong Learning (outside of school)
  • • Higher Education
  • • Quantified-self
  • • Wellness

You Should Know About Me

Key Accomplishments

Nicole Lazzaro, the founder (in 1992) and President of XEODesign, Inc., has twenty years expertise in Player Experience Design (PXD) for mass-market entertainment products. Widely recognized as one of the top women working in video games and a pioneering, leading figure in mobile and social games, Fast Company considers Nicole one of the 100 most influential women in high tech, and Gamasutra voted her one of the Top 20 women working in video games. Nicole has spoken at the US State Department, and has been cited by Wired, Fast Company, ABC News, CNN, CNET, The Hollywood Reporter, and Red Herring. She has improved over 100 million player experiences and has worked with EA, Ubisoft, D.I.C.E., Lucas Arts, Disney, PlayFirst, The Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon on such popular franchises as three of the Myst series, Diner Dash, Fusion Fall, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Jeopardy Online, as well as creativity coaching for the designers of The Sims.

Nicole was the first person to use facial expressions to measure player experiences and has done ground breaking research on the relationship of emotion to games:

Published in 2004 her research discovered that people’s favorite player experiences (PX) generate strong emotions to create engagement. Called the Four Keys to Fun, Nicole found that best selling games offer at least three of four play styles: the Hard Fun from challenge and mastery, Easy Fun from exploration and role play, Serious Fun for relaxation and real work, and People Fun from the excuse to hang out with friends. The Four Keys to Fun framework for how games create engagement with emotion has inspired hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide to craft more emotions from play including world famous authors such as Raph Koster, Jesse Schell, Tom Chatfield, and Jane McGonigal. With the Four Keys to Fun developers access player's emotional response to innovate early in the development cycle where there is much less risk.

Vouches Received

Vouches Given

Think Nicole is awesome?
Vouch for them.

Kate Connally
We worked together
Nicole had a fresh take on games and gamified experiences. Paired with a strong business minded partner she can bring her ideas to market.
Randy Angle
We worked together
Nicole is very good at the people side of business, and truly understands how to represent value of the user in product design. She is a gre ... at public speaker and knows an amazing amount about our industry. I've collaborated with Nichole before and we've spoken together at a few industry conferences. I trust her judgement and insight into new businesses.
Jerry Michalski
We worked together
Nicole creates compelling models of hard-to-corral things like emotion and behavior, then implements them in compelling ways. She has a dept ... h and understanding of her craft that few can match, coupled with a terrific sense of aesthetics. Did I mention she's also a great collaborator? She is.
Teddy Zmrhal
We worked together
She already is!
Mark Terrano
They're my advisor
Nicole has insight into people, the choices they make, and the science to know why. Her products are well designed, thoughtful, and have a ... conscience. I've followed Nicole's research in my industry for many years - her 'four keys' insights are now common terms in our (video game development) industry.
Erik Bethke
We worked together
Nicole has that hungry and drive to irrationally run through walls everyday. She is also a great communicator and and break complex ideas d ... own into actionable bits.
Geoffrey Zatkin
We worked together
Nicole sees a problem, figures out a solution and executes.
Eve Blossom
They're my friends
Nicole is a very creative entrepreneur with years of experience in developing technology, starting companies, building products and executin ... g strategy.
Margaret Wallace
We worked together
Nicole is a leading expert on what makes games and other interactive experiences more fun. Additionally, she has been a long-time entreprene ... ur with a track record for success.

They're my advisor
She already is one. She gets things done.
Don Daglow
3-time Inc. 500 CEO, Tech & Engineering Emmy® Award honoree, produced 2 of first 3 EA sports titles, Advisor to Mobile App and Games teams.
Nicole has already been a successful entrepreneur for many years. She is one of the top experts in the world in how to inspire emotion in g ... ames, and this is just part of a broad range of UX and interactivity expertise she has earned through years of work. I endorse her confidently.

Don Daglow
We worked together  •  3-time Inc. 500 CEO, Tech & Engineering Emmy® Award honoree, produced 2 of first 3 EA sports titles, Advisor to Mobile App and Games teams.
Don is seasoned games entrepreneur having built many A level teams including running his own studio. He's an exceptional mentor, advisor, an ... d positive influence on everyone he meets. When experience matters, Don's experience counts!