Game makers: How well do you know your gamers?

3 Posted by - November 22, 2012 - Opinion, Player Insight

Just how well do you know your gamers? Game publishers tend to think of their targeted demographics in relatively broad terms, ie. predominantly male, college aged, loves RPGs. But to truly build a meaningful relationship with your gaming community you have to understand, appreciate, and communicate with each user in a personal and contextual way.

For instance, if you really want to be able to connect with me as a gamer, you have to understand that:

  • I typically play on my Xbox 360, but lately I been playing more and more PC games.
  • I jump into shorter gaming sessions on the weekdays, less than one hour per session because of limited time, but I can go through marathon sessions on the weekends, lasting three to six hours at a time.
  • I love sampling different types of games, but when it comes to RPGs and shooters, I can sink in over 100 hours easily.
  • I typically play two games in rotation, so if I start to play a new game, that usually means one of the games I was playing is going to drop off my radar.
  • Once I stop playing a game, I rarely ever go back, so if you’ve really interesting new DLC or content, you better make sure you bring it to my attention before I move on.
  • I play over two dozen games a year, but I don’t always have to be the first on my block to play the latest and great game that just got released. In fact, I love when games go on sale, as it tends to remind me to pick something up that I may have missed before.
  • I love trying new types of games, so if I discover a cool game, whether a Facebook game, indie game, or something else, I’ll sample it. You can tell when I’m hooked: You’ll see me climb in my Raptr rank to Hardcore or above (top 20 % of all gamers).
  • When I’m not playing games, I’m surfing the web reading up on them and discussing things with other gamers. I can be a game’s biggest evangelist if I’m hooked.

As a game maker, if you don’t know this about me, then you will always be challenged with spending more resources in getting my attention, convincing me to buy your game, and keeping me engaged while playing. In fact, when game makers aren’t smart about how to win me over as a gamer, it’s not only costly, it also turns me off. I don’t need to see another Halo ad if I already own the game. If I never play sports games, don’t constantly send me emails about Madden. Sony: Stop sending me discounts on Vita games, because I don’t own a Vita. See what I mean?

Game developers and publishers have to go deeper to understand their fan base. Doing so doesn’t just unlock a gold mine of opportunity, it’s the only way to survive in this dramatically evolving gaming landscape. The companies that do this well are now dominating marketshare.

Working at Raptr, I’ve come to appreciate how we track such gamer behavior and how such information, if properly utilized, can help both gamers and game makers. I appreciate when game makers know enough about me to engage with me in a meaningful way, and I think I represent most gamers when I say this.