vrijdag 15 juli 2011

Tell me who you are

Hello developers/fans/people who accidentally landed on this site,

Today we have tested one of our new games, which is (surprisingly) a super secret game.
Of course this is a very interesting process. If you like to read more about test days, you can read about it in an earlier post of Stijn.
But unfortunately for this project there's not much to tell, because the game is such a big secret.
Instead of boring you by telling how great this game is going to be and that you can play it really soon, I like to tell you about something else: target audiences.

Target audiences? Why?
As you may already know, at Xform we like to make games that we ourselves love to play. But that doesn’t mean we don’t listen to our player base. We just want to know who they are, where they are from and why they especially like to play our games.

Target audiences are very important. For every product. For every game. Whether you are creating console games, mobile games or browser based games, you need to know what kind of people (are going to) play your games.
Are they kids or adults? Male or female? At what age? When do they play games and how much time do they spend on it? Do they play alone or with friends?

Knowing who they are and what they like is very valuable information when making a game. It’s most common to use this information for marketing and promotional activities, but you can also use it for game design.
This doesn’t mean you should base the entire game production on target audience facts. After all game development is a creative process and it is fun to surprise your audience with things they don’t expect. But, for example, if you know that your type of game is mostly being played by people that do not spend more than half an hour per day on gaming, then it doesn’t make sense to create levels with loads of side quests and fights that will take at least two hours to finish. Although this may seem quite obvious, there are just too many games that don’t match with their target audience.
You can also use your target audience analyses to treat your audience on extras like special enemies or funny easter eggs. They will appreciate it!

How to define my target audience?
To define your target audience you have to do research. And of course there are millions of options to start with this.
If you have a lot of money you can spend it on an exclusive research institute that will do all the work for you. Or you can hire some specialists and start a research department at your own office. Unfortunately, at Xform we don’t have this opportunity yet. We have to do the research by ourselves, which is actually very interesting.

My advice for starting with your research is to keep it small and simple. Stay close to your company and take advantage of all the information about game target audiences that already exists. Believe me, you can spend hours on reading books and web articles about this. Now it’s your task to find out which information is valuable for your game.

If this is the first game you’re working on you might start to take a closer look at similar games from the same type of platform. What kind of people play this games? They might want to play your game too.
When you already developed some games you can also do research on these games. Find out what’s the target audience from your previous games. Internet offers you some interesting tools that might be useful for this. Every social media site has an option to track down user data and information from your fans.

We also started to use Google Analytics for our Xform website to see who are interested in our company and games. So now we can see how many and for how long people visit our site, if they were looking for something in particular or that they just
accidentally stumbled upon it.
A lot of information might surprise you. I didn’t know most of the visitors on our homepage are from Brazil:

visits on the Xform website (last two weeks)

Have a nice weekend!

- Shirley

1 opmerking:

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