What Are Gamers Looking For?
Different people play games for different reasons; from wanting to feel a sense of competence to seeking an escape from real life, there are numerous motivations, desires, likes and dislikes that need to be considered when making a game. A gamer’s needs are satisfied by a game’s various components; its genres, themes, art styles, and gameplay mechanics.
Game creators have to take all these factors amongst many others into account while building a game. Also, let’s not forget that each genre has a different set of features that are unique to it.
The Game Developer’s Challenge
Gamers know what they want and have always made their feelings clear.
We all remember Anthem. The game TechRadar described as “a fun game wrapped up in a dull story and a repetitive end-game.” Anthem’s failure to capture the market was a very good indicator of why we should always put the gamer first and not the consumer.
With repetitive gameplay, a weak storyline, boring NPCs, and messy combat mechanics, the game had everything and nothing. What was missing was a clear understanding of what needs to be included and what doesn’t. It did not understand what the gamer wants?
Enter Game Comparison.
The concept is defined in the name; comparing two or more games on a few specific categories, like genre, price, platforms, ratings, developer, just as you would compare products in any e-commerce store.
The limitation with comparison tools, free or paid, is they are mainly consumer-focused. The tools available today are merely skimming across an ocean of potential. And hiding in the depths are actionable insights and information that is useful to not just the consumer, but game creators as well.
All comparisons today are for the consumer and not the gamer. They compare generic criteria like the price, user reviews, platforms, and so on, which provide the consumer with important information but what about the gamer? Herein lies the need for a more robust game comparison tool in the market.
Advantages Of A Game Comparison Tool
1. Understand Exactly What The Gamer Wants
The driving force behind any successful game is not the developer, publisher, or game designer, but the gamers who play them. The gamer who will advocate the brilliance of a game to their peers. We can all attest to the power of word of mouth.
No number of positive reviews, gameplay videos, or free merchandise, can ever take the place or provide the value that a “Hey. Have you tried this game, it’s awesome.” can. And to leverage the power of word of mouth marketing, you need to understand your audience. You need to understand what the gamer wants.
Here is where the power of game comparisons comes into play. Putting two or more games next to each other, we can dive deep into what exactly led to a game’s success. We can identify the lynchpin (or pins) that made the difference; was it the narrative? The theme? The graphics? The gameplay? Or a combination of them all? As games get bigger and the market more competitive, an in-depth feature comparison analysis is not just a growing need but a necessity!
2. Identify Features & Mechanics That Work
While building a game, developers have a plethora of features and mechanics to choose from. Granted, some mechanics and features are exclusive to a genre. For example, an MMO is defined by its massive online community and persistent game universe, without which the very essence of the genre would be lost. And some features are just commonplace in most game genres like a leaderboard, a health system, enemies, and so on.
With a 360-degree view of the game’s feature-set in relation to others, developers can identify important, and popular data-points that get the job done. They don’t have to rely on biased market analyses and unimaginative feedback from paid sources to understand what their game needs. They can look at the success of other studios and how they built their game.
3. Get A Holistic View Of The Competitor’s Offerings
You could build the best product in the world, become an overnight success but to continue doing what you love, you need to generate a constant revenue stream. And this narrative is true in the gaming industry as well.
A truly successful game does not stop engaging its audience after the first playthrough. It continues to bring the player back again and again with new levels, characters, challenges, upgrades, skins, and the list just keeps getting longer. Maybe it’s not the game content but the gameplay that is driving the player back to the game.
Let’s take the example of Candy Crush. Why is this Match 3 puzzle game so popular with audiences of all ages? They have created an experience designed to keep the player engaged. Everything from the bright colors and peppy background score to the life system is designed to keep the player matching cupcakes.
Throw in competitive triggers like the leaderboard and Beat the Clock mechanics and BOOM! you have a successful game in your hands.
4. Learn How To Stand Out In A Crowded Genre
A report published by Ars Technica in 2014 presented some interesting numbers.
“…out of the roughly 781 million games registered to Steam accounts,…only 493 million, or 63 percent, have been played even once.”
These numbers were true six years ago and they stand true today. The gaming industry is booming and every month hundreds of games are released into the market hoping to capture an already over-engaged audience. And truth be told, studios are struggling to carve a niche out for themselves in the crowd.
To truly succeed, you don’t just need a brilliant idea and big money, you need to know where to invest that money and how to execute that idea in a sustainable manner. Even large studios, with a large library of successful games and abundant resources at their disposal, get it wrong more often than they would like to admit.
Honestly, there is no right way to go about this. We can only choose the most effective way and if you have read this far, you probably know the answer; game content and feature comparison.
Looking into thousands of games individually is simply impractical, to truly leverage the power of game comparisons you need to look at them in small samples with multiple factors coming into play like the narrative, game design, game length, character development, and so on. It’s not just about the numbers but the feeling that each element in the game invokes in the player.
To create impactful games that sell, it is imperative to understand your audience, the competition and the market. Icarus burnt his wings because he flew too close to the sun, perhaps with the right research he would have lived to tell his story.
Looking to create the next best-selling game? Reach out to us to learn more about how Gameopedia can help you do just that.