Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Interesting Survey

Recently, a guy posted in the GameDev forums about a survey he was undertaking. He recently posted his results, you can view them here

The findings are very interesting and I highly recommend having a look, some of the results are quite surprising. The survey covered 7 key forum types and, while is by no means a complete demographic of everyone (2 different sections are to do with game content creation and they are all video game related), this is pretty much the target audience of any game that I will make in the next 5 years, so it is highly relevant for me. The survey recived a fairly impressive 1540 responses.

There are a couple of things which are particularly intriguing. Firstly, I am pleased to announce that RTS's are still near the top in popularity (unsurprisingly FPS is the no. 1, especially considering one of the forums is a HL2 one!)

Another result was that most people, unless they play for more than 24hrs, don't play more than for 12. Whether this is because games fail to hold their attention or because that after about 12 hours something else comes along is not clear. Should, as a developer, I use this as a guideline for how long the main portion of my game take to complete, or should I use this as a target? Ie. does it need to be about 12 hours or at least 12 hours.

Another key area of the survey is the "Key Aspects" which is what people want from a game. Unsuprisingly, looking at the list of forums, gameplay is at the top. However, people will inevitably put this, because when you are not playing a game, it is clear that this is what SHOULD matter. I found what came second and third to be more insightful. High up is depth and story. The thing that I personally find imporant, game customisation, was not voted that important. Given the forums, I find this suprising. The story is something I hadn't really considered, as I find that the best stories are player created. Whether people who voted story meant a system that would allow the player to experience their story I don't know, but the implication is not.

As for depth, I think this means things like back story continuity and things to do hours in to the game that you have only just found out about. Depth is somewhat of a buzz word, but ceartinaly something worth considering, as it came so high.

The survey did ask what price would people be prepared to pay for a decent game. The implied meaning of decent is one in which there is reliable evidence that the game will be good and to their taste. A question I would like to see answered is how much would people be prepared to pay for a game which has a less proven record. Not that people said it is bad, as no one wants to pay for something rubbish, but as an Indie developer, what would people be prepared to pay for a game which looks potentially good, but is very much a gamble.

See the results in full

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