Sharpening the Gaming Experience with Consumer Research

The gaming industry has exploded in recent years. In fact, three out of every four American households today contain at least one gamer. 

To capture players’ attention and stand out amongst the many games on the market today, video game market research is critical. This consumer testing should extend beyond testing the software or the game itself. To succeed in today’s market, you must sharpen key elements of your game, marketing materials, and other post-release content. 

Let’s explore five of these things you should test with video game market research to create the ultimate player experience. 

1. Key art. 

Video game key art gives players a first impression of your game and a glimpse of what they can expect during gameplay. We wrote previously about how Netflix tests its key art. For video games, this kind of testing is equally important. 

Stephen Hey, a video game marketing veteran and consultant, describes key art this way in an article for PC Games Insider, “For me, key art must be dynamic, it must be true to the game, and tell a story, bring people into the action, the puzzle, the mystery. Give them a taste of what the game is about, distill a key moment into an image, add a bit of drama if necessary.”

By testing your video game’s key art on real video game enthusiasts and players, you can see if you hit the mark with your messaging and determine how well the key art represents what players can expect during gameplay.

2. Characters. 

In many games, characters are just as important as the stories and worlds they exist within. Conducting consumer research can help you sharpen your characters at various stages of development. Be creative with your open and closed-ended questions during consumer research. You can ask participants, for example, how much they relate to characters on a scale of 1-10. Follow up by asking why they relate or don’t relate to certain characters. This kind of qual/quant research can help you determine both if your characters are resonating with your target audience and what about the character should be changed or sharpened. 


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3. Story arcs. 

For video games that follow a narrative, the storyline is the backbone of the game. If anything is confusing, boring, or tedious, your players may lose interest. With consumer research, you can pinpoint which parts of the story confuse them, or where they happen to lose interest. On the flip side, testing can help you figure out which parts of the story are most interesting to consumers or how they’d like to see the story play out. This can, in some cases, completely reshape the storyline to create a more positive gaming experience. 

4. Marketing materials. 

Once your game is developed, the question becomes: how do we market it to our potential customers? 

First, you need to understand what kinds of audiences your game appeals to. Consumer research enables you to discover these target audiences and find out how best to appeal to them with your paid, earned, and owned marketing efforts based on behavioral, demographic, and competitive segmentation factors. 

With consumer research, you can also gain a better understanding of what characters, storylines, imagery, and messaging resonate the most with your audience. This will tell you what to dial up or down in your marketing materials. For example, if a character resonates with participants, it may be wise to highlight that character in your marketing materials. 

5. Episode tests.

Over the years, game developers have replicated their game worlds in the form of television series and movies with varying degrees of success. With TV adaptations of games, it’s critical to stay true to the game and satisfy fan expectations. 

By conducting an episode test on Invoke’s platform, teams discover what elements of their TV show resonate with their key audiences, which don’t, and why. These consumer insights empower teams to optimize their TV content and key elements for the best possible viewer experience. This content can also be used as an on-ramp to bring new consumers into the game and drive new gameplay. 

Create the Optimal Gaming Experience with Video Game Market Research from Invoke

There’s so much more to testing video games than testing the game itself. Elements of the game like characters and storylines and post-release marketing materials and content make up the video game’s ecosystem.  In a competitive market, it’s no longer enough to gauge your players’ reactions post-release. You must consistently test elements of gameplay and post-release efforts for an optimal experience and response. 

Luckily for today’s video game developers, sharpening key elements, marketing strategies, and post-release content is easier, faster, and more effective than ever before. We work with top gaming companies to help them unlock key insights, digging deeper into the “why” behind consumer behavior. All of this is done on our secure, patented market research platform in 60 to 90-minute sessions for deep qualitative and quantitative insight. 

Interested in learning more? Request a demo to see how Invoke can work for you. 

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