It can be said that for game developers - just like for other creators or companies - the primary goal should be to monetize their work as best as possible. Before starting the project, the target group should already be defined. If you want your product to have a chance to perform at its best in terms of visibility, the question you should start with is: what is currently in demand and who could my potential audience be?
In this short guide, we'll tell you what the most important factors are for a well-described target audience and explain why creating a profile of your potential audience is important for your game as an object of its development and promotion.
Why do we define the target group?
Creating a target group and being aware of its characteristics helps not only designers, but also marketers, who consistently from the beginning of the game's development should already know to whom to direct messages related to informing about the various stages of work and building good relationships with gamers. At such stages the aim will be, of course, to take care of the growing interest in the game being created in such a way that at the soft - and later - hard launch, the game will meet the expectations of the players, without whom, incidentally, the game concept is incomplete. Knowing the target group means knowing "on whom" we will be able to test all versions of the game and ask for feedback.
In order to properly build a target group, we need to have a player-centered approach, and then create the so-called personas for the game. Such actions are characteristic for all UX applications - User Experience, but also for games, whose intuitiveness and functionality must meet the needs, and in order to meet them we must in turn determine who the person we want to reach might be. Information about the player should primarily focus on the following points:
- relationship status
- place of residence
- devices on which he/she plays
When we have already written down all of these points, we can proceed to a broader description of our personas. It is worth undertaking a strategy of writing down for example a sample daily schedule of such a person, the degree of his/her workload or the number of activities performed during the day. In this case we will know, for example, his/her potential time spent on fun (including gaming).
Thanks to Facebook's exemplary analytical tool - Audience Insights, we can check which users gather around games similar to the one we would like to create. It will also be useful to make a list of games similar in theme to our planned game - both those that have achieved success and those that do not necessarily receive interest, because the questions that will arise on the way of exploring the titles, will make us analyze even more closely who is the person playing the given games.
Examples of questions we might ask ourselves when looking for a target group might be:
- What kind of elements could such a group lack in similar games?
- What platforms are of interest to this group?
- Do these players prefer single or multiplayer gameplay?
- What kind of game dynamics do they enjoy?
- How demanding are they in terms of in-game graphics?
- Do they prefer long (story-driven) games or rather short and more action-packed games?
- How important is personalization to our players?
- How do our players feel about violence (this section will also be related to age, which is one of the main criteria for targeting)
- Are our players experienced or rather casual? (important in the context of determining the genre of the game - in the case of inexperienced players we will know, for example, that we have to aim at the hyper-casual genre)
These and other questions can be very diverse, of course, and their analysis will imply further questions. For the marketing and design team, all such data is extremely crucial.
It is worth adding that something that can significantly narrow down our potential target group and help us in the selection is the subject of the game. As we know, there is such a group of people as thematic gamers, who, regardless of (even) the quality of the game, are willing to test the product associated with something that simply interests them - there's a really good chance that a basketball fanatic will be interested in a new title, whose main (or even side) thread will be his hobby/passion. Maybe this is where you should start when building your target audience? Ask yourself what people are intrigued by at a given time/is there something that makes people reach for certain themed games more often? What characteristics do such games have and what characteristics do their recipients have in common?
Building a game for the target group
You have to remember that it is certainly more effective to first characterize a strong target group and then build a game for it. Doing the opposite can unfortunately very often turn out to be disastrous and make your game very unknown and unappreciated. Remember that building a community around your emerging game (especially at the pre-development stage) can bring a lot of benefits. Conducting surveys or asking questions to potential players will allow you to adjust the content and graphics to make the game attractive and keep the audience waiting for further updates. In conclusion, creating a target group is never a template. We have to pay attention to a great many factors during this process that cannot be determined in advance, and which will only emerge over time by determining others. You must have the conviction that you are not making a game for yourself, and then you will definitely succeed.