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dsm1891

Focus Groups and Play Testing

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Hello,
 
I'm not quite sure if this is the correct place, but it seems the most likely place (apologies if it isn't).
 
So I am about to embark on a project, and was wondering if anyone knows a good place, or a good way of going about, finding user based feedback on specific genre (I'm making a rogue like) i.e. from a focus group. 
How many people will be classed as accurate data?
 
hmm... I'm finding it hard to put into words, but I want to create my own survey and distributing it to as many of my target audience as possible. Does anyone know a good place, rather than spamming it all over the internet.
 
Same for play testing, I know everyone loves a free beta build, but is there any methods of getting real data from them? not just
 

this game sucks!

I understand this is looking a tad too far in the future, but no harm in asking tongue.png

 

 

I don't mind spending a little money, but as with all things in this world, free is the magic number.

 

 

Thanks for any advice you can give 

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1. How many people will be classed as accurate data?
2. Does anyone know a good place [to publish a survey]
3. is there any methods of getting real data from [free beta builds]?

 

1. The more people, the more accurate the data.  12 people is too few.  You want at least 100.  Preferably more.

2. Yes. (Market research people know good places.  I don't know any, so my apologies.)  Basically, you need to find out where your target audience gets their online information (and that you can post information in).  If your target audience isn't game developers, then game development forums aren't the best place.

3. Yes. It's not easy.  Writing good market research questions is more an art than a science.  Market research people are better at it than most game developers are.  I attended a lecture given by a market research guy; it was very enlightening as to what kinds of specialized knowledge those guys have.

Edited by Tom Sloper

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It's a shame I can't remember the URL, but there's a website where you can literally purchase players. If I'm not mistaken, they even send you a video of their playthrough, so that you can pick up their comments as though you were there.

(I'm sure its something like gametester.com or something similar).

 

Anybody feel free to chime in if you know what I'm referring to?

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there's a website where you can literally purchase players. If I'm not mistaken, they even send you a video of their playthrough, so that you can pick up their comments as though you were there.
(I'm sure its something like gametester.com or something similar).

 

Sites like gametester.com promise hapless aspiring game testers "jobs" (and high-paying ones at that) where the "testers" must pay a subscription to the website's company, then provides lists of beta tests and focus group tests the testers can pick and choose from.  The testers get paid on a per-test basis or something. I don't know if the site charges devs to get their game listed, but the site probably needs income beyond subscriptions.

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If you are simply looking for feedback, even before a game launches, you can use such services as Google Surveys, or even post to forums with a promo (ie. give feedback for a chance to win a free game!) These tend to work well with quick reaction feedback, ie. Do you like the name of the game? What type of games do you like? If which gameplay feature is more important to you? In these sort of surveys you want over 100 people (or more, depending on the margin of error you are comfortable with), and you want to factor in some sort of filter so you know the people that answer are relevant to you.

 

If you got a web based game you can use such sites like usertesting.com which provides live user testing. You can get recorded feedback along with a video of how the person went through the game experience. Other focus group testing sessions can cost you about $50 a person, at least that's about what it is around the bay area. Or you can also just ask a lot of friends to play and watch them play! It's really quite useful and I learned a lot about my own games, things that I thought were obvious ended up causing utterly game breaking experiences for others.

 

The other thing you should do is set up metrics tracking in your game. Such services like GameAnalytics does a good job. You can gather a lot of info about retention, what actions people are taking in game, and what's causing them to drop off. It doesn't quite reveal the details of what specifically cause each of these things, but metrics helps you narrow down your focus to look at the trouble spots in your game.

 

In the end, you need to do multiple things because each method tests different things, and it's that full scope that reveals what specifically you want to iterate on in your game. In other words, you always have a limited amount of time to build the next feature. You always want to be sure what you build addressing the most pressing need based on feedback and metrics. I know this sounds like a lot but you can do each thing in phases. You always want to keep in mind that with each update, you want some way to get feedback so that your next iteration is always in the right direction. Towards fun!

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