Target Audience vs. Game Designer
Who are you making games for? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Who is going to play the game in the end? Who am I trying to reach with my idea?
My latest observations show that the target audience is sometimes neglected, ignored or simply forgotten about in the process of making a game. Too late, or sometimes not at all, the question arises who is actually going to spend some hard-earned money on the game.
This question should arise earlier, though. In fact, at the very beginning of a project the target audience should be defined. After all, everything that comes after this definition will set the general course of the game. The casual gamer will probably not be interested in a game that requires an enormous amount of time and effort to progress in a game. The casual gamer will probably not care about amazing graphics that require a high-end gaming machine. The casual gamer wants to start the game on the PC, or pick up a mobile device and start it there without much fuss. Loading times should be short, graphics rather bright, the game should be easy to grasp, simple in its rules and mechanics but fun to play. Make it fun! And addictive, if possible. ;o)
Simple and fun and bright might not be the cahracteristics the hardcore gamer is looking for in a good game. Will the gaming PC be fast and strong enough? Will the graphics be realistic and fascinating? Or, at least, somewhat more appealing than just bright (and possibly cute). Is there a story and what kind of story? Is it captivating and challenging? What about the game mechanics? The AI? If the AI is too dumb, the game becomes uninteresting quickly. Repetitive tasks to beat a highscore? Not really challenging and capturing.
And this is just a rough description of what the casual gamer desires and the hardcore gamer finds unappealing (and vice versa).
Defining a target audience at the beginning of a project will set the direction of the appearance of the game as well as the mechanics, the story and, in the end, the marketing.
My question to you – are there games out there that appeal to both the casual and the hardcore gamer?
Filed under: Design, game, Game Design, iPhone, Mac, MMO, mobile, PC, PS2, wii | 11 Comments
Tags: addictive, AI, audience, casual, development, fun, game, gamer, graphics, hardcore, high-end, mechanics, mobile, PC, production, story, target