zondag 31 maart 2013

The largest, most critical and free focus group.

A lot of companies can only hope for the excitement and loyalty that gamers have for certain games. Celebrating the announcement of a new product, discussing every glimpse they get and waiting in the middle of the night for the release of their beloved game. They love their games so much that they want to help to improve it, to make sure that it will reach it's full potential. It is a shame that developers pay a lot of money to use focus groups, but sometimes forget that their biggest focus group would love to help for free.

Take a look at many developer's forums and you will see rather quickly that they are filled with feedback. Unfortunately due to their enthusiasm most forums become a chaotic mess. Gamers also feel entitled to be listened to, because they have bought the game and spend a lot of time and effort on it. This makes it difficult for developers to cope with and respond to all this feedback.

The internet has given gamers and developers an easier way to communicate with each other. We want to support this and make sure that gamers feel listened to. However, this does not mean that every popular suggestion should be accepted by a developer. It is important for developers to acknowledge the feedback and explain why certain suggestions will not be implemented. This openness in communication will give gamers a better view of the decision process that developers make for their games. 

It is our goal to gather and structure feedback, opinions and other thoughts of all gamers. Improved communication and a better understanding of both parties will benefit gamers and developers. Gamers that are active on forums have to realize they do not represent the entire gaming population and that their views are not always correct. Developers on the other hand have to keep in mind that these gamers are often the most valuable customers with a lot of expertise about their games. 

At Gamersuggestions we will work everyday on bridging the gap between these groups and we hope you will join us in our effort. 

dinsdag 26 juni 2012

Join the revolution. Join Gamersuggestions.

It has been the growing cornerstone for games of the past years: gamer-integration in development. Guided by the principle “the customers know what they want”, large game developers are increasingly asking and checking on the gamers for their opinions. It seems that the more negative comments are, the better, as long as it is constructive. And why not? The gamers know exactly where there is room for improvement. This is a virtue that is seemingly overlooked or underrated by developers. Besides, they developed the game according to what they thought was best.

As you can see from the past sentences, in my view, this is a highly positive change, and there are multiple reasons why. First, in general, customer integration and open innovation have caused a revolution in business strategies and strategies for R&D. Customers seem to always come up with the most creative new ideas and products. Think of Nike’s design-your-own-shoes contests and “invent-a-new-flavor” of Lay’s. Both brought forth products that never left the market again.

But does this work for games, which are richer and more complex in content? The answer, of course, is yes, and I’ll tell you why. Remember how you played games as a kid or teenager (when you didn’t, imagine you did), and when asked in school what you wanted to be when you grew up? I’m pretty sure game developer was one of the potential candidates. All these boys (or girls!) that wanted this either became a game developer, or a gamer. This means that, in the game industry, there is a tighter connection between producer and consumer than any other industry. Gamers know what they want, what elements of games cause them to be entertained. They know exactly what game mechanisms would be a valuable addition to an existing game. Moreover, they are almost as aware as the developers themselves in regard to what is possible to be implemented.

This realization of the potential of gamers is not a new thing however.  Harnessing the potential, now there’s the challenge. In former gaming times, updates didn’t exist; a game that was introduced to the market stayed the same. Gamers could complain all they want, but they already bought the game, and their opinion only mattered for possible sequels. But times have changed, and not only is it easier for developers to update and improve their game, but there is also more incentive to keep gamers happy, because there is possibility for (paid) expansions and DLC. Therefore, not only is the developer more able to adapt to gamers, adaptation itself is more important than ever. The internet has made it possible for gamers to reach the developers, and vice versa. Combine this with the need for the developmental involvement of gamers. There seems to be one missing link, one missing catalyst that will bond these elements together and will activate this revolutionary concoction. That is Gamersuggestions. Improve games. Join the revolution.