Player Experience: Are You Player-Centric Enough?

Qualitative testing with a crowd of real gamers

In my previous article, I compared assessing the stability and performance of a game to vigorously testing rock-climbing gear. The comparison between the two disciplines does not stop there. For a climber, reaching the top of a wall is hardly ever a one-time effort. First, they build a foundation of weightlifting, flexibility training, and the like; then comes the actual climbing. A climber will put in hours over several months in order to progress through a route, one hold at a time, finetuning every movement to be able to go higher, expend less energy, and you know... not fall.

Games out there go through the same ordeal. Much of the work happens far from the public eye: game design, early development... and when the time comes to start climbing, the best games get themselves “in the real-world". Game industry professionals working on a given title are, counterintuitively, not well suited to provide unbiased feedback. Playtesting, user feedback, balancing… all these activities require the insight of gamers-as-consumers.

Get Qualitative Feedback, Early ...

“Is the game fun?” That is, bar none, the most difficult question to answer in game creation. It’s not the only one that matters either. “How much can this item sell for?”, “Should this game mode be removed?”, “Does this feature appeal to foreign markets?”… Get your answers straight from your target market to take the doubt out of the equation.

The crowd is impartial and, sometimes, ruthless. Would you rather have that brutally honest talk early during the development cycle when your teams can still make adjustments? Or after release, when the cost is not just time and money, but brand reputation?

You identify the questions that matter to you and the demographics you need, and we’ll get you the answers. Not sure what to ask? We can help with that too.

...And Often

Any new level, feature or content drop is an opportunity to improve your game. Of course, it’s also an opportunity to introduce an error. New releases and new versions alike can create as many problems as they solve. So, it’s important to continuously test your game and its appeal at multiple stages of development.

There is no substitute for a live test of a game when it comes to assessing the fun-factor or previewing the million-and-one tiny surprises that could pop up at release. Rather than overwhelm your help desk with tickets after each update, go into the process armed with your own practice runs with our crowd.

Level the Playing Field

Life may not be fair, but video games can be. And the best sellers feel challenging and achievable at the same time. Making certain characters or items over- or under-powered can throw off that delicate balance.

Imagine giving your multiplayer racing game to 500 gamers for two hours and realizing that the same car wins 30 percent more races than all others. Or adding a new item to a loot box that helps brand new players level up at an astronomical pace, leaving loyal old-timers frustrated. Players need to evaluate new elements in gameplay to truly discover if the game still hits that sweet spot. In a short amount of time, you can isolate, fix, and retest any design element, before it receives public scrutiny.

Tailor-made Solutions at Scale

Lionbridge’s decades of experience personalizing offerings for our customers has extended into our Games offerings. Whatever problem you need to solve, Lionbridge Games is here to help. We can gather an incredibly specific group of players because we collect so many details during our hiring and onboarding processes. Our leadership team will work with you at every step to define clearly what questions you need answered and the best way to go about it. We don’t fit you into our offerings; we customize our offering for you. And we can leverage our Crowd in surprising ways, for example…

Many Hands Makes Light Work: Bug Hunting Powered by Crowd

Working with a studio that has set records in the Chinese gaming world and beyond, we sent a newly released game to thousands of our crowd members. The studio was receiving support inquiries about an issue preventing players from logging in to the game servers, which was impacting the studio revenue. But the studio was not able to isolate and create the issue in their controlled environment.

Within hours, leveraging thousands of players, we had found a handful of crowd members able to systematically reproduce the error preventing users from logging in. The studio was then able to address and fix the issue. As always, the first step is admitting there’s a problem!

Game, Meet World

Technical performance is just one piece of the perfect player experience. And great communication between your studio and players can’t fix everything. Your gamers expect user-centricity in every element of the game, to keep them coming back for more. That’s why Lionbridge Games offers such a broad range of pre-release services with our Games Crowd.

Our mission is to prepare your game for real life players. Assess any and every aspect of your game with feedback from large groups of players or detailed answers to specific questions. Because of our crowd size and reach, we can assist your studio regardless of where you’re developing or releasing your game. Make contact today to see how we can support your development process.

linkedin sharing button
  • #blog_posts
  • #player-experience
  • #gaming
Tommy Lachambre
Tommy Lachambre