Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
aren't particularly interested in the technology. These gamers don't typically
track release dates or follow the game industry press.
Hardcore Gamer
A hardcore gamer is one who is much closer to the traditional demographic
(23 years old and male). They often are involved in the gaming culture, read
websites and gaming magazines, typically track and discuss new releases,
usually own one or more gaming consoles, and typically devote several times
more hours per week and many more dollars per year to their hobby than do
casual gamers.
Whales
We promised we'd tell you, so here it is: whales are users who are dispropor-
tionately monetized—for example, the ones who give you $1000 a month when
your average user gives you $3. Spending time thinking about the way your
whales behave, what their social group looks like, and what it is about your
game that keeps them coming back and spending is extremely valuable. After
all, you certainly don't want to make a change to your game design that inad-
vertently disenfranchises your best customers.
5.6 Why These Metrics Matter
You need to understand the health of your product, and you need to
be able to react quickly to changes in your user base. Because you are
working to extract money from players in tiny increments on a minute-
by-minute basis, you'll be well served by massaging the details of your
game mechanics and content over time and as your knowledge of your
user base grows in order to improve the experience for your users and
consequently improve your own profitability. Although PC-based MMO
games have understood and harvested user engagement metrics like those
described in this chapter for years, this model is often quite alien to tradi-
tional console developers, who may be more familiar with a “release and
forget” approach. Simply put, in the modern era of social game develop-
ment, such an approach is doomed. Your competition is excellent at track-
ing every detail of how users interact with their products, and they often
iterate on the software or balance of their games on a daily basis. You
need to cultivate a similar mentality.
Just studying metrics like these won't make a game successful. You still
need to have an appealing theme, great mechanics, attractive art, and all the
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