In case you missed it, mobile game and marketing intelligence firm GameRefinery has just released the sixth episode of its Mobile GameDev Playbook podcast, this time focused on understanding player motivations and archetypes.
Every few weeks, Steel Media's Jon Jordan and GameRefinery VP of games Joel Julkunen get together with some big players in the mobile games industry and have a focused discussion on a chosen topic, with previous episodes look at casual games, licensed IPs, and the China market.
This time around, the hosts were joined by Fundamentally Games co-founder Oscar Clark and Rovio director of growth for games Kieran O'Leary for a chat about developing insights into their player types, and recent changes in both motivation metrics and player types.
The podcast starts with Julkunen providing GameRefinery's take on player motivations and archetypes, specifically relating to GameRefinery's recently-added 'Motivations and Archetypes feature'.
The data for this new feature has been built from over 10,000 surveys in English-speaking countries with mobile games players conducted by GameRefinery. These have then been studied intensively and broken down into eight archetypes and 12 motivations.
"Those motivation drivers and then the player archetypes are part of our data set in the service and now our users can use that data to, for example, better understand their own players and own games and how their features in their games resonate with different player archetypes and motivations," explains Julkunen.
"I want to highlight here that it’s like an understanding where somebody hears about player archetypes, they might wonder, which of these am I? Of course, the truth is that all of us, basically, depending on the time, and the date, and the mood, we might have a lot of characteristics from several different archetypes."
One of the beauties behind what GameRefinery is doing is making that information accessible to as many people as there are people who are interested in that topicKieran O'Leary
Understanding player motivations
For Oscar Clark, this approach is actually something he had been considering for a long time, including back in the days of the original MUD (Multi User Dungeon) created by Richard Bartle.
Looking at the personas of online players, Clark argues, is really quite similar to studying player archetypes now, and can be used not only for marketing games - something Clark also knows about - but making sure you're designing your games for the right people.
"It's invaluable to have something where you've got at least some kind of firm foundation in data that you can use to create inspiration so that you're not just trying to make a game for yourself, you're trying to make a game for an audience," says Clark.
O'Leary agrees, adding that "I think the main evolution in regards to that topic is, first of all, that it's much more accessible to a larger group of people, and one of the beauties behind what GameRefinery is doing is making that information accessible to as many people as there are people who are interested in that topic."
On the topic of archetypes, Jordan asks the group to reflect on their own behaviors and which archetypes they believe they fit into, noting that "I'm not very competitive, I'm not very social," and deciding he himself fits as a "treasure hunter".
On the other hand, O'Leary describes himself as a "metaphysical master", adding that "I like getting that sensation that I'm actually mastering what I do at every concrete level and feeling the progression that comes with it."
Clark, however, suggests that his archetype changes depending on both his mood and his "mode" - specifically, which device he's playing the game on at that given time.
"My behaviour, when I’m, for example, using a mobile game, is very different from my behaviour when I’m playing a console game. If I’m playing a console game, I’m typically going to be the thinker type," he says.
"Whereas if I’m playing a mobile game, I’m going to be much more distracted, I’m going to be doing something which is about occupying a moment."
As for Julkunen, while he typically sees himself as a strategist, he's also started to see himself as a competitive player, noting that "after starting my Hearthstone career, it's getting worse and worse. I love those PVPs and beating the opponent."
You can find out even more about player archetypes and behaviours, and how understanding them with GameRefinery's tools can help you improve your game's performance, by listening to the full episode on the GameRefinery website.