Design games around your audience: The four types of player

Design games around your audience: We are used to thinking that all the players will play our game in the same way, or at least that most of the players will have the same reactions when playing our game.
To predict the behavior that our player will have in our game, we must understand which kind of player is going to play our game. We can categorise the behaviors of all players in 4 main categories.

 

Design games around your audience: The four type of player

The four type of players
From wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test

 

Achievers:

Those are the players that want to achieve the goals of the game, even if these goals are useless to the game story/experience. These are the players that will spend hours to complete secondary quests on Skyrim just to have their little useless reward. These are the ones who will spend hours and hours to collect all the feathers in Assassin’s Creed.

 

Explorers:

These players love to discover hidden places. They like to have the feeling of freedom. In fact they often feel restricted when a game expects them to move on within a certain time. They love to discover hidden easter eggs and glitch.

 

Socializer

Social players are the ones who want to share their experiences with the others. They want to play with other players and they like to share their experiences with friends and other players of the community.

The social players may simply like to have fun with friends and play a match in link mode, or maybe meet other people across the web. As an example, a mode that is really appreciated for the social players is the Nazi zombie mode from Call Of Duty: World At War. You can play it online, offline and the only way to have really fun with this mode is to play it with friends.

 

Killers:

Killers are only interested in competing with others and in beating their opponents, either AI or real players.

 

How to design you games around your audience:

Remember that all the players have the same importance. As a game designer, you should really think about those 4 kinds of players during your design phase and ask yourself if the game is good enough to challenge all the 4 types of players.

Some games (especially indie games) are specifically designed to satisfy only one or two types of players and there is nothing wrong about it.

Think about what you can improve in your game to make it more balanced, and try to make some playtests with all the 4 types of players to see the different reactions and expectations.
Here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bartle_Test) are some insights about the 4 types of players.

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1 Comment

  • Marco, great article! I highly agree that we as game designers should recognize that players with different preferences will be playing our game, and only catering to one player type may hurt our game’s success. However, I’m not sure I agree that we should strive to make every game appeal to every player type. That’s like saying we should make every game appeal to lovers of every genre. A highly story driven game like “Last of Us” probably does not appeal to Explorers, as it had few to no open world elements, nor to Killers, because there are no opportunities to dominate other players (in fact most scenes of violence were designed to be morally questionable and not necessarily make the player feel good), yet I think we can agree that Last of Us was very successful. So while we should strive to satisfy as many player types as possible, I would argue that satisfying EVERY player type should not be the ideal, as it could lead to bloated games with inconsistent vision and gameplay.

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