At PlaytestCloud, our mission is simple: help game studios everywhere, no matter their size, make games that players love. This is why we offer all the playtesting tools you may need, from Multi-Session to Single-Session to Longitudinal Studies (aka our version of diary studies), hoping to allow you to better understand how and why players play your game the way they do.
With this in mind, however, it’s important to understand that it’s not just about understanding and analyzing your playtests. Players are, obviously, each one a unique individual, and sometimes watching a playtest recording isn’t enough to get you the insights you need/want. Playtesting is all about understanding players and, sometimes, the best way to do so is to go more granular, and talk to the players themselves.
Beyond Playtests: Understanding Players
We work hard on ensuring that with our platform you have all the tools you need to reach and understand your targeted players. After all, we don’t just provide the way to organize and run playtests: we also offer all the tools needed to analyze them, from annotations to reels, with even a Games User Research team ready to step in and analyze the playtests for you if needed.
However, watching a recording of someone play is different from actually seeing them play, or talking to them about it. I’d never assume I know George Clooney just because I’ve seen several films with him, just like I’d never assume I know a player just because I’ve seen them play a game on a recording somewhere. There’s always been a gap to be bridged between those who make games and those who play them, one that we’re trying to fix by releasing services such as Player Interviews, or our upcoming Live Playtesting, which will allow you to join players as they play – in real-time.
It’s important to understand that sometimes the only way to truly understand a player, to truly gather all the insights and information they can give you, is by crossing that gap. Sometimes, playtests can raise more questions than answers. Why did the player do that? Why didn’t they like this? Why did they like that? A lot of times, the answer for these questions can be found in the playtests themselves, or by using one of our many tools – but sometimes, the answer lies exclusively with the player, and continuing to test with them or even asking them directly is the only way to get it. User research is, after all, all about understanding users – and there are things that only the users (or in this case, players) can tell you themselves.
We’re fully aware of this. That’s why we recently released our Player Retargeting feature, which allows you to invite any players from previous playtests to new ones, for example. By doing this, you can continue to better understand your players, getting their feedback and insights across all our types of playtests available. And if this isn’t enough, then you can invite them to a Player Interview, and ask them directly or get their feedback on anything you’d like.
This gap we talk about between those who make games and those who play them has, so far, been mostly accepted as the norm. User research can sometimes be seen as more about data and not necessarily about people, and it’s easy to forget the individuality of every single playtester – and the knowledge that lies inside them.
We think, however, that bridging this gap and providing new ways to playtest can bring new, untapped riches. Predicting trends is only useful if we understand why they happen in the first place, and playtests are only useful if the players in them are understood, with playtesting being the best way to understand them. Keeping this in mind is essential, as it is to make sure you have all the necessary tools and services to actually put it in action. In user research and playtesting, assuming or guessing why users (or players) behave the way they do is now no longer a necessity – with Player Interviews, Player Retargeting, and the upcoming Live Playtesting (now open for early access!), we want to allow game studios to go as granular as they want, understanding players not just as playtesters, but also even as individuals.
Curious to know more? Reach out to us below with any questions on how to better understand your players, and we’ll be in touch. Or sign-up right away, and start understanding your players now!