Creating games for children throws up a number of challenges that don’t necessarily need to be factored into the design of games for adults. Things such as using simple words in dialogue, having controls that can be mastered by those still developing fine motor skills, and including menus that can be navigated by someone who can’t read are all major factors when making games for kids.
Because of these differences, it’s clear that using adult gamers isn’t nearly as useful for gathering information about games created for a much younger audience. To overcome this issue, PlaytestCloud offers a solution for those developing games for kids — playtesting with children.
How PlaytestCloud Makes Testing with Kids Simple
Playtesting with children (defined as anyone under the age of 16) is a fantastic way to get authentic responses and usable data for your game. In the past playtesting with kids has traditionally been conducted inside a lab, which is a method that, on top of being more difficult to arrange, is also one which can produce skewed results due to being held in an unnatural environment. However PlaytestCloud makes this process much easier by allowing playtests in familiar environments — such as the family home — alongside a parent or guardian.
In order for a child under 15 to test any games through PlaytestCloud, a parent or guardian must give their permission before any playtests will be sent. Additionally, when a parent gives their consent, they’re also acknowledging that they must be present during the entirety of the playtest. With the parents present, the kids are encouraged to narrate their playing experience as much as they possibly can while they play. Because the children are thinking aloud around a person they know and trust, in an environment they’re comfortable in, they’re more likely to give honest and usable answers about a game.
Why This Method Works Best
Whether a game is being designed for a young audience or an adult audience (or both), a playtest can yield useful, usable information for all stages of a game’s life. With that in mind, having parents supervise a playtest at home on their own devices means a very easy set up whenever a playtest might be needed — a much simpler process than having to organize testing in a lab.
And the advantage of playtesting with children in a home environment is that the responses you get are likely to be what the kids actually think — an authentic reaction not diluted by the unease of a new location or new people. PlaytestCloud’s tools allow you to watch what a player is doing in a game and hear them in real-time, gleaning results far more representative of how a player truly feels about your game.
We Keep Our Young Playtesters Safe
Not only is PlaytestCloud’s method a quicker and easier way to get feedback than traditional lab studies, it’s also designed to be totally compliant with all laws concerning the use of children’s information by online services — including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (a.k.a COPPA). Our certification by PRIVO — an FTC-approved COPPA Safe Harbor — means you can rest easy knowing that our child-focussed playtests fully meet all COPPA guidelines, and that PlaytestCloud values keeping our younger playtesters safe above all else.
Ready to get kids’ feedback on your game?