• Evolution of Playtesting: Included Games had a significant shift from traditional game releases to a more player-feedback-focused approach, highlighting the indispensable role of PlaytestCloud in modern game development.
• Holistic Approach: Included Games extended playtesting to all aspects of their product, deepening their collaboration with PlaytestCloud, ensuring comprehensive player engagement and experience optimization.
• Playtest Early, Playtest Often: Included Games incorporated PlaytestCloud into their development process from the beginning, emphasizing the importance of early player feedback.
In game development, understanding the nuances of player engagement and game mechanics is crucial. Michael Heywood, the co-founder of Included Games, recently shared the transformative role of playtesting with PlaytestCloud in a closed door webinar – but has agreed for us to share some of his insights in this article.
Playtesting From Day One
“Our journey with PlaytestCloud began soon after our first angel investment." PlaytestCloud has been a key part of Included Games' development process from the start.
"In our early days, when playtesting with PlaytestCloud we tested with no tutorials, looking for that 'click' moment. We were just giving players a sense of presence in playing together in this little world we’d created. For our first testers, we put them in for a 30 minute Single Session playtest with no tutorial, just to see if they could figure it out themselves. And what was interesting was that after about 15 minutes or so you'd see players start to get the hang of it and then it would click. We were just trying to watch people play the game and see if there's fun. Fast forward to today, we're diving into moderated playtests to understand player expectations in real-time and the feedback is extraordinary."
The Role of PlaytestCloud in Game Development
In their collaborative journey with PlaytestCloud, Included Games has achieved remarkable success, transforming their game development process with insightful and rapid feedback. Utilizing PlaytestCloud's innovative Screener Survey feature, Michael and his team have masterfully targeted their playtests to resonate with potential target audience players. This strategic approach, involving the use of marketing images to filter players, has equipped them with actionable insights, vital for refining game mechanics and design.
The impact of PlaytestCloud on Included Games' development process is evident in their impressive record - for their size - of 55 playtests to date. This extensive experience has not only facilitated a swift feedback loop, but has also been pivotal in shaping their game development strategy. Michael highlights the profound influence of PlaytestCloud, stating, "The ease of setting up playtests and the depth of feedback from narrating players has significantly impacted our development process." This underscores the transformative effect of player narratives in guiding their design choices.
Furthermore, Michael's team has taken a holistic approach to player perception by extending playtesting to their website, advertisements, and App Store listings. This comprehensive strategy ensures that every facet of their product – from gameplay to online presence – resonates deeply with their target audience. Through their partnership with PlaytestCloud, Included Games has not only navigated the challenges of game development but has also carved a niche for themselves, leveraging player feedback to refine and elevate their gaming experiences.
Reflecting on the past, Michael expresses awe at how game development has evolved. "It's astonishing to think about the days we used to release games on disks without any idea of player reactions. After using PlaytestCloud for so many years, I can't imagine ever going back".
There's a lot to learn from Included Games' story. Talk with our team using the form below to see how not only you can start using PlaytestCloud to optimize your game development, but also how you can begin to take PlaytestCloud from a service that you use for occasional FTUE Playtests to a holistic full coverage of data acquisition and analysis, to make sure every aspect of your studio is optimized. Making you ready to take on the giants of the industry, no matter your size.