Playtest Surveys: What They Can Do and How To Use Them
What is a Survey | Mobile Game Playtesting
At PlaytestCloud, we believe playtesting is essential to give every game studio out there the chance to create the very best games they can. No matter what genre you're working on, or what stage your game is in, nothing can make it better than actually hearing from the people you’re making it for: the players. This is valid for any step of game development, be it pre-launch or post-launch. And to better understand just what players think of your ideas, be it an entire art concept or even just your latest game icon, a survey is the way to go.
Indeed, surveys have different uses and objectives, and are tailored for different objectives – which is why so many of the studios we work with use them, as we show in this article.
But before we get into that, it’s important to answer: What is a survey, exactly? In the context of mobile game playtesting, a survey is a data-driven study that focuses on asking players a quick series of questions about your game. It's an efficient and practical way to gather from players exactly the answers to the questions you want – now made easier than ever with our platform.
Gone are the days of mailing out 100's of surveys or interviewing people on the street to get the answers you’re looking for – with our service, all of that is automated and efficient, so you can focus on making your game the best it can be.
In fact, our online platform gives you direct access to 1.000.000+ players of all genres and demographics, and can often get your survey questions answered overnight.
That makes surveys the fastest and easiest way to run new ideas by players in your target audience!
Running a Survey
One of the best things about surveys is that they can be about anything and sent to anyone – meaning it’s easy to tie them to other types of playtesting, too.
You can always run a survey separately without running a playtest – surveys as a stand-alone product also exist, and we’ll talk about those in a moment – but after every playtest session ran through PlaytestCloud you have the option to include a simple survey to gauge how players are doing post-playtest.
Of course, like many of our playtests, there are many use cases for placing a stand alone survey without a playtest. These surveys can thus be used for just about anything, like for example:
- Finding the best app icon and app store screenshots
- Testing background stories with players of your game
- Discovering new game ideas from scratch
- Developing eye-catching marketing material for your next campaign
…which is why surveys are among our most versatile products for indie game studios and major mobile game studios alike!
With PlaytestCloud, stand-alone surveys are also uncomplicated to order, and can be completed in 3 simple steps using our online platform. All you have to do is:
- Choose your target audience from our gamer panel. You can pick any type of gamer, from casual to hardcore, where they are, and even target by game or genre. They’ll be ready to play and accessible immediately.
- Set up your survey online, or together with us. Quickly add your list of questions and submit them through the PlaytestCloud platform, or work with our user research experts to find out what questions you should be asking.
- Click to open your survey results overnight. Get all the answers you were looking for by next morning’s coffee. Then you can review your results in a report, like you would read the daily news! Just remember that the more complicated the survey or the more players you ask to participate, the longer your test will take. But don't worry, PlaytestCloud surveys have the fastest turnaround time of any product on PlaytestCloud.
Want to start a Survey right away? Just sign-up now, or head here if you already have a PlaytestCloud account. Want to know more about Surveys, including specific use cases of how it’s helped our clients? Then just keep reading below.
The Benefits of Using PlaytestCloud for Mobile Game Surveys
As you continue (or start!) your mobile game’s playtesting journey, you may be asking:
What playtest type is best for where my game is at right now? And why should I use PlaytestCloud?
With Surveys specifically, many game studios have said one of the main advantages of running Surveys with us is not just how smoothly they run and the valuable information they learn from it, but also their affordability.
Surveys can save games studios from investing too heavily into products or ideas that don’t resonate with players in their niche, thus making sure both their time and resources are invested wisely
That’s why we give these studios immediate access to a full survey report after each survey is ran, where survey questions and answers appear in easy-to-read charts and graphs, like the ones pictured below…though you can always request that one of our Games User Researchers provides further analysis for you!
You also have the option to download all your survey responses as an Excel sheet or CSV (detailed demographics included!).
While you can run surveys in 5 different formats – from free-text, to multiple choice, to checkboxes, to net promoter scores (scale of 1 to 10), or ratings with variable values – we also facilitate survey integrations with your favorite services, including:
Note that PlaytestCloud survey integration is not specific to the survey tools listed above, and we would be happy to help you integrate your favorite software if you don't see it listed. Just contact us using this form.
Best of all, because we take care of technical player logistics like NDAs and player rewards, you have more time overall to review and implement the near-instant results of each survey you order.
In other words, surveys eliminate the waiting period for when you get your results, giving you quicker iterative capabilities for each phase of game development.
The Different Use Cases for Surveys
How can Surveys really help your game? What problems can they solve? What questions can they answer?
More importantly, what different setups can you achieve with it? Indeed, when creating your Survey questions, you might be wondering how to write effective surveys or even what to ask players at all. If that is the case, you are in luck! Below we have included a few templates of tried and tested questions to help you get started:
- Survey question templates for running great playtests
- Survey question templates for multi-session playtests
- Survey question templates for playtesting your metagame
- Survey question templates for running concept tests
However, to go into even more depth on this topic, below we give you 3 examples of how our clients have recently used playtest Surveys, showcasing the problems this service can solve, and the different setups they have used for their survey set-ups.
Before we dig into the case examples below, let’s quickly learn a bit more about something essential for any PlaytestCloud user: Video Tokens.
What is a Video Token?
Video Tokens are like PlaytestCloud currency. They are tokens you can use to place orders - and come as a part of our subscription plans. They’re also how you pay for your one-off projects, for example.
Video Tokens are automatically added to your account every billing cycle so you can keep ordering more playtests!
How many Video Tokens would I spend on a survey?
Surveys are easy to price out; the price per participant is based on the length of the survey and is dependent on targeting type—with either standard or advanced targeting options available.
|Standard targeting||Advanced targeting|
|1-20 questions||0.13 VT / participant||0.195 VT / participant|
|20+ questions||0.20 VT / participant||0.30 VT / participant|
*We always round down to the nearest half Video Token.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s have a look at how surveys have helped our clients – and how they can help your game, too!
3 Survey Case Studies to Motivate Your Next Survey playtest
Surveying the Competition
When game studios want to check the success of their game against the competition, they’ll often book a routine competitor benchmarking survey to see how their game compares to others in the same market.
That’s just what happened with a medium-sized mobile gaming company we have been working with for years, and who have developed quite a few established successful games in various categories. Let’s take a look at their survey approach:
Goal: To understand how their mobile game(s) compare to similar games on the market.
Cost: At a cost of 0.3 VT per participant, but with more than 20 questions in the survey, this studio spent a total of 60 VT.
Setup: The game studio ordered 4 competitor benchmarking surveys with 50 players in each to test 4 designs and match-three games. Each survey contained more than 20 questions, with the studio also opting for special custom targeting using PlaytestCloud's built in survey service. The target was to include a total of 200 players of any gender from the United States, each of whom had recently played (or are playing) one of these game iterations.
Results: This survey yielded overnight results, delivered first-thing the morning after the survey order was submitted. Using basic games user research methods, the game studio grouped players into separate cohorts based on either their individual or group results combined. From these findings, the game studio gained deeper insight into what other games are doing successfully, taking what they learned back to improve their own match-three title in the app store.
Surveying Future Investments
When game studios dabble in creating games that use intellectual property that we all know and love – creating those cross-playform crossovers that we all deserve – we recommend they commit to concept-test-like surveying methods before taking that finical plunge.
In fact, that’s just what happened when one of the medium-sized mobile gaming companies we work with wanted to know which intellectual properties would be most worth purchasing next.
Let’s take a look at their survey approach below:
Goal: To discover investment potential for a potential intellectual property (IP) purchase.
Cost: With only using standard targeting, this game studio spent 0.13 VT per player for a total of 58VT.
Setup: This survey order involved a target audience request for 150 men and 150 women who are proven fans of a specific movie series. Thanks to PlaytestCloud’s survey integration capabilities, the studio was able to use Alchemer to complete their survey tasks. The team included a YouTube video at the beginning of the survey to give players a sense of the game concept. Then once the video was watched, participants filled out a small questionnaire - this cycle was completed over 3 times each with a differnt game genera that could be pursued with this peticular IP. The game concepts order was randomized per player so every player received a unique version of the survey.
Results: Since the game studio was able to get feedback across 3 different game genres – but within the same target audience – they were able to find key information about potential game concepts and direction at scale. This was a super unique way to construct a PlaytestCloud survey, without committing the time to do a full round of concept testing.
Surveying the Name of the Game
When smaller game studios are getting close to production and launch, getting feedback on final game details is key!
In fact, when one of the medium-sized mobile gaming companies we work with wanted to stop using a code name for their game, they used a survey to find the perfect game title.
Let’s take a look at their survey approach below:
Goal: Use data from prior single-session playtests combined with a survey to find the best name for this studio’s up-and-coming game project.
Cost: Opting for advanced targeting for a total of 250 players, this studio spent a total of 48 VT.
Setup: Advanced targeting criteria included the following requests (a) 30 women and 20 men from the United States who have experience playing interactive mystery games such as the Nancy Drew video game series, Hardy Boys video game series, Secret Files: Tunguska or The Vanishing of Ethan Carter; and (b) 40 men and 160 women with no experience playing mystery games. Using the Typeform integration, the studio then had all players in both cohorts answer questions about potential titles for their game.
Results: Post-survey, the game studio discovered that the name they all loved was ranked quite low among the above-listed target audiences. As a result, they were able to avoid a costly mistake that could affect the sales and popularity of their game. Not to mention, these results prompted further research and surveys alongside PlaytestCloud to further validate other aspects of their game.
Test Your Next Mobile Game Concept with PlaytestCloud
As you can see, surveys can be used in a wide range of setups, and solve an equally wide range of problems. No matter the type of game you’re working on, or the players you’re hoping to reach, this type of playtest is essential in giving you all the feedback and insights you might need as quickly as possible.
If you already have an account with PlaytestCloud, then when you’re ready to order a Survey you can choose “Survey” from the New Playtest page on your account.
If on the other hand you are new to PlaytestCloud (and maybe even new to creating and testing mobile games), then you can create an account with us by filling out the form below, and we will help you with your first playtest!
We are so excited to take care of all your Survey needs, and look forward to hearing all about your next playtest adventure.
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