Gaming Design Know-Hows Chapter 1: Gamers, who are they?12-Sep-2017
CRE8 has been in the design industry for over 20 years. With our vast experience in gaming hardware design, we think it would be cool to share our know-hows with you, so you can get some insights into the market and design of gaming products. We have prepared a gaming series for you in 5 chapters. Stay tuned for the biweekly publication!
Chapter 1: Gamers, who are they?
When we started this gaming series, we wanted to talk about the design of gaming products. But you cannot design a good product without knowing whom you are catering for. That is why we will begin our first chapter by telling you some facts about gamers.
• Stereotypes - Gamers are actually different than what we think
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when we talk about gamers? Nerds? Mostly men? Couch potatoes? Teenagers? You may be surprised that gamers are actually not who you think they are.
The statistics gathered by Statista show that only 29% of the gamers in the U.S. are under the age of 18; while 45% are over the age of 36. And in 2017, female gamers reached 42% of all gamers in the U.S.
And more studies have demonstrated that gamers could be sportive, socially active, just like or even surpassing anyone else.
But many companies misunderstand the facts and think that they should be designing for 15-16 year-olds. This is fundamentally wrong, as younger gamers do not set trends, they follow, just like they follow their favorite athletes and wear NIKE® products. This is one of the reasons why gaming products should never be toyish. Mature and professional gamers will not appreciate an unsophisticated device.
• Types of gamers
Now you have a general idea of who gamers are. Furthermore, here are some facts about gamer demographics.
Professional gamers – they often are sponsored, hired, trained, and play in professional gaming teams. During gameplay, the things they value most are: science, strategy, speed, and skills. For them, winning is the goal.
Gaming gurus – they eat, sleep, and breathe gaming. A lot of them write reviews, are opinionated and trend setters. They are the gaming hardware experts. If they like your product, it will succeed!
Serious gamers – gaming is not their profession, but is still serious business for them and takes a significant amount of time in their day-to-day life. They arrange schedules, analyze games with mathematics, and enjoy a sense of achievement. When it comes to buying a gaming product, they often look up to the gaming gurus.
Casual gamers – they play for fun or socializing and are involved in the activities less frequently than other types of gamers. They follow simple rules and set simple goals for themselves.
Sports gamers – they are more action oriented and competitive, with the majority of them being male. In addition to playing sports games, their other favorite genres include shooters, action, and action RPGs (Role-Playing Games).
• What different gamers are looking for
Professional gamers and gaming teams look at their equipment as extension of their hands. They want the device to be as simple as possible, not to interfere with gameplay. That is why many professional gamers use standard equipment. If you look at motorsports, professional race cars have no accessories and sacrifice comfort, as it is all about speed and performance; while most of us would prefer feature-rich and comfortable cars. Professional gamers like minimalist design without unnecessary clutter. For example, RGB lighting applied on gaming mice or keyboards may be seen as distractions to professional gamers.
Serious gamers prefer rich features. If you look at high-end vehicles, as we talked about in the previous paragraph, customizability is key. BUT, to add something that gamers don’t need makes them stop trusting you big time; on the other hand, when you add features that are really helpful and solve their pain points, this guarantees a star product. Usability, functionality, customizability, and comfort are all crucial elements that serious gamers do value. If through design, you can relieve a headache, you immediately show gamers that you understand their field. And you become the EXPERT.
Then what do gaming gurus prefer? They are like serious gamers multiplied by ten!
As general gamers are not involved so frequently, they tend to read review sites (probably hosted by Gurus) to find shortcuts to a decent gaming set up. They may not crave for feature-rich gear and opt for more cost-effective but still cool equipment. In other cases, casual gamers may not need specific items for their gameplay; they probably use phones, standard computers or gaming consoles.
In this chapter we learned more about gamers, the myths, the truths, and a more definite idea of what they like and don’t like. In our next chapter, you will get some tips on the golden principles for designing a gaming product. Stay tuned!