Playnomics seeks to democratize game publishing by learning how and why we play games

Playnomics seeks to democratize game publishing by learning how and why we play games.

An infographic identifying eight core personality facets of gamers published earlier this week aims to change the way people think about playing video games, games-focused analytics company Playnomics told Polygon.

The research for the infographic is part of the company's work with partner Naked Communications, a global brand strategy firm, and their "Naked Play" division, a study aiming to help brands reach their audiences through gamification of their products.

"We started with around thirty soft categories, and Naked had tons of personality parameters they have been monitoring for years," Playnomics CEO and co-founder Chethan Ramachandran told Polygon. "We narrowed it down to eight personality facets, these are by no means distinct types. As we were going through data, these eight facets were the most common ones popping up."

Playnomics is an audience management platform that helps developers understand the audience playing their games. The company segments audiences through a variety of different psychographic parameters such as player engagement, how much time players are predicted to spend on one game, and how social they are in-game. Once developers have mapped their audience, Playnomics uses the collected data to help them determine how developers can attract the audience they want for their game.

"We want to change the way the game industry works, where quality games are getting the right kind of attention. We're trying to democratize publishing," Ramachandran said.

We want to change the way the game industry works, where quality games are getting the right kind of attention.

"Some players just start tinkering around, while others are meticulous in learning the rules and absorbing how they are supposed to play," said Ramachandran. "How much do you care about others in games versus how much are you trying to win over others? How much do you care about doing things your own way versus helping others? There has been a clean delineation between these categories that lent itself to the resulting eight facets."

Naked Communications works to help brands enfold game mechanics into consumer loyalty programs. The brand strategy firm aids in communication strategy, and dedicated its research to the idea that play is one of the ways brands can more authentically communicate with their customers.

For the infographic, Playnomics and Naked looked at hundreds of games and millions of players over several years. The resulting report presents a master view of how and why people choose to play derived from observational and survey data on player motivation and incentive.

"Play is a fundamental part of human behavior, it really tells you a lot of what somebody is all about," Ramachandran said. "We really feel that how someone plays a game helps to really understand their core personality. So we talked to a passionate audience on a personalized basis to learn how to determine what kind of audience fits a particular game environment."

Ramachandran believes that interactive experiences with quantifiable outcomes via artificial conflicts, like in-game quests and boss fights, is what people find more engaging. Players want to better themselves, do better than others, or beat a system, and that is why they continue playing.

"It's fundamental - as a kid you begin your life playing, you learn a ton of things about yourself by how you play and how you play with others," he said. "Now that has extended into the digital world because it's all connected and persistent."

Play is a fundamental part of human behavior, it really tells you a lot of what somebody is all about.

Ramachandran says that these eight "types" are not separate types at all, but parts of a whole that represents a gamer. "Everyone has each of these eight categories in them, no one is just one of these things," he explained. "Everybody has multifaceted personalities. The truly interesting thing is different game mechanics and game environments bring out different parts of different people, and certainly some people are more predisposed to be some things than others. It's like a Meyers-Briggs personality test for gamers."

"We want to reform how this industry works," Ramachandran said. "We need to get off the one-size fits all track; I've realized over time that the distribution of how games find an audience has always impacted the type and creativity of games that are published for that particular audience."


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