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March 2004

New Demographic Game Design Model Announced

International Hobo Ltd is proud to announce a new demographic model, based on applying Myers-Briggs typology to data gathered about the computer game audience in connection with their gameplay needs. A summary of the results is being distributed in a brochure entitled Demographic Game Design: How to make game design as valuable as marketing, which is being sent to clients of International Hobo and all major publishers and developers. The brochure has been produced in association with industry marketing agency Head First.

Demographic Game Design - coverThe brochure describes the nature and foundation of the research, the disposition of the Types of player and provides data which indicate the key findings with respect to Myers-Briggs traits such as Introversion and Intuition.

In brief, the research identifies four types of player - Type 1 Conquerors, who are concerned with competition and beating games, Type 2 Managers who are interested in strategic and management gameplay, Type 3 Wanderers who enjoy open games and "toyplay", and Type 4 Participants who are focused on the emotional context of play. These are subdivided into Hardcore and Casual clusters to make eight subtypes (H1, H2, H3, H4 and C1, C2, C3 and C4).

Chris Bateman, Managing Director of International Hobo, claims the research is a breakthrough in game design theory. "Demographic models are used extensively in marketing and especially in narrow-casting media such as TV, but no-one has attempted to apply similar techniques in the context of game design. This model suggests that thinking about games in terms of 'good gameplay' is meaningless, as the audience is divided into separate groups all of which have differing needs from their games.

"I'm especially enthusiastic about the understanding this research gives us in respect of 'toyplay' products such as 'The Sims'. These games are clearly hitting a different audience to conventional game products. The research also makes it clear that the vast majority of programmers belong to the Type 1 and Type 2 profiles - so it is unsurprising that the market has tended to be polarised towards games that suit these Types."

Head First - logoStephen Hey of Head First added: "This is a fascinating study that has strategic implications for every sector of the industry. The more the industry can do to understand the gamer, the better, and that's something that Head First are very keen to encourage."

A PDF of Demographic Game Design: How to make game design as valuable as marketing is available for download here.