By observing and modelling the play needs, skills and emotional responses of players, International Hobo has developed a set of methodologies perfectly suited to matching the design of a videogame to its expected audience. The various models employed are all based on practical research, which is ongoing and at the forefront of the field (we even influence the academic community with our work!)
When you are trying to branch out and capture new markets, perhaps by working towards “casual” players, female players, or simply by experimenting in new game concepts, player modelling can provide a solid commercial foundation upon which to build. The technique can also help companies hoping to diversify from a niche audience to a mass market audience – without giving up the key strengths that a brand gains from its existing fanbase.
Player modelling removes some of the guesswork in the game design process by capturing elements of the reasons why players play games, what they get out of the experience, and which skills they employ within the game world. It also takes into account elusive factors such as game literacy – what distinguishes a “hardcore” player from a “casual” player.
The conventional videogame industry competes for market share of established genres (such as First Person Shooters and driving games) – and only the most successful products make significant returns. With player modelling, companies can target new markets – often uncontested markets – and the rewards can be astronomical, as The Sims and BrainAge franchises show. Your chances of success are far greater when you are supported with a comprehensive understanding of how and why players play games.