Gamers ♥ Stories (and other titbits)
April 02, 2008
We are about to begin the number crunching for our new player model, DGD2, and I thought I'd share a few titbits of raw data with you. Sadly, a bug has corrupted two of the data fields from the survey, but the information lost is not vital to the study, and we should be able to proceed with the wealth of data we have.
We've received 1,040 responses to the survey, of which 55% (576) are from North America, 30% (317) are from Western Europe or the UK, 5% (52) are from Australasia, and a few responses from everywhere else in the world besides.
The majority of respondents play games every day (66%), with many of the others playing every week (26%). Interestingly, of those that self-identified as "Hardcore", 81% play every day, and of those that self-identified as "Casual", 49% play every day. It seems that even people who see themselves as a Casual player are still playing amazingly often.
The most popular approach is to play alone (40%), with just a few playing single player games with pad passing or some similar group play (7%). The remaining players all prefer some kind of multiplayer format, whether in the same room (17%) or over the internet (19%, of which 5% is team or clan play), with the remaining 16% preferring virtual worlds and MMORPGs.
On the subject of game stories, there is overwhelming consensus, with 93% saying either that stories are very important to their enjoyment of videogames (36%) or that stories help them enjoy videogames (57%). A mere 5% say stories are not important, and just 1.25% say they prefer videogames without stories. Clearly, story occupies a vital space in the modern world of videogames – gamers love stories!
Next week: Top 10 Videogame Emotions!
I may be too much of a pedant, but then others may be too and we need to be wary of your insidious intent to invert facts.
Did the question (how often do you play games) mention that you were referring to computer games, as you imply here?
For the record, if you didn't, I certainly would have answered that I play games every day. That the last game I played only used language as a toy and was a 1-player effort, with a spontaneously created set of rules, makes it no less of a game in my opinion.
Seriously, is it only I who gets aggravated by survey results' refusals to reveal the actual questions/answers? Not that I expect a full breakdown released publicly, but knowing the actual wording of the questions (or being reminded of it in this case) can help in interpreting data.
On another pertinent note, I'm curious to know how folk would have found out about the survey. If it's limited to people reading about games online, its safe to say we're dealing with more frequent gamesplayers than the mean.
Posted by: Bezman | April 03, 2008 at 12:31 AM
I was going to mention something in a similar vein to Bezman - did your question allow sufficient wiggle room to allow players to admit that story is important to games, but not necessary, and only in a fairly narrow category of games (mostly single player computer games, I would guess)?
Posted by: zenBen | April 03, 2008 at 01:08 AM
Bezman: For reference, the question is worded: "I typically play computer or videogames" :)
The questions are publicly available - the survey is still running - I can publish them to the blog for reference if you would like, or email you a copy. Happy to do so.
We sourced respondents by going to competition websites; these are places where we find you can get a lot of responses from people on the fringes of videogames, but who still play) or know someone who does. Of course, the survey was also promoted through gaming sites, and we certainly got a lot of traffic that way.
I doubt it's a perfect sample, but it's the best sample we can get on our research budget. ;)
zenBen: Here's the question:
My attitude to videogame stories is:
- Stories are very important to my enjoyment of videogames
- Stories can help me enjoy a videogame
- Stories are not important to me in videogames
- I prefer videogames without stories
- I don't play videogames
I think "stories can help me enjoy a videogame" is a reasonable step back from "stories are very important to my enjoyment of videogames", personally.
Do you want me to put the whole survey to the blog for reference?
Let me know!
Edit: If you go to www.ihobo.com and click "survey", then click proceed, you can see the whole survey online without having to complete it again, so it's easy enough to check the questions. Best wishes!
Posted by: Chris | April 03, 2008 at 04:06 PM
Plenty of wiggle room there, alright. I would have used a more passive emphasis on the third option, like 'the games I prefer don't often contain stories' or similar...I would be worried about people who enjoy stories in general, in other media, but mostly play casual puzzle-type games. They might think that in the hypothetical case where they had time to play, and a game with a real/classic story, it would be important.
People like that might have felt compelled to pick the 2nd option over the 3rd...
I think I prefer a numerical ranking on Likert-type scales, so that words don't trip up the respondent, like:
'Having a story in a game I play is important' 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5
Posted by: zenBen | April 07, 2008 at 03:38 PM
But then, the exact interpretation of numerical importance is also completely subjective and variable! :D
Posted by: zenBen | April 07, 2008 at 03:44 PM
ZenBen: I didn't discover the Likert scale until after we'd launched this survey (I'm from a mechanics, not a statistics, background). I think, however, as you say here that the subjective element never gets eliminated whichever way you play it. :)
TypePad is running like a dog right now, so the rest of the comments will have to wait until tomorrow!
Posted by: Chris | April 08, 2008 at 02:00 AM