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I am interested in demographics of people who actually play my game. Here are few assumptions I made:

  • Players, especially the younger ones, are often not the buyers (or downloaders in case of freemium) and I don't think I can get data about buyers anyway
  • Games targeted to a certain audience can be played by completely different group in the end (Pokemon vs. Call of Duty)

The closest I can get is to probably get a similar game that already has demographics data. But how did they get the data?


I have read the following questions:

These questions give me some data, but not the way how were the data obtained. Also some of the links are already invalid.

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I thought some of the ad networks offered demographic data? –  Kelly Thomas Jun 16 '13 at 5:52
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Ask the NSA to let you know who's been talking about your game? –  Byte56 Jun 16 '13 at 15:00
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It seems like you want to use demographic data as a proxy for ways to make the game better. Is there a more direct way to figure out how to make the game better? Do you need to choose to make something for only one audience, or can you make options for multiple audiences and then see which ones work best? –  amitp Jun 16 '13 at 22:17
    
Put some kind of freemium content promotion on your website; force users to log in with facebook to get it. Better database than the NSA. –  Seth Battin Jun 17 '13 at 2:53
    
@Byte56 The sad part of your comment is that they probably have all the data. –  sm4 Jun 17 '13 at 2:55
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted
+50
  • Directly ask them on sign up, tell them to write down their date of birth. Seen this on many websites. AAA Projects do that. Such as Star Wars 1313:

http://www.lucasarts.com/games/1313/index.html

  • Give the players an additional bonus, for logging in with facebook or other social website. Take their email address and date of birth, along with other information you need. Try not to use the option "allow this application to write stuff on your timeline" - it makes people angry. Here you get complete intel on the person.
  • Polls usually have a low "clickability" it depends on the community but they are clicked by those who love the game the most*
  • Use Google Analytics on your website, a small line of code that is free, can show exactly where people are from, when do they visit.
  • Put some bonuses, for filling the entire bio. Keep in mind that people can always type in that they are Batman.
  • Pokemon, etc. would be harder, for the sake that you don't really have an internet connection on a Gameboy (I didn't have). The only thing that comes to my mind, would be creating an external knowledge base. PokeDex with tricks and other useful trivia on the game.

    This would be tricky, but... For every sold copy of the game, I'd create a serial key (done all the time for PC games). Tell the player that if they want to unlock some in-game content, they need to create an account on our website, give an option to log in with facebook, again no nagging with posting stuff on players timeline. Once they login, they enter the game code. You can give them the code.

  • If you sell the game, through your website you can ask the buyer to answer a poll, after they bought the game. Personally, I don't mind answering five questions.

  • For online games: After they played for a while encourage them to fill in their account data, make a joke that they are not NSA and that you would love to know what the audience is.

  • For offline games in end, you could make a pop up in the main menu, which would say: "If you enjoyed watching this game, please fill in a poll for us, so that we know who plays our game - 2 minutes, we/I promise. click HERE"

  • If you are using Steam to deliver the game, you have complete demographics, including the graphic card used to play the game.

  • While you make people pay for the game with a credit card, put an optional field (done all the time by pretty much everyone). "I am buying this for:" "Myself, My son, My daughter, My father, My husband"

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Anyone who put that they are Batman is lying. I'M BATMAN! –  petervaz Jun 18 '13 at 17:15
    
What have you tried from this list? Did it give you any results you could use? –  sm4 Jun 21 '13 at 2:30
    
Haven't released a pokemon like game, so I haven't used the concept I decribed. But I had bought some products that used such techniques. Many games invite you to fill in such forms. For my website I used google analytics, and the data supplied by facebook registration carried the "ASL" which was the only thing I wanted to know. It was gathered in SQL tables which is easy to read, provided you know how to walk sort and count stuff there. I simply came over such stuff in my life, in many products not only being games. Deliver it through Steam for good demographics... –  Mikolaj Marcisz Jun 21 '13 at 18:34
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My approach would be to openly and directly ask the players:

  • Include the information as optional fields in the signup process if a game account is required.

  • Mail a questionaire or web-vote to each user if you have their e-mail. Preferably with some kind of (ingame) reward for participating.

Personally, I would avoid the psychological approach since it could be perceived as manipulative if the players got wind of it.

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The problem with optional fields is that you'll get a biased sampling of people who don't mind sending that information. Depending on how you reward this, it could also add bias towards those who value those rewards over the cost of sending that information. –  congusbongus Jun 17 '13 at 3:24
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True, but not sure if required fields would do any better. Maybe it's only me, but when I'm forced to leave info that I don't agree on, I usually fake it out of pure obstinacy. Optional might be biased (towards the group that actually care about the game?) but it doesn't promote the sending of false/random data. –  Omokoii Jun 17 '13 at 8:53
    
As a note, this is the psychological approach. This is the most frequent means of acquiring data from research participants –  Attackfarm Jun 18 '13 at 18:37
    
There's no perfect way of doing it, so I agree with the questionnaire; but just a funny little quip about optional data: I once conducted a survey of 1,000 people on the street. The survey showed that exactly 100% of people are willing to take surveys. –  Katana314 Jun 19 '13 at 2:12
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This will maybe not give you exact results, but at least some. I also presume, that you are interested in countries of the whole world:

You are talking about people, that really play your game. So probably you need to figure out something about their computer. If I look for example at Windows and .Net, you may use CultureInfo to get some information about user's PC. For example language (country and region) of his Windows. I know that this is OS / technology specific, but I believe that you can get such an information with other technologies too. It's very likely that user in some country has localized operating system.

This information can be then send to you (if you have for example updates or some high score tables). Question is - do you want to try to send it secretly?

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