Full Circle: Publisher discovers players' needs

Full Circle: Publisher discovers players' needs
James Batchelor

By James Batchelor

November 18th 2015 at 11:12AM

Continuing our new series of interviews, publisher Spil Games learns more about how players discover titles

Yesterday, we launched a new series of Full Circle interviews, exploring the needs and issues of developers, publishers and players alike.

We kicked off with a developer interviewing a publisher about what they look for in games they wish to sign and studios they want to work with. Today, we take the next step with a publisher questioning a player about their expectations for new games, spending habits and views on in-game advertising and purchases.

Our publisher is once again Spil Games, represented by head of licensing Jan-Michel Saaksmeier (above left), while our player is Kristen Rutherford (above right), mother and former hardcore gamer.

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Saaksmeier:
Where do you find new games? Do you tend to download games via personal recommendations or through press, what you find in the app stores, through reviews in the press/websites, via advertising in other games? And do you feel that finding new content is easy?
 

Rutherford:
For me, everything is word of mouth. And it always seems to be the same friends who hook me into the games that I end up playing endlessly. There are a couple of women in particular that are always dead on in their recommendations for games I’ll enjoy. I’m not a rube – I know that sometimes they are recommending things because there’s a social aspect to them. For instance, they need me to clean their town, or help them get diamonds or stars or whatever.

Sometimes I page through the app store and see what’s made the top lists – I have companies that I am super loyal to, and know that they’ll always provide a good experience. If it’s not one of them, I’ll spend time looking at the screengrabs and video. 

Saaksmeier:
When you first load a new game, what are the key elements that make you invest the time in the game, what catches your attention and what puts you off? What, if anything, would you say would make you uninstall a game straight away?
 

Rutherford:
If I am buying something for my daughter, I stay away from anything with loads of in-app purchases. I’ll absolutely do a “free” version first and suffer advertising for a bit, but I’d much rather pay a couple of bucks for the luxury of not having to put up with advertising.

If it’s for my daughter, I’ll pony up the cash before I try a “Lite” version. I’m looking for a game that’s intuitive, doesn’t make me shake my mobile device around like a maniac – because how will I hide that I am playing a game instead of doing something more important. Cute characters are always a plus, as are rewards and a good sense of humour. If things get too complicated right away without a good ramp up that helps me build skills, the game goes straight into the bin.

Another thing that will make me uninstall a game is not having control over the music and sound effects.

Sometimes I page through the app store and see what’s made the top lists – I have companies that I am super loyal to, and know that they’ll always provide a good experience. If it’s not one of them, I’ll spend time looking at the screengrabs and video. 

Kristen Rutherford

Saaksmeier:
When it comes to adverts in game, what sort of things bother you, if anything? Do you feel ads are a necessary element or do they put you off playing a game. Is there certain times in a game (at the end of levels or between game elements) that you feel ads should or shouldn’t be? Are in-game ads ever successful – do you ever click on them?
 

Rutherford:
I sort of touched on this before but in terms of a game for me, I don’t mind a lite version to see if I want to invest money in the game. Chances are I’ll pay the money within a few minutes of making a decision on whether or not I like the game. As far as my daughter is concerned, I don’t like advertisements or in-app purchases.

The only time I have clicked on an ad in a game is when the ad is telling me there’s an update to the game I’m playing, new things to buy or add to a town for example. And when my daughter is playing, we’ll click on an ad from that company telling us that they have a new game. 

Saaksmeier:
What sort of games do you spend money on? Do you pay for games or do you only play f2p games? When there are in-game purchases; do you ever partake? Do you purchase things like extra lives or additional content?
 

Rutherford:
Oh yes, I’m not above spending money on a game. I really try not to but sometimes desperate times call for desperate dollars to be spent on lives. I don’t usually like to buy extra power ups or tools – I much prefer to earn them, even if it’s earning them by a log-in bonus.

When it comes to lives, I’m more likely to buy depending on the situation – like if I’m on an airplane, where I just want to keep playing to kill time. And I will buy things for my daughter occasionally. When she plays Princess Palace Pets, sometimes I’ll pay the buck or two to unlock a new pet for her. I use extra content like that as a treat/reward for her. Like you would promise a kid dessert if they finish their dinner. 

If I am buying something for my daughter, I stay away from anything with loads of in-app purchases. I’ll absolutely do a “free” version first and suffer advertising for a bit, but I’d much rather pay a couple of bucks for the luxury of not having to put up with advertising.

 Kristen Rutherford

 

Saaksmeier:
How long do spend playing mobile games and would you consider yourself a gamer, a casual gamer or someone who just enjoys mobile entertainment? Would you say that playing mobile/casual games is comparable (from a defining yourself as a player) to playing PC or console games?

Rutherford:
I used to be a hardcore gamer. I owned all the consoles and kept up with the latest releases. I was never really a PC gamer, though I do enjoy browser-based tower-building games. I stay away from MMORPGs like WoW and League of Legends because I tend to get really sucked into them and not realise how much time has gone by, but I do love RPGs on consoles.

Then I had a baby and suddenly I didn’t have the unbridled free time to sit in front of the television playing. It seems so indulgent. So now I am a dedicated mobile game player, strictly casual. I prefer mobile, casual because I can drop in and out. I can play while I’m waiting for school to let out or whatever else I do with my super gangsta mom life now.

The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself a gamer anymore. But my husband, who is a hardcore gamer and still keeps up with every title says that he considers me to be more of a gamer than ever. Now if I’m on a console, I’m playing with my daughter – we play Peggle 2, Monopoly and dancing games.

You can read part one of our Full Circle reviews, Developer vs Publisher, right here. Head back to Develop Online tomorrow for our final part, Player vs Developer.