Difference between vocal fans on forums and larger player base?

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#1 Posted by Lucky_Krystal (1730 posts) -

So Gamespot posted an article today. The article reported that Ubisoft Toronto's head, Jade Raymond, claimed that the Splinter Cell games were "too complex," which in turn hurt its popularity. The Gamespot article took a small portion of that article and ran with it. I'll admit, even I didn't take that article so well. The original Eurogamer article has much more info.

One excerpt that really stood out to me was: "There's a big difference between the vocal fans who write things on forums and what the larger base of players think." In other words, what we forum goers say don't always match up with the data developers gather. She goes on to say:

"You can jump to assumptions only reading what people post on forums. That can be very different from what you find from user analysis afterwards.

"And even with the user analysis, when you get the bigger data in, there's also a lot of room for misinterpretation."

Raymond experienced data misinterpretation with Assassin's Creed, which she once worked on.

"There was one mission everyone was playing," she said. "We got the data back and it was like, 'You guys need to make more of these missions because there was something about this mission that was great.' You look at it and it's like, 'That's because that was the only side mission you had to do.' It wasn't because it was magically better. It was the one you had to play in the game.

"You have to interpret the data," she continued. "After shipping Conviction, there were a lot of people who said the fans didn't like Mark and Execute. But when we looked at our broader feedback - we do surveys through Uplay and get thousands and thousands of players - the people who rated those new features the highest were actually players who played at least two games in the series before. So in fact it was the opposite of what the data was telling us.

"So even though there were some vocal fans who felt a certain way and we would go, 'Okay, right, we're never doing that again,' the broader data told us a different story.Eurogamer

So I hear a lot of people who frequent forums say that many companies are apparently "out of touch" with gamers. This makes me think: Are they really, or are they giving the majority exactly what they want? Hanging around several like minded people on a net forum makes it far easier to believe that the majority of all people think as you do.

So when Ubisoft says things like "Gamers want a new AC every year" or "microtransactions are the future" or "Gamers are ready for always online" they immediately get a negative response from the gaming community on internet forums. But are we just one small minority who's views are the opposite of sales data and player feedback from a broader range of players?

Also, are you in favor of making a traditionally challenging game more accessible by giving the player options to play a harder or easier difficulty? Or...do you believe harder games shouldn't be made more accessible at all, no exceptions?

#2 Posted by wiouds (5065 posts) -

Even Sales figures can be wrong. After all sales only count the yes votes. It does not reflect why one would by or not buy a game.

#3 Posted by LoG-Sacrament (20397 posts) -

as for difficulty, i don't think there is a universal difficulty level that is right for all games. some games should be approachable and some should be difficult. take 2 fantasy rpg's as examples: skyrim and demon's souls

the elder scrolls games (at least from my experience. i've only played iii-v) are about making the game your own. if you want to rush through the main quest with a gimped hand-to-hand build, they're designed to let you do that. they should be approachable.

demon's souls is different. key parts of it's lore are expressed primarily through player death. systems that are also part of the lore need death to function. really, the entire aesthetic of the game is that it's dark, cold, and foreboding. warmly embracing the player and helping them every step of the way would kill that. it should be difficult and have strict a ruleset.

#4 Posted by capaho (1253 posts) -

Sales figures say more about the popularity of a game than either forum posts or surveys, particularly when game marketers can really only survey online gamers, who are not likely to be representative of gamers who prefer single-player campaigns thus don't spend much time online.  I also doubt that the vocal gamers who spend a lot of time in the forums have much impact on the buying habits of the silent majority player base, if such a thing exists.  I would expect that game sales are more likely driven by word of mouth.  If a game is good, gamers will recommend it to their friends.  If not, they will advise their friends not to buy it.

#5 Posted by SupremeAC (7521 posts) -
When miss Raymond says things like "gamers want a new AC every year", all she's saying is "we're able to sell enough of them on a yearly basis, at this particular point in time, to keep making them". They can keep track of as much info as they want, but you can't predict with 100% certainty what new IP will sell and which ones will not. They struck gold with AC, and as long as they can keep selling them in insane numbers, they'll do everything they can to make as many of them as they can. At one point people will tire of them, as they did of buying yet another set of ridiculous plastic drums, and the series will be put on hold. I agree that forums and online communities probably don't make up the core demographic of games like AC, and that thus they don't need to listen to them. For other, smaller, outfits with a niche following however, online communites are their core demographic, and those people would be wise to listen to what those communities have to say. As for hard games offering an easy mode: I think there is a place for 'hard' games in the market. The problem is that when a hard game gets too big of a budget, it needs more sales then that specific part of the market that desires such games, can offer. So either they keep the games low-budget, or they'll need to do things to try and attract those other gamers who do not crave to be beaten to a bloody pulp over and over again.
#6 Posted by capaho (1253 posts) -

Even Sales figures can be wrong. After all sales only count the yes votes. It does not reflect why one would by or not buy a game.

wiouds
How can sales figures be wrong? The money is in the bank once the sale is done. That's the only thing that really matters to the game companies.
#7 Posted by wiouds (5065 posts) -

[QUOTE="wiouds"]

Even Sales figures can be wrong. After all sales only count the yes votes. It does not reflect why one would by or not buy a game.

capaho

How can sales figures be wrong? The money is in the bank once the sale is done. That's the only thing that really matters to the game companies.

I mean they do not reflect whgat is really happening.

#8 Posted by nameless12345 (15125 posts) -

There is the individual opinion and there is the mass opinion.

For me, Ubi's games like Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon and Spliter Cell were un-interesting since RS3 (PC version, not the watered-down console one), Advanced Warfighter (the more realistic and tactical PC version) and SC: Chaos Theory. (PC version also, as it looked best)

But I'm sure there are many who do not share my opinion and that I and similar-minded people may be in the minority here.

#9 Posted by pcty (365 posts) -

I have to agree with her we are the kind of people that search information and devote alot of time to our hobby we are definetely not the majority, we are not the average consumer, we are just a vocal minority.

Take Diablo III as an example, right after it's release you would find hate messages spread all over the games sites but in the end it was all irrelevant to Blizzard because the sales were incredible high, I believe that most gamers that bought D3 weren't even aware about the issues that were being debated on the game forums.

Most consumers don't research about what they are going to buy that is why I believe that Microsoft can release an Always on console and still sell millions of units because most of people won't even know that their console requires an internet connection.

#10 Posted by MrGeezer (56128 posts) -
Also, are you in favor of making a traditionally challenging game more accessible by giving the player options to play a harder or easier difficulty? Or...do you believe harder games shouldn't be made more accessible at all, no exceptions?Lucky_Krystal
That depends on whether or not it's worth it. Depends on the costs of making it more accessible, vs the benefits, and I suspect that that has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. If it costs little to make it more accessible, and doesn't significantly alienate existing fans, then I'd wager it's worth doing. But if it's massively expensive to make it more accessible and/or it changes the game so significantly that it ruins what existing fans like about it in the first place, then that's a much riskier situation. I guess it just depends.
#11 Posted by JustPlainLucas (73596 posts) -
Yeah, in a way she's right. The gamers she's speaking about are the casual ones, the ones who don't like taking time to figure out efficient ways to play games, dying over and over to get it right. They want instant gratification. It's a gameplay equivalent to microtransactions. And well, Yannis Mallat was right in saying most gamers were ready for always online games and consoles, because the gamers he was referring to WEREN'T us, but the other gamers who just buy whatever they see on the shelves without caring about what goes on behind the boxes.