Facebook Gaming’s Tim Lion explains how genre diversification is a key trend for 2020 and why people choose to play the genres they do. This article was created in collaboration with Facebook Gaming.
In last month’s edition of MCV/DEVELOP my colleague Morgan Monnet wrote about the fundamentals of a solid user acquisition strategy. Who your users are, as Morgan mentioned, depends on a lot of factors, demonstrating that there is enormous diversity amongst gaming audiences.
In business, diversification can be a very effective strategy. In the business of gaming, the industry thinks and talks about diversification a lot; whether it’s geographic or market diversification, media and creative diversification, even placement diversification across Facebook’s solutions is important.
This need for diversification comes from the fact that there is a huge range of genres in mobile gaming (the biggest sector in gaming), and an ever-expanding player base. COVID-19 has also dramatically shifted how people consume media and entertainment and brought new and lapsed gamers to mobile gaming, compounding this diversity.
When we published the inaugural Facebook Gaming Marketing Trends report at the end of 2019, we identified “genre diversification” as one of the key trends for 2020. We saw an emergent behavior that players were not fixed to any given genre. Not only that, but the profile of players was hugely diverse.
We grew curious about the motivations behind genre preference. Especially as more people play mobile games and fewer people identify as “gamers” (especially at the casual end of the genre spectrum).
Around the same time as the Marketing report, Facebook IQ, who provide insights, studies and research conducted a global study of player preference across genres. These third-party studies enable us to be strategic partners to gaming companies, who can leverage our scale to better understand the market and audience preferences. While this research was being fielded, the Facebook Gaming team in APAC were working with GameRefinery to run masterclasses for developers on the features being used by market-leading games in given genres.
“We grew curious about the motivations behind genre preference. Especially as more people play mobile games and fewer people identify as ‘gamers’.”
It became immediately obvious that if we took the insights drawn from our consumer research and married them with the GameRefinery feature ranking system we could offer developers a unique and comprehensive view of the relationship between player preference and game features across genres and markets. In other words, taking the insights from the Facebook IQ studies we could learn about why people play the way they play. Then working with our partners at GameRefinery, we could look at how people play.
We put a task force together with a view to producing a deep dive into the relationship gamers have with genres and how well games within key genres deliver on players’ expectations.
The result is our comprehensive free report: Genre and Great Games – Understanding audiences and designing better mobile games, which is available to download for free now. It explores 4 key areas of gaming:
- Genre fulfillment: What motivates people to play certain genres and how well current games deliver on those expectations
- Community: What role community features play across the genres and what features support social connection in gameplay
- Monetization: What monetization strategy is best suited to each genre and the features that support that approach
- Ad preferences: What elements of advertising resonate with players of given genres and how to entice new players or bring back lapsed players.
The report spans 4 key genres (Strategy, RPG, Puzzle and Hyper-Casual) in 4 key markets (US, UK, South Korea and Japan).
Understanding who your player is
Genre and Great Games is structured by genre, breaking down audience demographics and insights across the genres and markets. For example: In the US, of the 193 million mobile gamers, 74% of Puzzle players identify as female, 67% of Strategy players identify as male, and 67% of Puzzle players are aged 35 or older, whereas 64% of US Hyper-Casual players are 18-34.
The play sessions of Hyper-Casual players in the US typically last no longer than 20 minutes while 68% of RPG players have sessions in excess of thirty minutes. Interestingly though, only 24% of surveyed players say that the next game they play will definitely be the same genre.
Players’ expectations versus reality
We also identified significant gaps in delivery against expectations across the genres. Nearly half (44%) of Hyper-Casual players say that being able to express something unique about themselves is important when playing but less than a quarter (24%) say that current Hyper-Causal games deliver on this need.
Understanding who plays which genre, why they play them and how the genres deliver in terms of player preference makes for compelling reading.
To build great games, It’s important for developers to diversify the portfolio of games they’re offering, and to understand the diversity of player preferences, across a broad set of genres in mobile. There is also a need for diverse creative in both your game and in your ads to appeal across the markets where games are published. This is critical to making great games and retaining a diverse and high-value audience.
Genre and Great Games was produced with a view to helping the industry create better games for the fans of gaming. Bringing the world’s gaming community together is important to Facebook Gaming – from those who make games, to those who market them and all of us who play, the better the games and the associated marketing, the better the experience for everyone.
You can get your copy of Genre and Great Games for free now at fb.gg/genre2020