How to monitor sentiment in gaming
As more and more video game releases continue to hit the market in 2022, including Elden Ring which took six years to produce as well as Lego Star Wars, the video game industry expects another boom year in both excitement and sales. But with the launch of many new video games comes the realization that the market becomes even more crowded, and the bar is raised yet again on all aspects, including games' complexity levels, design, story, and character features. Online game services, PC gaming, and hardware manufacturers as well as streaming companies, are also raising the bar in terms of trying to figure out their customer experience in this billion-dollar market.
The gaming industry relies heavily on customer feedback data and sentiment analysis regarding their hardware and software products, and as decisions have to be made quickly on bugs fixing, new features, and future products, gathering player feedback data and analyzing it becomes more crucial. Positive sentiments from players can advance a game's sales. Negative sentiment in conversations can do the opposite. Every aspect of every game is now being analyzed to the fullest, as any feature can make or break a game. If companies wish to have a better understanding of their players' relevant insights as well as reduce their customer attrition levels, they must focus their efforts on evaluating their products' sentiment analysis.
Every gaming company invests in lots of research and analytics about its games and services, as opinions of players matter. But such factors as millions of feedback points that must be analyzed, in real-time all the time, require leaning on AI-powered analytics platforms. A company wishing to track, monitor, and analyze its player's feedback and insights must employ sentiment analysis solution methods. Once such a system collects the necessary information from many users and players all over the world, and analyses such feedback data in real-time, companies can determine their market position and take games and brand future decisions that stay in tune with their clients.
Sentiment analysis in gaming begins with identifying feedback sources, which are the different platforms where players converse about the video games that they play. Review sites, social media platforms, and player forums are some of the web locations from which to collect consumer comments and feedback. Once such data is collected, it is easier to conduct sentiment analysis on video game-specific features.
Sentiment analysis in gaming must be measured throughout the game lifecycle, as well as for specific games for the genres and characteristics. In order to gain insights from customers about trends and for future decisions, every data aspect of every game, including marketing, sales, customer service, and obviously product, must be analyzed. And as the industry progresses, companies and their competitors will increase their game research and feedback analysis efforts, if they wish to survive the tough video game industry.
Sentiment measurement in a game lifecycle
Sentiment analysis can be applied to every stage of a game's lifecycle.
Tracking, monitoring, and analyzing customer experience and sentiment enable companies to measure their chances and performance every step of the way. Evaluating what millions of players give their opinion about can help companies to better navigate their game investments, hopefully, minimize risks, and to watch their efforts generate revenues.
The development stage requires lots of ongoing research, whether it is a new version of a game or console, or a company discussing inventing a whole new video game. In order to minimize its investment risk, a company can turn to its customers for opinions and insights on the idea, direction, and future potential of a video game. Data analysis at this stage can sometimes lead to changing major features and focus, as new solutions and decisions arise, and as companies use their data value to optimize its development.
The announcement about a video game, a marketing event, can be measured for the reactions from players and users, and serve as yet another benchmark for analysis of all aspects of the video game. The trailer launch can be the next phase to analyze, and with AI-powered tools, it is easier to figure out the customer's voice and opinions about the brand. When huge volumes of players react to such launches, from all over the world and on many social media outlets, a company can conduct media analytics to measure such performance. Sentiment analysis can also be measured as a result of data collected from all of these phases even before the actual game launches on the market.
A video game launch can be covered for a sentiment analysis evaluation in at least two phases. The immediate first few days after the game hits the market, and as players begin to test its full features, is a crucial time for companies. They usually spend most of their advertising budgets towards the video game launch date, expecting to focus players' attention on its arrival. Then, after the first two weeks from the launch, another important time period takes place, when relevant insights from players can be gathered. They already spent some time trying out the video game, and they can more fully realize its pros and cons. Negative comments and complaints must be dealt with, as the company needs to examine if there are quick fixes and solutions that can take place, if necessary.
From there on, companies must stay close to their customers for the long run, and alongside maintaining their marketing efforts and sales monitoring, while also constantly checking up on their competitors, brand and sentiment analysis based on customer feedback continues. The sentiment analysis of the customer experience remains intact throughout the video game lifecycle. Gaming companies must not cease to explore and research their customer sentiment towards their games and brand.
Measuring player sentiment by gaming features
There are several key sentiment measurements for companies to explore. As they continue to figure out what their customers think about their products, concentrate on generating revenues and address customer attrition levels, gaming companies continue to perform feedback data analytics and determine their next product and marketing moves. If a majority of their clients react with negative sentiment to any one or more of the following features, companies must go back to their drawing boards and figure out how to improve on such feedback. They can also evaluate the overall effect of such feedback on their brand sentiment.
Perception of the game’s strategy: this usually answers the question of whether the game delivered on its premise and promise, or in simpler words, were the players satisfied with it in general. A video game industry client, the player, can rate a game on a review board or give a general thumbs-up/thumbs-down. Then, when the collective opinion of millions of users is collected, a brand sentiment score for the game can emerge. In addition, analysis of the qualitative data can pinpoint what were the elements that contributed to the overall sentiment, and then the company can gain valuable insights regarding its product and understand what it did right or where it failed.
Multiplayer features (user interface and the way to react to each other): the ability for a multi-player game, thus creating more competition and excitement, relies on a great user interface combined with no-glitches and a seamless and smooth operation. Gaming producers also follow how different players react to their companions while playing together, as there have been cases of players harassing others on chats or on social media. As a result of such tracking, some companies have issued ethics documents calling for "fair and safe play".
Whether a PC gaming feature, a console, or a streamed game, consumer reaction to the ease of use when multi-playing is key. Gamers' Twitter data, Reddit reviews, or YouTube criticism of their customer experience can make or break a game.
Character features (design and attributes): some players are not afraid to show their emotions, and converse about them when discussing a game's characters all over the web. Insights about a game's heroes, villains, and non-player characters (any character in a game that the player does not control) include comments about their physical appearance, strengths and weaknesses, behaviors, star quality, and more. Emotions can run high as tensions increase in action-adventure games, and as the heroes win and advance or get beaten up and lose. The emotional factors raised by gamers and clients do not escape the analysis of the gaming companies and are often mentioned to show the true value of a video game.
Design concepts (hero’s mechanics, interactive environment): common talk among the video game industry and developers usually include remarks on how the bar has been raised in design concepts and features too. As progress was made in animation regarding the characters' mechanics, such as facial and bodily movements, major new games are viewed for their design no less than for their other aspects and value. In such a crowded industry, with many new games and updates being released on a weekly basis, trends have to deal with design issues as well. Background locations and interactive movement also contribute to the overall "look and feel" of a game, and the game's clients feel free to comment about them and even rate them.
Computer science advances, newer software options, and experience gained with designers all contributed to raising the bar on this aspect. Players' insights, with regards to design, will show in a game's sentiment analysis and can affect the brand a lot.
Pricing: there are a variety of payment options in the gaming world, and with the exclusion of free-to-play games, players can pay for consoles, game subscriptions and in-game purchases (fees paid for advancing to the next stages in certain games). Gaming services and their competitors are always looking to lure gamers with compelling price offers, but players devoting considerable time to some games still find themselves shelling out lots of dollars just to keep playing. A player's opinion and insights regarding pricing and payments, in addition to an examination of how competitors price their video games, is yet another important consideration for a gaming service to make.
Technical features (rendering, frame rate, etc): rendering is the process of computing an image from the content of a scene. In other words, it is the way an animated scene is assembled out of the computer in the format of a sequence of individual frames. Frame rate, measured in frames per second, refers to how smooth a game runs on a player's computer. The more frames per second, the more smooth the picture moves on the screen. Frame rates of 30 frames per second are considered low, for example, and therefore result in a slow and blurry image.
Professional and non-professional players are used to playing by the "video game industry standards", and if a company fails to deliver on its promise for a smooth-and-flowing video game, it can expect some online backlash for its products. A video game industry client comments on technical issues, for better or worse, and it shows in the overall sentiment of the gaming business too.
Measuring player sentiment by game genres
All of the above features are present in the brand and game's sentiment analysis but the various game genres also play an important role within the video game industry. Every production company strives to be a market leader in its genre or niche, and the conversations players make about the genres affect and shape the direction by which gaming services make their strategic moves. Insights about genres determine trends, figure in brand analytics, affect marketing budgets and campaigns as well as drive business solutions and strategy.
Here are some gaming industry examples of leading genres. In this multi-billion dollar market, customers and players can make very specific comments regarding them and by that contribute to the overall brand value and sentiment analysis.
Action genre: this leading video game genre (see Mortal Kombat) includes Shooter features (multiple ammunition types, run, and gun, aim down sights) and fighting features (weapon-based, combos/combinations). Gaming production houses try to track players' feedback about such items in order to gain actionable insights and find solutions to improve them.
Player reviews of Shooting features relate to design, movement, and levels of overall player's excitement from them. Combos, short for combination, discusses just how players felt from playing a specific set of actions performed in sequence, carrying timing limitations and ones that yield significant advantages or rewards. After all, this is what "action" is all about.
Adventure genre: Analysis of players' feedback relates usually to the core of this genre, in which a player controls a certain hero who is on a mission, quest, or journey (as in Myst). Within this narrative, the hero has to explore and then discover something. Such heroes could also be involved in solving a puzzle or coded paragraphs. Gamers discuss just how interesting the overall plot and hero are, but also delve into sub-scenes and incidents the hero must go through. Such games are usually less violent than those in the action genre, but there are also games that mix action and adventure (GTA) that do carry some violence.
Traditional sales and industry analysis show that this genre is less popular than the "action" genre, but is still riding high when compared to other genres in the gaming world. Social media outlets as well as other feedback sources and forums reveal how players have enjoyed this genre, but also what they complain about, giving production businesses the opportunity to figure out what to do for the next video game versions.
Puzzle and word games: this genre offers more traditional types of games with various difficulty levels. Millions of players enjoy testing their brains for such games as Wordle, which serves as a great example of this genre's characteristics: Very simple games, with low-production and design values, but high on the "think meter". Players usually praise such games as "trainers for the mind" but can also discuss if their content is too easy or too hard for them.
Life simulation: Sims serves as a perfect example in this genre, in which characters are placed in a certain home location and players move them around, help shape their moods and fulfill their desires and ambitions. Such games usually lack a defined "big" goal but pass the player's time by controlling the Sims characters' actions.
Others: There are many other video games genres, for which sentiment analysis also brings lots of "food for thoughts" for its producers.
There are various calculus games that fall under the "Educational games" category and are intended for learning experiences with some combination of fun. Then there are casual games, which are easy and are intended to be used by the masses, including puzzles and trivia. Finally, there are strategic games, in which players' decision-making skills have a high significance in determining the game's outcome. Sentiment analysis for each type varies, but many games within such categories are considered to be generating revenues, player conversations count in the efforts by their producers to improve them or even come out with the "next big hit game".
AI-Powered measurement of sentiment in gaming
Online game services, PC gaming, consoles, and games in streaming services all share some common basic industry features which the video game industry houses all share. There are hundreds of millions of players, all over the world, who are engaged in them. Players want to be entertained always, and if a game breaks down or bores them, they move on to the next one, making this a very competitive market. And, many of them converse about their gaming experiences all over the web.
If gaming businesses wish to maintain, or even increase, their share of the huge gaming world pie, they must constantly figure out what their players are saying about them and about their competitors. Sentiment analysis solutions and understanding will also help them to address customer attrition levels, improve brand image and maintain their industry position.
For tracking, monitoring, and analyzing millions of players' feedback points, Affogata's customer intelligence platform delivers real-time player insights from all over the open web. The AI-analytics platform delivers businesses with accurate sentiment analysis of their games and brand and helps them shape their next market moves when it comes to products and services.
Affogata connects the gaming production houses with their customers, such as parents buying a video game for their kids, and of course users and players. The sentiment analysis flows from players to the games' manufacturers and designers, who in return offer solutions and improvements based on the collective opinion of those gamers. Affogata is constantly identifying feedback sources, collects responses and mentions, and offers video game industry insights and solutions.
Whether on social media platforms or in review boards and forums, once players converse and leave comments, the AI-powered platform carries out the analytics in order to reach actionable insights.