[games_access] Looking for feedback
khattner at crystald.com
Sat Apr 18 16:25:03 EDT 2015
Where experimentation is not possible, the important thing is to get metrics on these features. The games I work on, we know how many people get through each level, which weapons they use the most, etc. So, I've requested to track things like how many people have subtitles turned on, or if we had the option to remap controls, I would want to know how many people use that feature. If you can show the management that a significant portion of your users use these features, it will add weight to implementing more, regardless of why they are using the feature.
From: games_access [mailto:games_access-bounces at igda.org] On Behalf Of Ian Hamilton
Sent: Friday, April 17, 2015 1:07 AM
To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List
Subject: Re: [games_access] Looking for feedback
The difficulty is relating sales to design considerations, as you have no way of knowing why someone bought a game.
And anything you learn before launch its only good for anecdotes rather than data, as even with beta releases the sample is too small and too skewed.
However, if your business model isn't based on upfront sales, if you're making money post-launch through IAPs etc it perfectly possible, through what you said about two versions of the game.
That's an existing technique, called A/B testing. You make two slight variations of a point release, only changing one very specific element (e.g. 3 lives in one version, 4 in the other) so you know that any differences in data only relate to that change. You can then look differences in IAP revenue between the two.
You need lots of data for it to have any significance, so you need a popular game with lots of players and a time investment too, but it gets you hard specific data.
Big F2P companies such as King have big teams of data scientists already collecting data like that, some of which would relate to decisions that are also useful for accessibility, but the data is commercially sensitive, they aren't going to want to share it publicly.
There's also the other thing you mentioned about tracking usage of individual features, which is easy. Again though the problem is relating it to money.
It is possible in certain circumstances though, when you're looking at it in terms of disability rather than general usefulness. Although there are exceptions, it's safe to say the majority of people who will play a game with a screen reader turned on would not be playing it if screen readers weren't supported. And on mobile, it's easy to track how many of your players have a screen reader turned on.
Solara did it, and discovered that their blind players played for much longer and spent far more on in app purchases than anyone else.
As did MUDRammer, the developer spent two days implementing screen reader support, and soon after he did, started tracking data and saw that 13% of his players were screen reader users (13 times higher than prevalence in the general population... As with Solara, experiencing the benefits of catering to underserved audiences!). He doesn't have a large player base, but at $5 per sale and two days to implement, he still made a more or less instant profit on his blind-accessibility work.
Even if you can't relate it to sales, the data is still valuable. For example tracking how many people play with subtitles turned on, how many people remap their controls, how many adjust individual volume levels independently, etc.
If you can demonstrate that a feature is used by a large number of players relative to how much effort it took to develop, that justifies it being higher priority in future games (and other people's future games too, if the data can be shared). Which means more chance if it being included, and more chance of it having decent time spent on it.
----- Reply message -----
From: "Chad Philip Johnson" <chad at anacronist.com>
To: <games_access at igda.org>
Subject: [games_access] Looking for feedback
Date: Fri, Apr 17, 2015 06:41
Hmmmm... well put. I was thinking that it would be nice to build some evidence where accessibility considerations also contributed to improved game design and thus higher sales were attained. Then I had a really hard time coming up with ways how this could be done. A company would have to release two versions of the game in the same market--one with these extra design considerations and one without--and then have sales performance and user feedback compared [???].
Focus groups for an unreleased game would be the only way to build data of any value. Even then, the developer would have to develop two versions of the game simultaneously: one with accessibility features worked in and another without. It still doesn't make very much sense.
Perhaps it could be done with a very early version of the game....
Academia is really the only place where an undertaking like this might be feasible.
On the flipside, with the right analytics, it is definitely possible to track increased sales due to the addition of accessibility features.
Perhaps the connection between accessibility and improved game design is too abstract an idea for most. It may also take some finesse.
Chad Philip Johnson
> Date: 16 Apr 2015 00:35:58 -0700 From: Ian Hamilton <i_h at hotmail.com>
> To: IGDA Games Accessibility SIG Mailing List <games_access at igda.org>
> Subject: Re: [games_access] Looking for feedback Message-ID:
> <COL401-EAS473F56530E9FCFD393D999491E40 at phx.gbl> Content-Type:
> text/plain; charset="utf-8"
> I think both angles can have value, depending on the situation and
> people involved.
> Two real world examples:
> First someone who was trying to persuade others in their team to
> implement multiple input methods.
> The good game design for all players angle was no use, as the
> designers were convinced that the input method they had chosen was the
> best. They couldn't picture anyone having different preferences.
> So then the accessibility angle. Doing the work solely for benefit of
> minorities was easier than the game design angle because it's not
> really a matter of opinion, its easy enough to explain that some
> aren't physically able.
> It came down to the line, but towards the end of development they
> implemented four different input methods. It was solely on the basis
> of accessibility, the designers were still convinced that their
> original method was obviously the best, and the only people who would
> use the others would be people who physically had no choice.
> They then tracked the data and discovered how wrong that was, each of
> the four input methods saw approx 25% use.
> So in this example selling it on game design alone was ineffective.
> Accessibility alone was more effective, but still tough. But now that
> they have the data, for future games they'll be able to solidly argue
> that it should be done for both accessibility and good game design,
> which will be an easier sell again than either angle was individually.
> Second example, one of the big FPS franchises.
> The designers there desperately wanted to work on accessibility, but
> any time anything disability related made it onto the backlog it was
> kicked straight off again by their bosses, due to the usual
> misconceptions about demographics and return on investment.
> So they were looking for ways to get stuff in as good design. Top of
> their list was remapping, which they wanted to push as something
> beneficial for core gamers, and not mention accessibility at all.
> They weren't successful with that particular feature, but it's
> certainly something that I've done myself before when dealing with my
> own colleagues or bosses who are actively hostile towards
> accessibility and can't be persuaded otherwise... Leave the term
> accessibility out of the equation, just let it happen naturally by
> concentrating on the things that can easily be justified as good general design.
> It's not ideal, it can be trumped by other people's ideas of what
> constitutes good design and I wouldn't rely on it as a first resort,
> but it can help in a pinch.
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