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Designing Games for "the 43-year-old woman"

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Chris Trottier, Zynga, GDC 2011

Chris Trottier, Zynga, GDC 2011


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  • Started as joke
  • I’m old! I’m a woman!Can finally “speak for my people.”
  • True *am* old…<talking for these players>Different arbitrary fact
  • only bc 42Conference of game developers
  • Life before workLife outside of workNot game focused
  • No game chattyFriends fascinated…Change subject
  • Grew up w/ 6-sided dice
  • Boggle zone(ms. Popularity) I love playing farmville
  • raw nerves, no tweakmany yrsStruggling. “must be something wrong”FriendlyTry on
  • Seek gamesWhether mmo or pogo.. FIND way.
  • Produce aisle“hey, I’m totally into a game right now.”You can buy here!
  • AccidentalGame comes to them: party, fbCould totes be into
  • “If women were men, they would never get laid.”Bat eyelashes, find partnerMuscles for woo
  • Quick “get inside heads”
  • 60 things I like.Oh, sure. But also-ran. Competition.
  • Computer = 20 thingsGames?Radar = LOW, noise
  • My kid!PT. SAHM 2 daysLeisure??little patience  none.plane ridekids as villianousnpc’s
  • The game
  • FailBig emotionsClumsyteethNO!geneva convention.hemmorrhage
  • “advance your kid”Tuning? Game??Suboptimal.“can’t care about this”
  • Non-linearChaosWhite noiseRemember ??
  • 101 To DoPull together.Insufficient time.ONLY time it makes sense to game = FRIED
  • Judge not.Be patient, kind, respectful. Entertainment = different
  • Savor, relax, enjoy
  • ConcreteRelationshipsFirst impressionDateCourtshipkeeper
  • Bad breath
  • Easy to walkVERY light curiosity, commitmentEasy to walkRoll-out-of-bed easy…
  • Humbling first click  first game actionTheory  seeing real #’s, sending real players packing
  • duh
  • Supercute.5 minsTuned for someone else.
  • duh
  • The 180Pastels, soft art. “condescending”No examplesNiche-y
  • Big, broad, mass successes
  • PrioritiesGuiltyReal life trumps
  • RL scheduleevents, tournaments. TSO, despite best intentions.
  • Classic moment:Damnit! Stuck! How to proceed?Not intentional. Just… pick else
  • MMO’s = social = higher % of women!!Friend guideBest-of-breedStill…
  • RL friendsSocial rules
  • Anonymous = uninhibitedjargon
  • High-performance….“this is something I don’t have to learn.”
  • Gamer moment: “awesome, what is this telling me about how it works???”“I don’t have to care.”Gradual +++
  • Orc or elf? speed offenseFun? Or stressful?
  • Function ==!Crops you like? Fiction?Free building! New gameplay!!STUCK!!Space??
  • pet peeve.Gamer moment: immersive world.No-op
  • From any spot, can tell you how to reach any other spot.
  • Bad date!Nervous when people excited about 3D
  • More fun AcademicMe  shooterBeautiful, work, sing
  • Relationship: “Is this person worth my time?”3 weeks?
  • Our old reliable may not be sufficientGUILTY re: time for selfReality TV
  • Relax = building block. BBlitzNew vein, exciting
  • If FB has taught us anything…
  • Had 24 slides I had to cut!!CREATIVE PROCESS. Tap vein, unexercised.A fantasy I didn’t know I had.“better person because of you.”
  • Love you, “in a rut.”
  • Small, unexpectedExpand what’s possibleFreshness in relationship, SURPRISE
  • Same core, feels NEWSims new family = new family. I haven’t been X before.
  • Players = invested SELVES. WANT to stay. Be worthwhile.SystemsLift, updraftNested goals
  • OUT THERE fantasy. Armegeddon, space…REAL WORLD fantasy. Our world = infinitely larger than you might imagine.Relevance.
  • Embarrassinglyavatars across a # of different services
  • more “out there” = costume party
  • We pulled a marthastewart in farmville.Perfumes, soaps… nice associations.
  • Beauty pageant hostChristmas without constraints of $ or taste or storage.
  • RL friends 100X more interesting (timschaffer)Books?Movies?Reality tv?
  • light touches  long way.
  • leaderboards
  • Twilight zone. Launch, hollywood hills…Celebu-model-party girlHangs with all the FAAABULOUS peopleCharming little suburban scenarios w/ boyfriend. Exploring all the possibilities.
  • FICTIONALLY MEANINGFUL!Qualitative leap.
  • Sims first love marriage babies job, promotion, top of career
  • Many weeksBeautiful, immersive.Wanted to see THAT one.PAID OFF! (aesthetic)
  • 90% mechanic, 10% contentWANT.
  • Charming, vintage road-side signsEnergize faithful LE crop w/ mastery. Or double-points mastery.Perseverate
  • HABITFeels good.
  • SolitaireWin a hand
  • Clear group of diners, diner dash
  • Zen.Clear my mind.Sense of satisfaction.DEEP BREATH, glass o wine.
  • To do listManage for meVisible progress
  • FUNDAMENTALLY important“Fall in love.” “catch attention.”Charm. Humor. Adorable.
  • aesthetic touches.polish, humor, charm.forklift in Social City..
  • Demo’ingsimsPeeWave at cameraImagine possibilitiesExpand view
  • ATTRACTIVE, deliciousDifferent aesthetic. But multis.want to hang out. Immerse.
  • STYLEHumor, twist, charm.Simplified  approach, engage, click
  • Ask players, calibrateHave FUN.WIT. ADORABLE.
  • Farmville success = beauty of crops.2D, you are missing the point.Immerse near zoom mixed fieldSad 3d crops. 
  • richer, deeper. faux 3d pic-hunt game. MystPersonality“where to click??”
  • DeliciousJuicySatisfyingSimple click
  • Zen.Clear my mind.Sense of satisfaction.DEEP BREATH, glass o wine.
  • Yay me.Feels good. PinataGoody bag
  • PopCap = The MastersFxSoundEmotion“GOT ONE!” “GOT A BIG ONE!”
  • Old adjectives
  • Leave you New adjectives…Work w/. Mull. See where they take you.
  • Charming, delightfulWould-be guiltyRealtiy TV, knit.To relax.But betterBecome a better personDiscover new sides of selfDeepen connectionsRich design probs, VIRGIN * new core, direct target * time  more  deeper * player diversity * maps beyond 1 mo
  • Transcript

    • 1.
    • 2. DESIGNING GAMES
      for “the 43-year-old woman”
      Chris Trottier, Zynga
    • 3.
      average social gamer is a 43-year-old woman
      Information Services Group / Popcap Study, 2010
      Bejewelled 3’s Launch Party
    • 4. I am a woman.
      I am 42.
      I am a mom.
    • 5. more importantly…
    • 6. I am a game designer.
      I am not a gamer.
    • 7. When I say “not a gamer,” I mean…
    • 8. When we invite people over…
      We do this.
      But not this.
    • 9. In my world…
      dice have six sides.
      exclusively.
    • 10. If there were a spectrum…
      GAMER
      NOT A GAMER
    • 11. Touchy Ground
      This is very subjective.
      There is no ONE 43-yr-old woman.
      Most female game developers would disagreewith me.
      I speak for myself, not for Zynga.
    • 12. We’ve experienced a sea change
      re: whose mindshare we have access to
    • 13. Ten Years Ago…
      HARDCORE
      GAMERS
      GAMERS
      CASUAL
      GAMERS
      Passionate about games
      Opportunistic play of traditional games, consoles
      FIND games they enjoy on the web
      And break-outs were
      very exceptional
      We made games for people who were… INTO games!
    • 14. Suddenly, we’re under the noses of EVERYONE
      “a friend of yours played a game…”
    • 15. HARDCORE
      GAMERS
      GAMERS
      CASUAL
      GAMERS
      “ACCIDENTAL” GAMERS
      Don’t seek out games but will play them when they come to them.
      And we’re finding all kinds of people who didn’t know they were into games.
    • 16. We’re spoiled.
      We are used to making games for a captive audience.
    • 17. Understanding (and Respecting)
      the Accidental Gamer
    • 18. “What should I do for fun?”
      choices, choices…
    • 19. Computer time is also crowded.
    • 20. (But those are people with leisure time.)
      Let’s talk about moms.
    • 21. In the game of raising kids…
      Energy
      Brain Power
      Composure
      these are your resources.
    • 22. Kids have Al states  behavior
      breakdown
      distress
      cease fire
      cuddly
      With a gravity well at the bottom
    • 23. You WANT to spend resource on progressionMore often spending it on disaster avoidance and basic maintenance.
      Energy
      Brain Power
      Composure
      Resource are frequently TAPPED OUT.
    • 24. Non-linear day
      WAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!
      MOM!!
      Where’s a changing table? Shit.
      DIAPER GROSS-OUT!
      Shit, why is she getting so pissy?
      Look up this rash on the web.
      Need more diaper cream!
      Need to pack pad in the bag!!!
      Clean up that spaghetti on the wall.
      Doc says try rice milk…
    • 25. Repair
      Remember
      Regroup
      Restrategize
      This is when it makes sense for me to game.
      Naptime is special
    • 26. When I game, I don’t want to be:
      Bothered
      Hassled
      Challenged
      I’m already good for all that stuff, thx.
    • 27. A game for moms would be wise to…
      Pour her a proverbial glass of wine
      Expect little
      Be charming
      …be easy to love.
    • 28. The Art of Woo
    • 29. TOP 10 DEAL-BREAKERS
    • 30. #10 WORK TO PLAY
    • 31. Day 1 No-No’s
    • 32. #9 EYE-HAND COORDINATION
    • 33. Donkey Kong, Nintendo
      LOVE this game. (I just lose all the time.)
    • 34. #8 DUDE FICTIONS
    • 35. Orcs, dungeons, warfare, guns, Armageddon, space ships, sci-fi, aliens
    • 36. #7 PINKY-PINK
    • 37. Note: these mega-hits are not pink!
      The Sims 2, Electronic Arts
      FarmVille, Zynga
      Players quick to call things “babyish”
    • 38. #6 RIGID TIMING
    • 39. Mommy’s busy helping her guild right now.
    • 40. My free time is not predictable.
      live events
      tournaments
      raid schedule
      I can’t/won’t schedule my day around a game
    • 41. Contradiction?
      An appointment *I* make
      With a big, big buffer
    • 42. #5 STUCK POINTS
    • 43. Zork, Infocom
      Day of the Tentacle, Lucas Arts
      Lemmings, DMA Design
      Loved these. Got stuck. Stopped.
    • 44. #4 STRANGERS
    • 45. Strangers are intimidating
    • 46. They act weird.
      And talk like they’re in secret clubs.
    • 47. #3 GADGETRY
    • 48. Uhhh?
      Errr?
      Or????
      Quick, grab your sword and swing while jumping!!
    • 49. Applies to UI too
      EACH PIECE of info adds a reason to not engage.
    • 50. #2 THE MERE SCENT OF A RIGHT/WRONG CHOICE
    • 51. FarmVille, Zynga
      Players got stuck at this step until we REMOVED info re: # friends with that specialty.
    • 52. #1 3D CAMERA
    • 53. Real-life 3D navigation is not a problem.
      3D game navigation is a BIG problem.
    • 54. Rule of thumb:
      if my BODY doesn’t rotate, the world hasn’t rotated.
    • 55. TOP 11 TURN-ONS
    • 56. #11 REAL-WORLD VALUE
    • 57. What is this doing for me?
      Am I wasting my time?
      Player will ask themselves this every so often.
    • 58. not necessarily #1 consideration for moms
      fun
    • 59. Creative outlet
      Keep connected

      Good for others
      more than 80 percent of social gamers [report] that playing social games strengthens their relationship with friends, family and colleagues.
      Information Services Group / Popcap Study, 2010
      Good for me
      Relaxes me
      Brain Age, Nintendo
      Wii Fit, Nintendo
    • 60. #10 HELP ME EXPRESS MYSELF
    • 61. Could be really simple
      An impressive score
      A clever name
      An aesthetic preference
      CityVille, Zynga
      Bejewelled Blitz, PopCap Games
      FarmVille, Zynga
    • 62. FarmVille, Zynga
      The Sims Online, Maxis/EA
      Hard to beat a satisfying deco play
    • 63. #9 KEEP EVOLVING
    • 64. The Sims 2, Maxis/EA
      The Sims, Maxis/EA
      FrontierVille, Zynga
      Continued surprise
    • 65. FarmVille, Zynga
      Mafia Wars, Zynga
      Same core, different twist
    • 66. This is not yet being solved well.
      This is a problem for game designers.
      Happy long-term committed relationship!
      And, yes, Deeper Mechanics
    • 67. #8REAL-WORLD FANTASY
    • 68. Skype
      IMVU
      vSide
      Pogo, Electronic Arts
      The Sims 2,
      Electronic Arts
      My avatars: me, with a stylist
    • 69. YoVille,
      Zynga
      FrontierVille, Zynga
      FarmVille,
      Zynga
      YoVille,
      Zynga
      “Fantasy” = real life + costume party
    • 70. what I’m grinding on in FarmVille right now.
    • 71. Beauty Pageant? Really?
      Over-the-top Christmas
      The Sims Online, Maxis/EA
      FarmVille, Zynga
      Life, unbound
    • 72. #7REFLECTS MY PEOPLE
    • 73. Cool, I hired Mark Pincus!
      Thanks, Mags.
      FrontierVille, Zynga
      Restaurant City, PlayFish/EA
    • 74. sister
      ???
      Friend from spore
      ???
      Friend of friend
      ???
      Former boss
      ???
      High school nemesis
      ???
      Fascinating
      Totally boring
    • 75. Bijou Phillips
    • 76. #6BIG-DEAL MILESTONES
    • 77. The Sims 2, Maxis/EA
      The Sims 2, Maxis/EA
      The Sims 2, Maxis/EA
      FICTIONALLY meaningful = as important as functionally meaningful
    • 78. FrontierVille, Zynga
    • 79. #5WANTING, GETTING, HAVING
    • 80. Wanting and not having is wonderful
      But getting is also bliss
    • 81. FarmVille, Zynga
    • 82. Important: has to be something I can actually **WANT**!
    • 83. FarmVille players are DEEPLY motivated by crop mastery signs.
      (Newsflash: not because of the buff.)
    • 84. #4SATISFYING CORE ACTION
    • 85. Fairway Solitaire, Big Fish Games
    • 86. Diner Dash, PlayFirst
      Moments of “all done.” “All’s right.” Chaos management.
    • 87. FarmVille, Zynga
    • 88. A “to do” list where I make actual progress
    • 89. #3 SIMPLE PLEASURES
    • 90. Social City, Playdom
      CityVille, Zynga
      FarmVille, Zynga
    • 91. Sims jealousy hack got more mileage than any other piece of AI
    • 92. #2 YUMMY ON THE EYES
    • 93. Chuzzle,
      PopCap
      STYLE
    • 94. Plants vs. Zombies, PopCap
      Petville, Zynga
    • 95. FarmVille, Zynga
      Gorgeous, juicy, happy
    • 96. Mystery Case Files,
      Big Fish Games
      “Intriguing”
    • 97. #1 NICE TO TOUCH
    • 98. FarmVille, Zynga
    • 99. FrontierVille, Zynga
    • 100. Zuma, PopCap Games
      Chuzzle, PopCap Games
    • 101. Wrap-Up
    • 102. Games for Gamers
      Wind-me-up
      Challenging
      Intense
      Realistic
      Fast-paced
      Competitive
      Hard-core
      Twitchy
      Complex
    • 103. Games for Everyone
      Collaborative
      Charming
      Beautiful
      Useful
      Satisfying
      Relaxing
      Rewarding
      Expressive
      Connected
      Intuitive
      Intriguing
      Unstressed
    • 104. We can do better.
      unwind
      rewarding over time
      feel good about
      essential appeal
    • 105. | thank you!

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