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Research Methods for Online Games
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Research Methods for Online Games


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Market Research Society UK

Market Research Society UK

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  • 1. What Online Games and Virtual Worlds Can Tell Us About Participation, Community, Globalisation and Marketing in the 21st Century © Lisa Galarneau, Ph.D. Candidate Research Director, Intrepid (Seattle)
  • 2. A Virtual World Research Project
  • 3. What are online games/virtual worlds? Characteristics Persistence Freedom/open- ended Characters/ avatars Guilds/clans/ teams Cooperative and competitive play Economies/ virtual property (sometimes)
  • 4. Participation time!! What is your impression of online games and virtual worlds? 2.They scare me 3.I’m intrigued, but have little experience with them 4.I have played around in them a bit 5.MMOGS FTW!!
  • 5. Who are these people? Source: 2006 Survey of City of Heroes/City of Villains players
  • 6. Robust Economies
  • 7. Think play Playful activity ca n ta ke m any forms beyond gam eplay, and aspects of games like challenges and rewards ca n be applied as motivating forces behind many initiatives . Hum an beings have been engineered for play, and these types of non -linear experiences are peculiarly satisfying.
  • 8. Re-think the need to control   Control is becom ing impossible . Focus instead on shaping experiences , fostering community, designing for em ergent behaviour. Use a gardening metaphor: it is all about planting seeds , pruning and fertilizing a s necessary. What happens when you cut something? It either dies or grows back however it wa nts to. Exerting influence over brand communities is about subtlety, not power.
  • 9. Involvement is crucial Consumers are no longer pa ssive consum ers of fabricated brand stories . They are intim ately involved with their bra nds , a nd will em brace the ones they love as integral parts of their lives . One of the things players find so appealing about gam es is that they can exercise their sense of agency. Figure out ways to show your customers that you value their involvement . If they can see the culmination of that involvement in your products , all the better.
  • 10. Go to where they are   A funda mental cha ra cteristic of com munity is that it is organic. Be willing to seek out relevant comm unities where they a rise spontaneously, even if it m eans relinquishing control. Use com munity mem bers a s resources .
  • 11. Transparency and authenticity are good, even when things are bad   Those who enga ge with your bra nd , either positively or negatively do so because they have passion for it . Recognize that even ba d sentiment can be turned into som ething positive . Adm it your m istakes , be tra nspa rent a bout ma king cha nge , involve your comm unities in such decisions .
  • 12. Leverage the power of crowdsourcing   While relinquishing control can be scary, the upside is that there are m illions of people whose opinions and productive play ca n be harnessed to a brand ’s benefit .
  • 13. Vir tual spaces are more than replicas of physical spaces   Think creatively a bout the use of virtual space to allow activity beyond what is possible in physical space . Think a bout eliminating the limitations of our physical lives and m agnifying what ’s good , for instance by m aking your orga niza tion more accessible .
  • 14. Activity binds communities A com munity will not flourish without som e sort of activity to bind participants together. Think about ways to stim ula te your comm unities to engage with you and with each other. Challenges and activities ca n mea n your com munity becom es interdependent , and this interdependence is exactly what leads to stickiness
  • 15. These are power ful marketing vehicles, but be socially conscious about adver tising   Most consum ers respect a dvertising models based on getting content for free , and som e appreciate the sense of realism that com es from seeing real-world brands in their favourite games . However, when children a re involved , sensitivity must be the watch -word . Instead , think about ways to build com munity a round your bra nds and leverage the power of the crowd to get your message out there .
  • 16. Ever yone likes games   In Korea , ga me -playing is m uch like watching movies is to us , everyone does it . The difference is that there a re options to a ccommoda te a wide range of interests .
  • 17. Key Takeaways There ’s been a para digm shift from spectating to participation , so marketing and research online needs to respect tha t a nd help consum ers experience involvement and personal agency in the research process Consider ways to leverage the trends in your research projects
  • 18. Thanks! lisa .galarneau@thinkintrepid .com