NS survey results
Last week we launched a survey for our players. This survey was to find out some basic things that every business should know:
1. Who our customers (players) are
2. How they use our offerings (games)
3. What they like about our games and what they want in the future
It was my hope that I could use this information to help make some big decisions about NS2 and to generally have a better feel about how to we should operate. I’ll go over some of the more interesting findings now.
81% of our players are between the ages of 16 and 25 and 98% are male
I had thought our player base was a little more diverse then this, but I guess I’m not too surprised. NS is not the place to find your future girlfriend, that’s for sure!
18% of respondents play NS with a sibling, parent or child
This number isn’t too high, but it is still heartening to know that families play games together, even team-based, online, sci-fi violent ones. I saw plenty of respondents who mentioned that they heard about NS from "Dad". I think this is great…I sure didn’t play Dungeons & Dragons with my folks!
43% of respondents have been playing NS since it came out
That’s well over four years. I find this a bit incredible.
Most respondents play for the teamplay
…not "strategy", "commanding", "ambience" or "setting", but for "teamplay". "RTS/strategy" was close behind though I forgot to put in "action" as a choice so that might’ve changed the results.
29% bought a copy of Half-life to play NS
If this is true, then I estimate NS has sold around 50,000 copies of Half-life (~$2,500,000 gross). If anyone is wondering why VALVe puts so much consideration into the mod community, this is as clear an answer as you can get.
People also took the time to write long feedback in the "essay" portion of the survey. The general feedback was generally:
– People like the game as is (obviously, if most respondents have been playing for four years!)
– Don’t change the game too much for the sequel (except update the graphics)
– More developer information, site updates and progress transparency
– Longer games, more game modes
– Reduce the learning curve
– More community involvement and tighter integration
Most of these results didn’t surprise me, but "longer games" sure did. I think the bigger audience (ie, older audience, which I am) doesn’t have the free time to enjoy longer games so that is my bias there. Most of our audience has 40-120 minutes to spend when they sit down to play. In contrast, most "casual" players probably have 10-15 minutes to play a game.
This feedback has reaffirmed my belief that NS2 should be roughly 1/3 the same, 1/3 improved and 1/3 new. That’s the general rule of thumb developers tend to use when creating successful sequels and I think that goes for us too. I have a lot more confidence committing to some of the basic gameplay elements in NS2 now, so it’s full speed ahead.