What's your target audience?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rue669, Nov 24, 2019.

  1. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    Usually the very start of any marketing is knowing your target audience. Some marketers even go so far as to say that you should write down the sorts of traits this target audience has. His or her personality, their likes and dislikes, why they choose the product your creating. Some even say to go as far as to name this audience, like Dave the Turn-based Gamer or Sheila the Horror RPG Fanatic.

    I thought it might be a fun--and useful--exercise for us to start brainstorming or thinking about our target audiences.

    For me, my target audience likes Turn-based RPGs. They either grew up with the classics like Final Fantasy 6 and Chrono Cross (SNES and PSX era) or they're so fed up with modern games these days that they look towards the classics for their gaming. Essentially they like the strategic battles that Turn-based RPGs give, and, like the classic RPGs they grew up with, are drawn to these types of games trained to believe that TBRPGs tend to have a focus on story. They love a good story with characters they can care about and lore they can obsess over. Oh, and they like a good soundtrack--something that will have them whistling the tune. I think my target audience is probably in their mid 20s to mid 30s. They've been playing games for a long time and they usually don't just play the most recent game released (the new gaming fad). They have a specific genre they like (TBRPGs) and don't tend to branch too far (unlike me--who plays everything and anything so long as it's good). I also don't think my target audience necessarily cares about graphics. They want a game that looks nice--usually a variety of colors help--but they aren't looking for Death Stranding-level graphics (after all, how many turn-based RPGs have Death Stranding-level graphics? Very few, if any).

    To do this exercise, it's best to think--why do you like the type of game you're making? I'm making a turn-based RPG that's heavily religious and psychological, like Xenogears. It mixes both fantasy and science fiction. The reason I like these types of games is usually because I've always liked when worlds mix fantasy and science fiction (and think games do this well, unlike books or movies) and I am usually drawn to TB RPGs because I immediately think they've got a focus on story (whether they actually do or don't--my mind immediately goes there because of the all the TB RPGs I played back in the day).

    The more we think about our target audience, the more focused...and, dare I say it, targeted...we can be with those audiences. Might as well sell your game to the people who want to buy it and play it then to people who just aren't into whatever type of game you're making.
     
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  2. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    Obviously people who like turn-based RPG style of gameplay, those who seek for something that goes a little beyond rock-paper-scissors mechanics, skill tier style of progression and simply upping numbers to overcome challenges. Those who like having to think a bit during their turns, instead of grinding levels or hitting attack turn after turn to progress. My games aren't meant to be super difficult, but I want them just hard enough that they can't be beaten by just doing whatever.
    Definitely people who have at least some experience with RPG Maker games and games in general, as I don't bother explaining the super basics, like press arrow keys to move (lol) etc.
    Also for people who care more about gameplay than story, since my story telling is rather weak, and they're much more focused on the characters than the overarching story itself. Most importantly, I want people to have fun during the gameplay sections of my game (and most notably the combat), not the cutscenes, that is my main goal.
     
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  3. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    @Milennin That's great! What kind of games is your game most like, if you don't mind my asking?
     
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  4. MechScapeZH

    MechScapeZH Veteran Veteran

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    Great idea, @rue669. Ok...

    My game is heavily nostalgia-based. (Late 90s-early 2000s- the era where sci-fi & especially cyberpunk was all the rage & everyone was excited about technology, computers, and what the new millennium would bring- every cartoon had a "cyberspace" episode, THE INTERNET was new, exciting, and ruled by AOL, and comic book speculation & interest in superhero comics was still very high- although not as high as it was in 1992-95.) Everything in the game from the writing to the art style to the dialogue is designed to capture this era.

    Thus, my target audience would be people around 17-28 who enjoy turn-based RPGs and have a fondness for the media of their youth. I kept it all-ages since A.) It doesn't have anything that would make it inappropriate for children (I never write in such a manner anyway) and B.) I, as a child, was able to appreciate things from other eras, but the kids who have seen it think it's "old," and therefore not worth their attention, so... I still have faith some kid somewhere will appreciate it, though. :)

    Again, this is a great exercise- thanks for posting. :)
     
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  5. Milennin

    Milennin "With a bang and a boom!" Veteran

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    ^ Age group is also a good thing to target. Not something I actively think about a lot, but I always avoid heavy use of cursing and serious violence to keep it at least somewhat child-friendly. I'd think that anyone over the age of 12 should be able to enjoy my games, but seeing how old school 2D turn-based RPGs are nowadays, it's most likely people in their 20's or up are going to be the majority of those who play my games.

    It's kind of hard to say what my new game is based on the most because nothing I've played really resembles it that closely, but I think I take the most inspiration from Guild Wars 1 with how combat works (strong synergy within skill sets that also work well together with the other party members you bring with you), but for something more RPG-oriented, I take from Golden Sun because it's one of the first games in the genre I played and I like how alive the world feels for what is just a 2D game. Things like NPC's reacting to events happening in the world, rather than them staying static throughout the entire game is something I really like seeing in games.
     
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  6. ShadowDragon

    ShadowDragon Veteran Veteran

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    while I love adventure, puzzle, story based games, I'm focusing making one of those as well.
    anyone that love adventure and puzzle through the dungeons/caves would love my game as well.

    it wont be an easy game and some thinking is required to get paste most obstackles.
    but the hardest thing is that the story needs to be moving the person playing the game.
     
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  7. Mystic_Enigma

    Mystic_Enigma Envoy of Silliness Veteran

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    I never put much thought into that! I suppose the games I hope to make someday would have young children in mind, but older folks could still enjoy something out of it. Preferably, their "Target Audience" would be in the 7-20 range. That may or may not be too wide, but whatever, Still, even those older than that could pick it up if they have nothing else do do!

    My RPGs' settings and themes would be more adventure-oriented (because who doesn't like adventure!?), and would have some inspiration from both classic titles and more unusual series, such as Pokemon Mystery Dungeon (Mission system, Exploring new lands and areas) and Animal Crossing (Talking animals, Humor). I like vibrant, whimsical aesthetics(Anyone who's seen my Battler resources could figure it out...) So I want to reflect that in my game(s). Plus, I can avoid and defy usual tropes that make me uncomfortable. I'm no good at major storytelling, so I thought i'd focus on shorter scenarios. For example, one of the characters decides to get his feet wet with becoming an Explorer by doing favors for a number of people. The next day, another character hints that some bridges that were broken yesterday are fixed now, so they can go to that new area. I want to encourage exploration, so there will be side-paths and distractions that will prove more interesting than when taking a more linear path!

    While many still combat-dependent, not everything will be "Fight that thing just because!"...but it will still help if you're stronger. Plus, I plan to have level-dependant thresholds that a certain character or the whole group has to pass in order to do/have an easier time with a mission...Oh, and secrets! I'm not a Lorehound, so any interesting info about places will be found in the form of hidden things, such as a book in a Library an NPC that is acting stangely...Bottom line, a player will have to bother to look if they want to find out more about a topic.

    I'm not sure if anyone would want to play something like that but I hope to try and find out!
     
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  8. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    @MechScapeZH That's a cool concept and a great era to capture since I grew up in that time. I think if you can do it well, playing on people's nostalgia is a good approach. One of the reasons Stranger Things is so good is because it captures that time period and teleports people to it.

    @Milennin Golden Sun definitely had a very active world. Haven't played Guild Wars 1 but GW2 is on my "MMO-list" to play LOL.

    @ShadowDragon Story progression and story pace is always tricky. I think when people sit down to play a puzzle game, they're looking for a challenge. They don't want it to be impossible, but that's the fine line between a challenge that's not too simple and therefore boring and too difficult and therefore frustrating. So much on game design is predicated on balance.

    @Mystic_Enigma Very cool! The thing is that older folks do tend to like games that are more geared towards younger audiences. Pokemon is a great example of this. So many older people play and enjoy Pokemon as much as the young people. Exploration is also great. I always find the best kind of exploration mechanic is the kind that rewards you in a useful way (new items, gear, lore, etc.).
     
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  9. Marsigne

    Marsigne Veteran Veteran

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  10. Parallax Panda

    Parallax Panda Got into VxAce ~2014 and never stopped... Veteran

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    My target audience is...

    (I have so many different projects “in progress” that it’s impossible to merge them into one target audience so I’ll just use my latest passion project as an example)

    ...“Sven the curious VN-newbie”. Sven is interested in visual novels and likes to read. It’s a newfound passion for him and he’s looking for something to ease himself into this new genre since something epic like Clannad is to scary and overwhelming for him. He also prefers some gameplay elements mixed into the experience, else too much reading would bore him.

    Sven’s introduction to the VN format was through games such as Dangaroma, 999 and Ace Attorney, and are now looking for something similar on STEAM.

    ——————

    The game I’m making is a short VN in RPG maker using the turn based battle system to add some additional gameplay.
     
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  11. Indinera

    Indinera Indie Dev Veteran

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    I've never tried to identify (let alone name) my audience. Although with years I do know what works best for me.
    But really it's anyone who likes my games. I don't generally consider targeting an audience an important thing to do. As long as the games sell enough overall. :dizzy::thumbsup-left:
     
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  12. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Knowing your target audience isn't exclusively something for commercial games, but also important for free games.

    I am therefore moving this to General Discussion.

     
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  13. ShadowDragon

    ShadowDragon Veteran Veteran

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    @rue669 puzzles are alwaus nice, but its not impossible to solve, some need some think work, but if you see
    the solution and suroundings, it should be very easy. but yes, story can be tricky, specially when everyones
    thoughts about stories are very different. So aiming to that part can be hard as well.

    if they dont care about the story but adventure than you dont have to read it though :)
     
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  14. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    @Marsigne So.....games like Disgaea? Or fans of Just For Laughs lol

    @Parallax Panda I love VN games, especially ones that incorporate other gaming elements. And I tend not to gravitate towards the epic ones like you said. Hey--I might be your target audience! Keep me in the loop on your game or let me know more about it in a PM if you're able. One day I will try to make a VN game since my background is in creative writing and novels.

    @Indinera I've seen you post numerous times that your website and games are geared towards people who are actively looking to purchase and play RPG Maker games specifically. So I'd say you've probably done this exercise and just didn't consciously sit down to do it (or name your audience). And I highly doubt you'd be successful in finding a marketing expert who would say that targeting an audience is unimportant. It's the first step to any good marketing strategy, but I respect your opinion and thanks for sharing it.

    @Kes Thanks, Kes, for moving it. I have a few other exercise ideas like this one that I'll place in the proper forum place. Sorry for the inconvenience on moving it.

    @ShadowDragon I don't necessarily think every game needs a story. But I do think every game needs a goal. Otherwise, why am I playing it? Even Tetris has a goal (eliminate as many blocks as possible!).
     
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  15. ShadowDragon

    ShadowDragon Veteran Veteran

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    tetris has 2 goals, stay alive along as possible and for a high score.

    Zelda (Link to the past) doesn't really have a story, but the only goal is to save the princes.
    but some story can be good, but I try to focus on the story how and why he is to set his
    goal into motion through adventure.

    While my project is on a stop atm, I cant continue it, but I can design the work around how I want it to be.
    so the progress will be a bit faster. but I hope I dont lose all my scripts because it would be a bad thing
    to start all over from square 1.
     
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  16. Grunwave

    Grunwave Veteran Veteran

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    Rue definitely an interesting discussion. I would like someone to create a survey with 10 or so scaled questions. I would be very curious of our community's preferences.

    Since we are in anecdotal format:

    -Age: My project is a sequel to a novel I wrote. The target audience for that was intelligent adults. I initial focused my game on this same audience, having mature themes and high difficulty.
    Over the holidays 2 years ago, my young nieces feel in love with my game, so I decided to remove all the mature themes. Comically enough, they had no issues with the difficulties, even where some of my playtesters did.

    -Tone: My game has an epic tone, as that is what keeps my interest in an RPG. If I am not saving the world, what is the point?

    -Tech: My world is low tech.

    -Magic: My world is high magic.

    -Replayability: On a scale of 1-10, 10. I put 21 unique characters into the game, with arching story lines.

    -Platform: PC/Android/MAC
     
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  17. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    I'd say my target audience in general is anyone who:
    • Enjoyed the early-generation FF games
    • Likes the blending of sci-fi and fantasy
    • Appreciates references to other games, some mainstream, some indie
    • Has a taste for silly humor and a game that doesn't take itself too seriously, yet still tries to tell a meaningful story
    • Isn't a kid, as there's a few references to drug and alcohol use, as well as some crude humor and sexual innuendo
     
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  18. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    @Grunwave Sounds to me like a Baldur's Gate / Divine Divinity type of game. The high magic should appeal to fans of epic fantasy novels like those written by Brandon Sanderson.

    @Aesica Sounds like you're shooting for something similar to my own, except I'm still trying for something more serious. Love the blend of fantasy and science fiction. Must be the early FF in us ;)
     
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  19. Aesica

    Aesica undefined Veteran

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    That's part of it, however I'm also a very science-minded person, so I always try to explain magic with something more rational than just "it's maaaaagic!"
     
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  20. rue669

    rue669 Veteran Veteran

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    @Aesica Nice! That should make the magic seem more grounded to the real world.
     
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