Since the invention of video games, game designers have relied primarily on their intuition to create games. However, as the industry has evolved, relying solely on one person’s way of thinking and design was no longer sufficient. Therefore, game studios have started using assessment tools and processes from other industries, such as focus group testing, first-time user experience testing, expert panels, and more, to enhance their game design. Although these approaches have been helpful, they were primarily based on observation and biased feedback.
In the 2000s, a new approach was born with the advancements in technology and access to vast amounts of user behavior data. Companies such as Blizzard began to use this data to design games based on a statistical approach. This paradigm reached its climax with the creation of free-to-play online games, particularly on mobile platforms. Pioneers like Supercell took full advantage of user data to optimize gameplay and engineer user behavior. Every aspect of these games, including session length, rewards, engaging moments, challenges, difficulty levels, user flow, and more, has been designed based on user data. These games have been polished to their limits, enabling game developers to generate the maximum ratio of LTV to user acquisition. Other data-driven tools have also been created to help not only online and multiplayer games but also offline games.
Although this statistical approach was successful, a new approach is now on the horizon: game design by Neuroanalytics. This interdisciplinary approach combines brain-computer interfaces (BCI), specifically EEG devices, Artificial Intelligence, and neuropsychology.
With game design backed by Neuroanalytics, every emotional micro-reaction of the player to different stimuli can be captured and considered, even reactions that are beyond the player’s recognition. By measuring the result of every atomic function in the game in the sense of user emotion, different time windows can be analyzed to understand the user’s feelings. The resulting emotions and feelings can provide valuable insights for game developers and publishers which is objective and reliable. By collecting game experience data from a sufficient number of participants in a sample group that reflects the targeted demographic, the game can be fine-tuned to maximize user engagement and monetization potential and it can be used for growth-hacking purposes. Also, the technology will enable game developers to create an adaptive experience which itself will be the next generation of games.
Game design backed by Neuroanalytics will undoubtedly be the next chapter in game design that studios need to employ. It looks like many big names in the industry are currently using in-house solutions to integrate Neuroanalytics into their processes, at the same time new services are coming to life to enable all the studios, from indies to AAAs, to get access to this form of insight.
Disclaimer: The image in the article has been generated with AI and has been used only for decoration purposes.