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Consumer Driven Computer Game Design

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The Critical Incident Techniques (CIT) is widely used to study customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the service industry. CIT provides questionnaire respondents with an open format to describe in their own words incidents that create lasting impressions. The purpose of this research is to develop a methodology for computer game design with the goal and intent of creating games that increase the consumer’s satisfaction through play. Too often game designers, either with or without intent, create games that satisfy their own perceptions of a good game without considering the needs of the consumers that will play the games. Previous research has shown that retail products and services offered internationally are often incongruent with the expectations of the target customer. Global retailers that push products without consideration of the target needs and wants too frequently lose market share and the opportunity to build lasting brand loyalty. Customer driven computer game design applies the critical incident technique as a means to define the elements of good and bad game design using a proven tool to build customer satisfaction. A methodology is described whereby game designers establish the goal and intentions of the game by listening to the voice of the consumer. The methodology was tested by distributing CIT surveys to active game players who each wrote two stories about their game playing behavior and experiences. The first story described the respondent’s best experience playing games and the second story described their worst experience. The stories were archived and content analyzed using Gremler’s best-practice methods for identifying categories and critical incidents. A summary sheet describing the frequency of good and bad incidents was derived by three coders. The respondents’ original game playing stories were further abstracted into key good and bad descriptions and appended to the summary CIT frequency data sheet to create a consumer game report. Creative artists were asked to review the consumer reports on the elements of good and bad game design. After reviewing the data, the artists were asked to design a new game that they felt would most likely satisfy the customer’s view of a good game. The creative artists were then assigned the task of creating a new game and were evaluated on their ability to satisfy the customer driven game criteria. Upon completion of the concept design process, each artist submitted a one page story describing the game and supplemented the story with concept drawings that represented the game and the game protagonist. The game concepts were field tested using focus groups of consumers that matched the target demographics of the new game. This paper reports the methodology for customer driven computer game design and provides details of the game concepts selected by teenagers and young adults in Taiwan.
Contact: Charles Trappey, Department of Management Science, National Chiao Tung Univer,
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