You can conduct a longitudinal study of your game with PlaytestCloud. This type of research can best be understood as a study over multiple days, which results in useful data about how players interact with your game over a period of days, rather than minutes or hours like with a multi-session playtest. Find answers to questions such as:
- Do players enjoy the game more on day one or day five?
- Why are players leaving your game after a good initial impression?
- Is the learning curve too high?
There is no magic formula for making a game that players will love. However, answers to these types of questions and more can offer you with better information, and critical player insight that can help you to improve your onboarding experience and reduce player drop-off. With a longitudinal playtest you can better how players interact with you game over a period of days.
Why conduct a longitudinal study?
When players test your game over multiple days, you can gain valuable insights into where players stop playing your game, offering you an opportunity to improve these critical points. You're also able to balance any time gates your game might have. A longitudinal study also allows you to gather valuable insight into what play styles your players are adopting, and what players think about your game after the second, third, fourth – and more – times they play. All of which allow you and your team to make adjustments based on the feedback of those who matter, the players.
This article is a short guide for setting up a longitudinal study.
If this is your first playtest with PlaytestCloud, it's recommended to have a look at the article Setting up your first playtest before you continue.
Ordering a longitudinal study
The process of ordering a longitudinal playtest begins in the same manner as ordering a single session or multi-session playtest – you start at your PlaytestCloud dashboard and select "Longitudinal Study":
Longitudinal playtest configuration
The setup for a longitudinal study isn't dissimilar to that of any other playtest – the biggest differences are the playtest configuration and the ability to offer daily surveys.
The playtest configuration is made up of two choices, as seen in the screenshot below:
The first option slider asks "How many days should players play?" – which lets you choose between three and ten days. You are shown which day you will receive the results of the study in real-time. To help clarify this, you can see in the above screenshot that "5 days within 7 days..." has been selected, and the results are due on "March 20, 2017." The date of writing is March 13th, 2017, therefore, each player will be required to play for five out of seven days, and will average 75-100 minutes of playtime in total for those days. Each player must play a minimum of 15 minutes per day.
The reason for these tests are not structured to ask players to play "7 days out of 7 days," for example, is due simply to flexibility and respect for the players time. Requiring a player to test a game every day for five days in a row, or for a week, would be much harder to maintain for the players and us. Therefore these tests allow for a couple of day breaks, regardless of how many days you wish to conduct a longitudinal study.
Note: It is possible to request that players play for longer each day.
Simply contact us to discuss a custom playtest option.
The second option slider asks "How many players should play the game?" – which allows you to choose the number of players you would like to test your game, with a minimum of three and a maximum of ten.
Daily survey (optional)
The daily survey option is available when testing multiple days of gameplay because the format is different than either a one-off playtest or a multi-session playtest. It is recommended to provide players with a daily survey because it will give you another opportunity to pick the brains of players as they experience your game on an almost daily basis.
The questions for the daily survey are structured in a similar way to the standard survey – see the screenshot below for an example question:
Final survey (optional)
Once the players are done with their days of testing, you have the option to ask them some questions about their experience with your game. Here is you can ask the types of questions that matter, for example:
- How do you feel about the game after your time playing?
- Do you want to keep playing?
- Rate the game from 1–10.
The rest of the playtest set-up is the same as setting up any other playtest with PlaytestCloud – billing, uploading your game build, and player demographic configuration is the same as setting up a single session playtest.
The multiple-day longitudinal study is an ideal way to see and hear how players interact with your game over multiple days of gameplay. Please reach out to us if you have any further questions about how to set-up a longitudinal study.