Blog | Technology

Pwn The Game With Playtesting and Research

In today’s fiercely competitive gaming landscape, studios must differentiate their offerings. Learn how quality playtesting and research services can elevate your player and development experience.

MARCH 20, 2024

Gaming is growing exponentially. More players join the party every day: as a result, the industry is expected to be worth $312 billion by 2027 – increasing from $227 billion in 2023.

Competition is only getting fiercer as the sector expands. As a studio – indie or AAA – you need to be the GOAT. You need to provide an exceptional experience that players don’t get anywhere else. And the key to that lies in playtesting and research.  

Advance Your Game With Intelligent Insights

Research and playtesting at the right time is not a cheat, but it will give you the edge. We know inviting other people to playtest your title can be daunting. No one knows it better than your developers, who have poured their heart, soul, and often blood, sweat, and tears into making a beautiful game.

There’s no doubt that your party composition is optimised to come up with creative and innovative ideas that are expertly developed. However, you might be handicapping your team without even knowing it.

Take a look at this:

Pwn The Game With Playtesting and Research

Developers and designers are experts in the game they’re crafting, but only partially represent your target audience. This can lead to blind spots when it comes to perfecting the overall experience.

To consistently meet the mark, you need external research and testing.

Playtesting with external players ensures that you’re capturing authentic gameplay that is representative of your target player base. It mitigates the risk of developing a game with improper player fit.

QA testers are also methodical and trained to detect bugs and mistakes, helping improve the quality of the development and player experience alike.

Power Up With Player-Centric Research

Conducting research at the right time with a suitable methodology is a game changer, delivering actionable insights to help you:

  • Expedite game development by rapidly and efficiently fixing glitches and making improvements

  • Improve player retention and increase lifetime value by gaining meaningful intelligence into existing and expanding player bases

  • Create new revenue opportunities and reduce risk by using rich and relevant feedback to make evidence-based decisions

Teaming up on a Winning Game Plan

Clocking the game to unlock real business value is significantly easier if you don’t have to do it alone. By choosing an external research partner, you can benefit from services such as:

  • Playtesting – Receive actionable insights to help your team make evidence-based decisions through simultaneous in-person playtesting, remote playtesting, and on-the-go testing in players’ homes or communities that observes, documents, and analyzes gameplay. Follow-up interviews to qualify observed player behavior allow richer intelligence.

  • Concept Testing – Reduce risk, and save time and resources through intensive sessions with your player base to validate the creative direction of your game through early art direction, narrative, and game mechanics.

  • Diary Studies – Identify what keeps your players engaged through multi-week or month-long testing that tracks real player behavior in their natural environment, collects player feedback at multiple stages, and detects trends and patterns over time.

Play To Win

Gaming is going to continue to grow at a rapid pace. With Sutherland’s deep domain expertise and extensive experience in games research, we are the perfect party partner.

We tailor our approach to meet the unique needs of every studio we work with, whether it’s multi-player gaming on console/PCs or testing out kid’s mobile games. For example, we use comfortable wearables to capture the point of view of young people when they game on mobile to capture every crucial moment. For PC, we can track keyboard and controller inputs so we can break down action-packed moments one decision at a time.

Pwn The Game With Playtesting and Research

We offer a suite of services in addition to Playtesting and Games Research, including:

  • Game Launch Support: Harness a single source of customer support so developers can focus on the game without distraction for a successful launch.

  • Content Moderation, and Trust and Safety: Merge the efficiency of smart AI capabilities with a human-in-the-loop to monitor livestreams and stream chat or manage in-game moderation for a safe gaming experience.

  • Cloud Testing with Sutherland CloudTestr™: Enable end-to-end software testing, modernize applications, and achieve AI-driven digital assurance.

These services are supported by our purpose-built labs in London and San Francisco, which also feature two-way mirrors, multi-camera views, input tracking, and private livestreaming to view sessions without impacting gameplay.

Sutherland is deeply invested in the success of your game. We immerse ourselves in your game, vision, and goals to provide you with comprehensive research and produce actionable insights.

Focus on your end-game. Leave the research and testing to us.

Learn more about how Sutherland's services can transform your playtesting and research for a better gaming experience that delivers business results.

Marise Phillips

Sr. Director, Service Design - Sutherland Labs

Marise Phillips leads service design, a collaborative methodology that strengthens connections across digital design and implementation. Her extensive experience in participatory design facilitation empowers cross functional teams to co-create empathy maps, ecosystems, journey maps and experience blueprints. In her spare time, she plays cozy games, tends to her real-life garden, sings French cafe songs, and is pondering taking up the accordion.

Pwn The Game With Playtesting and Research

Laura Donohue

Senior Researcher, Sutherland Labs

Laura is a UX Researcher with a background in psychology and social work. She brings to the table a unique skill that enables her to design and deliver impactful research.

Laura Donohue

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