Game Finances: Amortization

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What Is Amortization?

This is an accounting term for taking multiple payments over time or spreading a single payment out over a period of time.

Example 1: Taking Multiple Payments

One way you can use amortization to your benefit is to take multiple payments for something. So let’s say you have a yearly upgrade that costs $50. Amortization in this instance means you allow the player to break that payment down into multiple payments. For instance, they might make two payments instead of a single one; $25 for the first 6 months of the upgrade and then another $25 for the last 6 months. With amortization you can brake a payment down into as many smaller payment as you’d like. So instead of taking 2 payments you might decide to take 5 or 6 or 30 — however it best suits your player base and brings you good business. Generally speaking, most people tend to break payments down into no more than 12 just because it makes the accounting practices easier if you have one payment a month. If you broke this $50 upgrade into 12 payments then your players could become an upgraded member for only $4.20 a month.

Why Is Example 1 So Helpful?

Many people are more willing to make smaller payments. This means that even if you don’t get a full year’s upgrade from one member you’re still bringing in income. It also encourages people to try out your upgrade system with a much smaller risk to themselves. If they don’t like the upgrade they’ve only spent half or much less than half the money than if they’d paid for a full year. It also gives them the ability to come and go on their upgrade much more readily than if they had to pay the larger sum each year. They can buy one month and not the other, then come back for the month following that allowing them more flexibility to purchase and keep their upgrade.

What’s The Downside of Example 1?

You may not be bringing in as much money as you like. Because the payments are smaller you also have more online processing fees that are applied, however some payment services will allow you register as a micro-transaction account and will take lower fees since you will be bringing in a higher volume of payments. While payments are likely to happen more frequently they will only be in smaller amounts which may make it seem like your bank account is always struggling to stay at a more comfortable level when you have slower times.

Example 2: Taking One Payment and Spreading It Over a Period of Time

This other example is one that many of you may not know about. It applies the same kind of idea except you only take one payment and you only apply a portion of that payment to your income over a duration. For example, let’s say you got your $50 upgrade and we go back to our 2 payments example. Instead of thinking of that $50 as one payment you apply $25 to this month and then 6 months later you apply the other $25. You may still have the full amount of $50 but you’re not considering it income until a period of time has passed. This idea works best when you break a payment down into bi-annually, quarterly or monthly time periods. So in our second 12 month example, instead of getting $50 for this one payment you apply $4.20 from this payment across every month.

Why Is Example 2 So Helpful?

This is really the icing on the cake and most people don’t realize it! When you take in the one payment and spread it out amongst a period of time it gives you more solid, steady income. Instead of getting $50 one month, and nothing for the next 12 months, you now have a steady stream of income coming in all year long. Generally speaking, with games the upgrade tend to have highs and lows, where people are upgrading a lot and then not upgrading at all. You may get $4,000 in upgrades one month and then nothing or very little for the next two. With this kind of amortization that $4,000 is spread over the rest of the time period. So in our 12 month example you would be bringing in $334 a month instead of $4,000 in one lump sum. This also helps you keep a steady income for the entire year instead of getting less reliable income over the duration of the year, even if the overall total for whatever time period you’re shooting for is lower than what you bring in for a month. It’s great for budgeting and paying your bills and helping you keep your game open even in slower months.

What’s The Downside of Example 1?

This example takes discipline!! It’s a much different way of thinking about the income you’re bringing in because the balance in your bank account may reflect one thing while your calculations reflect another. It is very tempting to just look at your total balance and think I have $4,000 rather than I only have $334 to spend this month. It also requires some math to keep track of how much money you are amortizing over time whereas Example 1 is easier to keep track of because you immediately account for the money from each payment you get.

What do you think about amortization? Do or have you used it? Which type of amortization do you prefer?

I would love to hear your thoughts, comments, questions and experiences!

How To Get People To Play Your Game

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I’ve learned a lot in the almost 15 years I’ve been running online games. Sure, I can tell you all the different marketing strategies you usually see articles for that show you how to spam your game in every social network and paid advertising service known to man, but that’s not what this post is all about. There’s a difference between getting people to KNOW about your game and getting people to PLAY your game.

Know Your Target Audience

First and foremost you need to know your audience. Who does your game appeal to? If you’re advertising your game for 30+ year old men but the only people who’ve played it so far are young  teenage girls then advertising it on a Cars Automotive Forum is just a waste of your time. If your game is brand new and you’re not sure of your target audience then you can do some playtesting to get feedback on who it appeals to the most. You can also try asking a variety of friend and family to play if playtesting isn’t an option for you — this will give you a varied pool of ages and computer skill levels to draw some basic conclusions from.

Advertise To Your Target Audience

If you’re looking for children to play your game and all of your advertisements/branding/banners/phrases use large vocabulary words and dense/visually busy/highly realistic/dark images then you’re already setting yourself up for increased headaches and hair pulling. If you don’t know much about your target audience then it’s time to stop and do some research. What appeals to children is completely different from what appeals to adults or teenages just like what appeals to women is different from what appeals to men.

Add Lots Of Variety

If you go the pay for advertising route, or even if you self-promote your game in forums/social networks you need to vary how you advertise. By this I mean use both different graphics and wording and in what you’re posting. You’ll quickly find out which advertisements and wording works better than others. If you always have one static saying and image that you’re spamming around the internet it will fade into the background noise. Try animated banners and static banners, bright colors and dull colors, varying text sizes and text amounts. If you post just one banner/phrase and it doesn’t attract people then don’t keep posting the same banner/phrase. One thing I like to tell people is the definition of stupidity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you don’t mix things up you won’t get a different outcome.

Make It Easy

By this I mean you want your game to be easy to find, install, run and start playing. If someone clicks on your website and they now have to wade through 15 different links that are randomly dispersed through an already text-heavy blog post to find the link to get to your game download page then you’ve already lost customers before they’ve even started. Have your download or embedded game front and center. Make it easy to download or join — the fewer fields and steps they have to complete to start playing the faster they’ll become engaged and access to the experience they were looking for.

Teach Them How To Play

It’s hard to play if you can’t figure out how the game works or which buttons you need to press to get things started. Make access to instructions or a tutorial just as easy as it was to find and launch your game and keep your instructions appropriate for your target audience. Children need instructions with fewer, easier to follow with less text than adults do. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by writing instructions or a tutorial that they can’t follow or don’t understand.

Start Playing As Soon As Possible

Instructions and a tutorial are great but they can also be tedious and time consuming. Keep them short and to the point, or intersperse brief tutorials/instructions that are introduced progressively throughout gameplay. The longer your target audience has to wade through learning how to play the less likely they are to start playing and stick with it.

Control, Control, Control

If your target audience has made it past your tutorial or instructions and they’re playing there’s one other thing that can really bring everything to an abrupt stop and that’s having difficulty interacting with the game. If your controls are too sensitive or your combinations are too tricky or are too fast for them to accomplish in the amount of time you’re giving them you’ll find that their interest drops off like an air-conditioner falling out of a window. I’m not saying your controls can’t have a learning curve, just that it should be a fairly short one or even a progressive one where you start off simple and add more and more complexity as you go.

Make It Fun

So you can do all of these things I’ve mentioned and people still don’t play your game because they don’t think it’s fun. I could go on and on about this topic and in fact I already have if you’re interested in reading about it so I won’t drag on about it here and now. If people don’t think your game is fun then it doesn’t matter if you’ve hit the mark on all the other points you’ll still find yourself back to the drawing board. So I hope this helps you in your endeavors to get people playing your game because in my experience if you can master these points here you’re well on your way down the path to success.

 

Why Making A Game Takes the Fun Out of It (and how to fix this)

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I see it all the time, people coming into forums and online communities for games and game developers asking how to make a game or how to get their ultra cool idea that everyone will love and has never been done before off the ground and make it a tangible reality. Let’s get things straight, we love games because they’re fun and entertaining. It drives our creative vision and imagination and offers an escape from the mundane and the boring reality that is our lives. This passion, this drive to express ourselves and have fun is often what leads people to try their hand at making their own games. Many will start this journey but very few will finish it and even fewer will finish it with a successful and positive outcome (and let’s face it, money in your pockets). So why does this happen? Why do so many people start down this path of learning and creativity and adventure for fun that ends up leaving them broken, frustrated and depressed? The reality is that games are a lot of work and the very nature of making a game isn’t even a little bit fun. In many ways it’s the exact opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. So how does this happen and what can we do to fix it? Let’s break it down from the point of view of an Indie game developer whose a one man shop (or small shop) trying to make a game.

Lack of skills

You want to make a game but you’ve never programmed before, you don’t know anything about what’s required to make the type of game you want to create and even if you have those things covered you may not have all the skills you need to make it happen. Just because you can program doesn’t mean you can draw or compose artwork or market your finished product if you ever get that far. As an indie game developer you really have to be a jack of all trades. Think about trying to build a house if you’ve never built a house before. What happens if you only know how to frame the house but not how to do plumbing and electrical and tile work and all the other things that are required to finish the house? You end up with just the shell of a house that is lacking in so many ways you can hardly call it a house. This is one of the biggest problems I see with indie game devs — they lack the skills to accomplish what they’ve set out to do and they’re not prepared to outsource when they need to, which brings me to my next point.

Budget constraints

Making games is inherently expensive. Even if you create your own game framework and develop your own models/artwork, sounds and music you still have to — at a minimum — invest in a computer and dedicate hundreds of hours towards the development of your game. Those hours add up and while you’re developing your game you’re not earning a living that you need to support yourself and/or your family. Yes, that’s right, you still need to eat and buy necessities and support yourself and/or your family which is why even if you do have the funds outsource some of the work you lack the skills for you’re still fighting a losing battle towards my next point.

Time constraints and distractions

Supporting yourself and your family means that you’ll still need a full time job even as you chase the ethereal dream of creating your own game. Your time is precious and what little of it you have left after your regular day job has to be split between your other financial and personal commitments. Your kids need their parents and your house and car need to be maintained and you’ll struggle to find the proper work/life balance amidst all of the chaos that you juggle on a daily basis without adding the complexities of your game into the mix.

Technical problems, bugs, new frameworks and advances

So even if you can overcome all these odds so far you’ll still find yourself stuck hitting roadblocks as your game progresses. Technical problems you didn’t predict or forsee early on (and how could you, you’re still just learning yourself) end up being the bane of your game’s existence. Now you have to go back and re-write and re-factor and debug until you’re so frustrated you could pull all of your hair out and go bald. New frameworks and technological advances will make your second guess yourself or roll back to square one because you really do want to upgrade your SDK and add in the new dynamic system and better bump map texturing because who doesn’t want their game to be using the newest, latest and greatest technology available? No one wants to play a game that doesn’t have the same bells and whistles that their competition does because they took the the extra time/budget/testing cycle hits to go with the greater tech.

Slow progress and scope creep

Ultimately these things combined will drag your game down. What may have started off well and progressing quickly has suddenly slowed to a snail’s pace. Things suddenly feel like they’re never getting done or you have so many issues on your plate that it feels like there’s never an end in sight. Your game has hit a standstill and isn’t advancing like it was in the beginning and this is awfully discouraging and frustrating. The scope of your project has suddenly tripled and your todo list is a never-ending tally of bug fixes and re-factors and speed optimizations that need to be addressed for any chances of your game seeming like it’s something worth playing.

Early demo failures and monotonous repetition

If you’ve made it far enough to put together early demos and alpha access then pat yourself on the back — most people will never make it this far and you’ve just become a member of an elite club that deserves a badge of honor. The only problem is your demo gets horrible reviews, you realize your controls are too hard to use and this puts you into a crazy monotonous cycle of playing a particular part of your game over and over again as you attempt to fine tune it and make it more playable and more fun.

Never good enough

Unfortunately the truth is that your game will never be good enough. Someone will always find something to complain about even if you see some great feedback and helpful critiques that, if implemented, could really take your game to the next level and set you apart from your competition. Your controls will never be 100% perfect, your menu system may be too hard to read or too complex to navigate and you’ll never quash all the bugs that have been reported partly because you can’t re-create them all because your game is being run and tested under hundreds of different environments and hardware and operating systems that you didn’t have access to (and probably never will) as you were developing. If you’ve made it here this might just be the time for you to throw in the towel and say goodbye to all the blood, sweat and tears you succumbed to in order to make it this far.

Overcoming It All

If this has discouraged you against making your own game — good. Making a game isn’t easy and it’s not something for everyone so don’t waste your time early on if you’re not prepared to go through everything I’ve already mentioned and be able to walk away without anything to show for it. However that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a game or that it’s impossible to do it either. Where there is a will there’s a way and let me show you how.

  • Map out your game design, features, characters and how the game works. Now create lots of small, easy tasks you can accomplish in order to see your core game mechanics to completion enough that you could play a simple version of your game without any extra bells and whistles. Set yourself up to do as little as you have to but as much as you need to in order to get a completed version of your game.
  • If you lack the skill to do something you have two options. The first is that you resign yourself to taking the time to learn this new skill and the next is that you can outsource the skill to someone who’s already achieved it. You don’t have to be an expert programmer to make a game, just an adequate one. If you’re going to invest time into learning a new skill don’t dwell on it for too long, learn enough that you feel confident you can accomplish the task at hand and then move on. Investing too much time in learning a skill will start you down a path that walks further and further away from working on your game.
  • Sit down and map out all of the expenses you foresee as being necessary to complete your game. Now triple it. If you can’t afford to spend this amount of money into your game then you need to go back to your concept and re-work it until you get a budget that you can work with. If you’re really determined you can look for some outside investors but don’t count on this — ever. Most investors want to see a fully working demo before they’ll even consider opening their pocketbooks and investors will demand more than 50% of whatever profits you make from your game when it’s done.
  • Your time is precious when you have so little of it to devote to your game. Start by mapping out a timeline of your game features/assets and how long you think it will take you to accomplish them. Now double that. Now compare that to how much free time you really have to devote to your game. Will this game take you more than a year to complete? Do you have the dedication to spend more than a year working on a single project? If the answer is no then you need to go back to the drawing board until you’ve come up with a reasonable timeline that you can work with. Keep your game as small as you possibly can by focusing on the core mechanics and leaving out any fluff that you could add at a later date. Now stick to your timeline. If you budget 2 weeks to work on a character and by the end of the second week the character isn’t done don’t dwell on it — either move on to the next item in your list. Don’t adjust your timeline and don’t spend more time that you budgeted on this part of it. Sure, your ultimate goal is to have a working character with great animation but if you can’t ever get a game working with a broken character then who cares if your character’s animation is jerky or unrealistic? Think about the big picture because you can always circle back later.
  • Invest in a good debugger and testing tools. Do whatever you can to automate this process as much as possible because it will give you more time to work on trivial issues when you can quickly address and fix the larger ones. If you run into a bug that makes your game do something funky but it doesn’t prevent the gameplay from continuing table it and work on something else. Try not to get caught up in the more minute issues and focus more on the big picture. You can always circle back and fix bugs later but if you spend all your time bug quashing you’ll end up with a pretty interface or character or scene that doesn’t let interact and play with it. Pick a version of a framework and stick with it, don’t upgrade it unless you absolutely have to. The more you upgrade and update to the latest and greatest the more issues you’ll run into and the more refactoring and scope creep you’ll run into. It’s okay to build a game that isn’t using the latest and greatest version of your frameworks or 3rd party integrations. This will also give you a chance to work with and around the quirks in the version of the framework/software you chose to use instead of having to re-work around these every time you upgrade and re-factor.
  • Get the core mechanics working version of your game finished as early as possible no matter what it looks like or how bad it is. A crappy, ugly, glitching yet working version of your game is better than a pretty, perfectionist, bug free version of your game that isn’t at all playable. Don’t wait until the last minute or the week before it opens to get feedback on what you’re doing. Feedback is a great way to find issues you hadn’t considered and it will give you an idea of what other people think about your game. After all, no one wants to play a game they don’t think is fun. Don’t ignore constructive criticism even if it’s not what you want to hear. That doesn’t mean you have to change or add anything anyone has ever asked you for — it means that you need to take those things into consideration going forward. See past the reviews that focus on your aesthetics — at least initially — because you can always change and fix those later, core mechanics and gameplay are much harder to tackle once you’ve invested lots of time and energy into them.
  • Your game will NEVER be perfect. You will always be tweaking, adding, adjusting and fine tuning it. Instead of wasting your time doing this early on and ending up with something that isn’t a viable product devote that time to your game after you have something you can put out there. Don’t be a perfectionist, no matter how many bugs you quash and features you add or tweak there will always be another bug or problem coming down the pipeline. Try to prioritize the most important ones and tackle those first. Ultimately you want to get something up and working no matter how good or bad it is and then build upon it from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect your game to be. Get a working version up first and foremost and then add on to it and enhance it over time, your customer base won’t hate you for that, rather the opposite — they’ll appreciate your continued efforts to improve upon what you’ve done so far.

15 Things Schools Won’t Teach You About Programming

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Don’t get me wrong, going to school to learn how to program is great but there are some things that schools seem to miss the mark on and these drive me nuts.

  1. Copying – well yes, cheating is bad and you should do your own work in school but it’s also not reasonable to expect someone to go it alone on a project in a job setting. Your manager won’t ask you to live in a bubble of seclusion when they want you to complete a difficult task in a short amount of time. In fact they’ll encourage you to use outside resources and other programmers to get the job done. This is one of my worst pet-peeves about schools. Sure you need to know how to program but in the real world you aren’t required to go it alone without any kind of external resources at your disposal or the collaborative programming with other co-workers.
  2. Scope Creep – so in school your projects have a nicely defined list of features and requirements your professor wants you to implement. However the real world isn’t so nice and cut and paste — even if you have well developed requirements. The fact of the matter is you often won’t know what requirements you need to fulfill until you stub out some kind of prototype and show it to your clients and get their feedback. In addition you’ll typically find things that you didn’t think about which make you scratch your head and go back to the drawing board a time or two.
  3. Text Book Solutions – if you’ve ever done an assignment from a textbook with an answer key in the back you know exactly what I’m talking about. There’s always that one solution that’s deemed the “correct” answer. In reality there often isn’t a single solution to a problem and what may work as a solution in one environment is a complete and utter failure in another as the scale or complexity or speed of the results actually hinder the user experience.
  4. Making The Grade – everyone knows you’re supposed to get straight A’s in order to get a good job after school. Wrong! I’ve never known an employer to ask for a GPA or how many times I failed a class. The truth is your grades don’t matter, it’s your knowledge and experience that count. So what if you have straight A’s in every class you ever took if you’ve never had any practical experience building your own program or working on a large, complex project. No one cares what your grades are, they want to know you can get the work done well and in a timely fashion with minimal bugs.
  5. Re-Inventing The Wheel – yes it’s important that you understand how and why something works but schools are notorious for having their students re-invent the wheel. Let’s write five different types of searches that most languages have built in functionality for, or let’s write a function that swaps two values so you can use it in later projects. Please, don’t re-invent the wheel. If it’s already done for you then why are you wasting your time? Understand how it works and then take that knowledge and build something useful, don’t just regurgitate what’s already been done over and over again.
  6. Debugging – this is one of the most useful skills you can have and yet schools are sadly lacking in teaching students how to intelligently debug errors and use helpful debugging tools. In addition most schools stress actual programming when even the software life-cycle emphasizes maintenance and  bug fixing as a majority of the time spent on piece of software. Why are schools leaving this out of their curriculum when most new programmers are tasked with bug fixes in order to learn how a large piece of software works?
  7. Documentation – there is a sad lack of acknowledgement for documentation in programming. Some schools will skim over it briefly but for the most part it’s a passing reference in a class. I’m amazed at how many new programmers I interact with who have thousands and thousands of lines of code without a single comment. Now some of you may argue that documentation isn’t needed however if you’ve ever returned to work on a project you set down years ago you know those hours you spent trying to figure out why you did something that you didn’t document could have been better spent with the 5 minutes documenting it in the first place.
  8. Deadlines – in school you’re given long deadlines to get something done. Deadlines aren’t as set and fixed in a job setting. One day your boss may walk up to you and say “I need this in an hour.” If you’re always used to long, drawn out deadlines then you get that deer in the headlights look in your eyes. Of course this works both ways, and I’ve worked on projects that have no deadlines either. The point to take away from this is deadlines are flexible and rigid, achievable and impossible to meet and not a fixed point in time and space.
  9. Multitasking – in school you only work on a single project at a time until that project is done. A job setting is far from that. You may start a project one day, have it scrapped the next day and then returned to you six months later. In addition it’s common to be working on multiple projects at a time as you wait for other requirements or client feedback to trickle in. Asking students to work on one project at a time is detrimental to them learning how to multitask and adjust as the situation warrants.
  10. Pass or Fail – schools have a pretty black and white approach to how a program is supposed to work in order for you to get a passing grade. What they forget is often times a project just needs to be “good enough” due to deadlines or budgets or resource constraints. Something that is good enough to meet the requirements doesn’t mean you failed, it means you have room for improvement and re-factoring.
  11. Refactoring – I would love to see a school tell a student to take the first project they completed at the beginning of the year and re-write it with what they know now. Re-factoring is a major aspect of a programmer’s job and yet few students are asked to look at their past work, reflect on how it could be improved, and then set to the task of improving it. This is something most programmers are faced with on a yearly basis as they complete new iterations and features of their software.
  12. Coding Together – since schools are so intent on grading you as an individual the students miss out on the ability to code collaboratively. There is rarely a time when a complete piece of large software will have been written by a single person. Being able to read and understand other people’s programming and to match your style to theirs is a huge asset and ability that shouldn’t be overlooked.
  13. Best Coding Practices – so you learn the programming fundamentals but you’re hardly taught when you should use one rather than the other and where, how or why you make that decision.
  14. Code Style Guidelines – one of the biggest indications of a good programmer is their coding style. Code that is easy to read, indented properly, and consistently written is essential for improving maintainability of a piece of software. Most new programmers run their lines of code in big long strings with inconsistent spacing and style guidelines. Would you rather read 1,200 lines of code condensed onto 5 lines that makes you scroll infinitely in your editor to read them or properly indented and spaced code in a logical and easy to read manner? I know which one I’d choose.
  15. Experience – there is no substitute for real experience. No school can give you anything more than an introduction to programming no matter if you spend a year or four years learning and expanding your knowledge. There’s a wonderful article by Peter Norivg that I like to give anyone whose interested in making programming a profession. You can’t take ten years of experience and condense it into a quick fix or four year series of courses. Experience will always be your best teacher.

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PHP Function: Posted Time Ago – Facebook Style

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So I won’t claim credit to this but I was browsing DevNetwork and I found a function that is both useful, succinct and awesome all rolled up into one. Using a php lookup table you can calculate the time since something was posted in PHP ie “so and so posted x time ago” facebook style.

function time_passed($timestamp)
{
     $diff = time() - (int)$timestamp;

     if ($diff == 0) 
          return 'just now';

     $intervals = array
     (
         1                   => array('year',    31556926),
         $diff < 31556926    => array('month',   2628000),
         $diff < 2629744     => array('week',    604800),
         $diff < 604800      => array('day',     86400),
         $diff < 86400       => array('hour',    3600),
         $diff < 3600        => array('minute',  60),
         $diff < 60          => array('second',  1)
     );

      $value = floor($diff/$intervals[1][1]);
      return $value.' '.$intervals[1][0].($value > 1 ? 's' : '').' ago';
}

Female Gamers: Trends and Statistics

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So every few years I put out a new survey to all the members on my text-based internet games. Most of the members of my games are teenage girls. All of my games are animal related and targeted at a tween/teen age range. Most of my members spend four hours a day playing my games in 20 minute intervals. Some of the members of my games have been playing for close to 10 years.

Video Game Demographics

Total Participants: 225

Age:

10: 2%
11: 2%
12: 8%
13: 13%
14: 7%
15: 5%
16: 4%
17: 3%
18: 4%
19: 2%
20: 4%
21: 5%
22: 2%
23: 3%

Average Age of Participant: 14

Gender:

No Answer: 16%
Male: 1%
Female: 83%

Current Video Game Habits


Which of these do you play video games on?

Cell Phone: 33%
Traditional Board Games: 37%
Internet: 76%
Console (Playstation, Xbox, Wii, PSP, DS): 46%
Computer: 80%


Do you play video games with?

Yes Sometimes No
Violence 16% 24% 52%
Blood, Guts and Gore 11% 23% 58%
Drugs 4% 10% 77%
Alcohol 6% 14% 72%
Foul Language 10% 24% 59%
Adult Themes/Situations 13% 30% 49%
Sexual Themes 5% 16% 71%
Nudity 4% 12% 75%
Death 16% 22% 55%
Guns 12% 24% 56%
Fighting 16% 24% 52%
Killing 14% 21% 57%


What type of internet games do you play?

Facebook (FarmVille, Mafia Wars, SongPop, etc): 39%
Flash (MiniClip, Pogo, Habbo Hotel, etc): 26%
MMO (World of Warcraft, Runescape, etc): 22%
Console (Halo, America’s Army, etc): 27%
Computer (SecondLife, EverQuest, Free Realms, etc): 61%
Mobile (Draw Something, Angry Birds, etc): 56%

Video Game Ownership


Which consoles do you own or have owned in the past?

Wii: 61%
Playstation: 22%
Nintendo 3DS: 12%
Nintendo DSi: 22%
Playstation Vita: 0%
Nintendo 3DS XL: 1%
Nintendo DSi XL: 6%
Gameboy: 31%
Playstation 2: 34%
Playstation 3: 14%
Xbox: 31%
Gameboy Advanced: 25%
GameCube: 16%
Nintendo DS: 53%
PSP: 9%


How often do you (or a parent) buy video games?

Once A Week 0%
Once Every Two Weeks 1%
Once Every Three Weeks 0%
Once A Month 13%
Every Six Months 28%
Every Year 33%


What type of video games do you currently own?

Music: 25%
Puzzles: 40%
Trivia: 20%
Arcade: 31%
Kinect Motion: 10%
Adventure: 71%
Exploration: 43%
Role Playing: 38%
Strategy: 45%
Racing: 45%
Building: 35%
Sports: 33%
Fighting: 29%
Simulation: 49%
Brain Training: 24%
Educational: 24%
Dancing: 31%
Party (4+ player games): 28%
MMORPG: 22%


How many video games do you currently have?

1 3%
2 1%
3 4%
4 3%
5 7%
6 3%
7 2%
8 1%
9 3%
10+ 57%


How often do you play video games?

Several Times A Day 12%
Once A Day 19%
Several Times A Week 12%
Once A Week 15%
Several Times A Month 6%
Once A Month 11%
Several Times A Year 7%
Once A Year 4%


How many hours straight (without leaving the game) do you spend playing video games?

5-10 Minutes 0%
10-20 Minutes 10%
20-45 Minutes 15%
1 Hour 22%
2 Hours 19%
3 Hours 10%
4 Hours 4%
5 Hours 0%
6+ Hours 5%

Video Game Preferences


I would make sure my video game had:

Yes No
Violence 21% 73%
Blood, Guts and Gore 15% 79%
Drugs 5% 88%
Alcohol 8% 85%
Foul Language 12% 81%
Adult Themes/Situations 25% 68%
Sexual Themes 11% 81%
Nudity 6% 87%
Death 22% 71%
Guns 18% 76%
Fighting 26% 66%
Killing 20% 73%


Some things are more important than others in my video game are:

Important Not Important
Storyline 80% 14%
Character Development 77% 17%
Sound Effects 44% 49%
Animation 74% 20%
Graphics 79% 14%
Music 45% 48%
Easy To Learn 77% 17%
Easy To Play 72% 22%
Easy To Navigate 82% 11%
Easy To Start/Install 83% 11%


My perfect video game would have:

Contests: 38%
Flash: 12%
Social Interaction: 37%
Turns: 8%
Fighting: 19%
Shooting: 15%
Killing: 16%
Businesses: 21%
Sports: 18%
Racing: 30%
Strategy: 40%
Adventure: 61%
Polls: 26%
Role Playing: 47%
Puzzles: 23%
Exploration: 45%
Weapons: 18%
Action: 55%
Building: 29%
Simulation: 51%
Design: 38%
Free Downloads: 35%
Music: 40%
Storyline: 52%
Magic: 40%
Vampires: 21%
Experimentation: 24%
Building & Construction: 25%
Management of Other Players: 15%
Music: 40%
Animation: 52%
Lifecycles (birth, growth, death): 56%
Pay To Play: 2%
Free To Play: 62%
Upgrade For Extra Features: 21%
Upgrade For Game Perks: 12%
Lots of Graphics: 43%
Minimal Graphics: 4%
Drag/Drop Interface: 14%
Expand/Collapse Interface: 14%
Customizable Site Layout: 30%
Zombies: 12%
Aliens: 6%
Werewolves: 21%
Phone Friendly: 32%
iPhone/iPad App: 27%
Role Playing: 49%
Insects: 9%
Fish: 20%
Birds: 19%
Conquest: 16%
World Domination: 14%
Resource Management: 16%
Economics: 18%
Witches: 20%
Animals: 86%
Fantastical Creatures: 37%
People: 44%
Clothes & Fashion: 32%
Creativity: 56%
Discovery: 42%
Surprises: 47%
Player vs Player Competition: 28%
Player vs Computer Competition: 18%
Free For All Competition: 30%
Team Competitions: 19%
Advertisements: 2%
Prizes: 38%


Video game m
usic would be:

Upbeat 51%
Dramatic 16%
Slow 7%
Spooky 5%


The video game would include these themes:

Romance: 47%
Comedy: 54%
Suspense: 33%
Drama: 44%
Horror: 16%
Violence: 19%
Family Friendly: 46%
Realistic: 60%
Educational: 25%
Science Fiction: 28%
Fantasy: 52%
Occult: 5%
Mystery: 52%


The video game would have these features:

Message Boards: 51%
Items: 64%
Stores: 67%
Maps: 51%
Level Ups: 52%
Bank System: 62%
Avatars: 61%
Weather: 56%
Customizable Characters: 69%
Customizable Clothes: 55%
Customizable Weapons: 30%
Live News Updates: 27%
Newspaper: 40%
RSS Feeds: 7%
Photo Gallery: 36%
Journals: 36%
Pet/Character Trading: 64%
Chat Rooms: 53%
Dynamically Colored Pets/Characters: 57%
Item Trading: 46%
Messaging System: 51%
Giving Gifts To Other Members: 52%
Random Occuring Events: 51%
Randomly Found Items: 60%
Quizzes: 37%
Polls: 40%
Limited Edition Items: 43%
Collectibles: 40%
Player Avatars/Tags: 47%
Pets/Characters: 84%
Limited Edition Pets/Characters: 52%
Currency Trading: 44%
Mini Games: 48%
Clubs: 41%

These results are provided for free  by
Design1online.com, LLC | Games For Girls.