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05.04.2021
Audience and Genre
The mobile game market is highly fashionable. From time to time, a new game with unique mechanics tears up the top charts, and a couple of weeks later, the app stores flooded with its successful (or not) clones. In such a case, the player chooses between the game universes that are most appealing to him.

This article won't say a word about coming up with a setting that will win the hearts of millions. We will tell you what to focus on when putting together a foundation for the future world. Only analytics and marketing tools, only hardcore!

At large companies, marketers, analysts, and game designers monitor the market and analyze trends, figuring out and defining attractive visuals, mechanics, and monetization for users. Teamwork determines which genre of game to choose for development to get it into app stores faster.

But what do you do if you're a tiny indie studio renting a room in an attic?

First and foremost, don't panic. You don't need paid tools and years of experience to do basic market research. One tool is enough — FB Audience. It's easy to figure out in just a few minutes.

Let's imagine ourselves as a rookie development team fueled by pizza and energy drinks. We're minnows surrounded by game dev sharks. We have nothing but enthusiasm, a desire to create a video game, and a sincere love for the Idle-RPG genre. What makes it so remarkable?

  • Easy to recoup due to the perfectly fitting gacha-box system.
  • Wide scope for creativity and combining different mechanics: from casual match-3 and auto-battle to more hardcore tactical elements. For example, card battlers are a separate and evolving sub-genre of Idle-RPG.
  • You can put in a story that will additionally keep players interested.
  • Individual representatives of Idle-RPGs have kept in the top marketplaces from 2017 to the present. You can study the competitors, highlight the most interesting features and come up with an original universe.

Let's make our task more difficult by saving on localization and not translating the game into any other languages than our native one. In our case, it is Russian, but the actions described in this article you can repeat for any language and region.

We select the setting, based on the preferences of Russian-speaking players. What will catch their attention?

We are not counting super popular anime stylistics and western fantasy: the market is oversaturated. Connoisseurs of these universes have long found their game and are not going to give it up.

That is why we have chosen several not trite universes, which are worth to test:

  1. Fantasy with a national flavor. The Witcher won the hearts of Russian-speaking players long ago, but there are still few games in Slavic stylistics.
  2. Post-apocalypse. The aesthetics of paneled high-rise buildings, the people's love of S.T.A.L.K.E.R. and Metro: 2033.
  3. Military themes, particularly World War II. One of the most popular video games in the CIS is World of Tanks.
  4. The popular Howard Lovecraft universe in narrow circles.

The genre is selected, hypotheses are exposed. Let's start target audience selection. First, we create a portrait of the genre's audience. Open FB Audience and go into the Audience section:
1. Create a Saved Audience.
2. Define Audience Name, Location, and Language. Location - all countries. Language - Russian. Since we are trying to save some money on the translator.
3. Define Detailed Targeting options.

It is more complicated here. Pick up any related interests. Facebook will filter out the unnecessary ones.
The "Suggestions" button will help broaden your search and remind you of lesser-known projects.
4. Saving. Just click on the audience to double-check the details.
Similarly, describe the selected settings.
Don't forget to set the location (all countries) and Russian language!

We got the following portraits of the target audience:
Fans of Slavic fantasy:
The target audience is more than 7 million people. This is expected since The Witcher is a popular setting thanks to books, video games, and TV series. Mythology also interests potential consumers. However, the portrait of the target audience remains incomplete: FB has no additional interests dedicated to books in the Slavic fantasy genre.
Fans of post-apocalypse:
Despite the people's love for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. series, the setting is not very popular today. Only 1.1 million people.
Fans of military themes:
The bulk of the target audience is people associated with the military and military history.
Fans of chthonic horror:
Quite a geeky universe that few people are familiar with it.

So, our target audience is ready for comparative analysis.

We select the checkboxes of the genre and setting that we want. Under the "Actions (...)" tab, select "Show Audience Overlap":
We got the following picture:
What conclusions can we draw?

  1. Many fans of post-apocalypse (819,500 from 1,100,000) like games related to the Idle-RPG genre. An important fact for those who make (or are about to make) a game in an established franchise.
  2. The most popular setting is not always the best solution. The top leaders won't let you stand in their shoes.
  3. Making a game without localization is risky but fun. The target audience is small, but the setting is unpretentious and has not yet had time to bore the players.

The two most popular options - Slavic fantasy and military theme. It is worth choosing between them.

FB Audience is a flexible tool. It helps:

  • See how many fans of Game A are in Game B.
  • Find an open niche.
  • Combine game genres and watch the results.
  • Study demographics.
  • Choose successful advertising integrations by analyzing players' brand loyalty.

In this way, we have shown a free analytics method that helps newcomers understand how to describe a portrait of the target audience. It's great for analyzing the interests of people all over the planet. For narrow segmentation into Russia and the CIS, it is better to use VK.com: it is more actively used by Russian-speaking users. However, when analyzing this social network, you will have to spend money on services that take into account the intersection of target audiences.

The search and analytics of the target audience are necessary for a clear understanding of what to do next. Without this, it is unclear how to choose the genre of the game. Successful promotion requires a budget, and it is important to understand in advance what it goes to. Developing a project without a clear target audience is like shaking a box of tiles and hoping that they will form a word.