At Space Ape Games we aim to make games that delight the world, so to achieve that in any meaningful way, you need to deeply understand your players, their passions and 'their fun'. We have fantastic live operations, data and marketing teams which provide us with a wealth of player data and insight, but at times we still struggle to get to 'Why?'.
We are huge advocates for player feedback within all our games teams and use a wide variety of methods to get player insight e.g. surveys, remote testing platforms, user research. The Go Testify platform brings additional benefits for our teams performing long form testing, especially when we are seeking a 360 degree view of the players behaviour over multiple play sessions and evaluating monetisation potential.
Two games recently put through their paces on the Go Testify platform where BeatStar and Chrome Valley Customs, here was our approach.
The early testing and strategic collaborations proved to be the bedrock of our success.Simon Hade, CxO
BeatStar - Touch Your Music
Early MVP Testing: A Promising Start
We wanted to assess retention and monetization of our early MVP version of BeatStar, so we ran a 4-session x 20-player progression test on Go Testify. Our aim was to combine our in-house forecasting data with qualitative insight from unmoderated user testing.
The results were inspiring! With an average Go Testify game rating score of 4.4 over time, BeatStar showed tremendous promise. This early feedback from players was invaluable and encouraged us to push forward with production, knowing we were onto something special.
Progression, Monetization and Multi-Platform Testing
As game developers, we knew that success meant not only retaining players but also strategically monetizing the game. Our testing journey didn't stop with the MVP. Our second long-form test on Go Testify evaluated Day 7-14 retention x 20 players, across multiple player cohorts via a longitudinal test (Diary study).
We also worked on optimizing our game for various platforms, including a Facebook HTML5 messenger version and ran a short usability test with 10 players with the aim to also understand player behavior and nuances of this alternative gaming platform.
One of the most significant contributions from Go Testify was the UX report it provided. This report contained actionable findings that guided our decision-making process both before and after the game's release.
The insights we gained helped us refine our game's user experience, making it more engaging and enjoyable for our players. It was a critical step in ensuring that our game would be a hit when it hit the market.
And the Beat Goes on....
BeatStar went on to achieve incredible success, both in terms of popularity and revenue. Not only did it become a player favorite but turned our passion into a profitable venture for Space Ape Games. The early testing and strategic collaborations proved to be the bedrock of our success. We have also released Country Star for all those Country music fans out there, we felt were being underserved.
"Go Testify has been an invaluable platform in our game development journey, offering us deep insights into our future fans on titles like Chrome Valley Customs and BeatStar."Simon Hade, Space Ape Games
Chome Valley Customs
Early Testing and Setting the Goals
After some initial MVP testing on Chrome Valley Customs, we decided to run a Day 0-3 Progression test with 20 players on Go Testify. The primary goals of this test were to gauge various aspects of the game and gather valuable insights on player behaviour.
Some of the key questions the team wanted to answer:
- Do players enjoy or not enjoy the puzzles, car customization, and story campaign?
- Do players find a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and self-expression when customizing vehicles
- Do players find the characters/owners of the vehicles relatable and real?
- Does the game match 'Car Culture' in real life? Does it feel authentic?
- How do players feel about the game over time, and are they excited to experience more?
- Is there any confusion within the core loop affecting gameplay?
Refining the Game
The results from the Day 0-3 Progression test were incredibly insightful and helped reveal some areas of confusion within some core game mechanics. With these insights in mind, we set to work addressing the concerns raised and adding more features to the core loop.
We then ran a second test, a Day 7 Progression test with 20 players including daily benchmark surveys to evaluate the impact of these changes. This time, the goals were different:
- Reassess the first-time user experience to see if changes have had a positive effect on the difficulty curve
- Uncover if the level streak mechanic influences player progression, excitement, and creates tension within puzzles.
- Evaluate the new showroom to see if players explore, engage, and how they feel about the feature.
- Assess the new cars and restoration balancing and how players feel about those changes.
- Do players still enjoy the puzzles, car customization, and the story campaign?
- Do players still find a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when customizing vehicles and revealing?
- Is the game enjoyable for car/racing game fans who are less proficient in match 3 games?
- Does the game continue to match 'Car Culture' in real life and feel authentic
Our Biggest Launch to Date
This insights gleaned from the long form tests on Go Testify, along with the player data from across our various insights teams gave us a laser focus for launch. Chrome Valley Customs became Space Ape Games biggest launch in 11 years, racing past $10 million in lifetime revenue.
A Wider Market Strategy
Our experience with the Go Testify platform isn't just about testing; it's part of a broader market assessment strategy. We dive deep into understanding player behavior, and this holistic approach pays off in spades. Our testing habits allow us to adapt, innovate, and keep our games relevant and profitable.