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Analysis: Player motivations in Roblox, Fortnite and Candy Crush Saga

Analysis: Player motivations in Roblox, Fortnite and Candy Crush Saga

Kalle Heikkinen is the Chief Game Analyst at mobile game and market analysis company GameRefinery.

Mobile game analytics provides a lot of great insight to developers and publishers.

This ranges from what people are doing inside games and the kinds of features that seem to perform well through to how the game is performing on the app stores.

But what about the human aspect? More specifically, who are the kinds of people or 'archetypes' that gravitate towards a game, and how does that game fulfil the need for specific gameplay features that these people crave?

To uncover some of the secret sauce behind the highest-grossing games and shine a light on the core player motivations behind our insight team at GameRefinery have taken a look at the top three iOS games on the US App Store and analyzed the following key factors.

  • The top motivational drivers that make people want to play a game.

We've identified twelve key drivers and mapped out the importance of each one for the games that we have analyzed. This is a score out of a possible maximum of five. All games analyzed have the same motivations, but each has a different score to denote the importance.

  • The top three archetypes that gravitate towards this kind of game.

We have defined eight different player archetypes and then ranked them in order of which ones tend to gravitate most towards a game. You can see more detail on player archetypes.

  • How the motivational drivers of a game compared to the average for the sub-genre that it is in.

Our gaming taxonomy comprises of 13 genres with each of these further divided into sub-genres. This shows where games may be exceeding or not fulfilling some key player motivations.

For greater detail on player motivations and archetypes look here.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 Roblox

    We classify Roblox as belonging to the 'Sandbox' sub-genre within the primary 'Simulation' genre.

    This is defined as 'Games where players are free to roam in the game's world, playing around and creating things of their liking. Heavy emphasis on user-generated content.'

    Other examples: Minecraft and Growtopia.

    If you'd like to understand more about how our taxonomy system works take a look at this article.

    Top Three Motivational Drivers

    • Exploration - Discovering new worlds (Score: 5 out of 5).

    These people like to experience a sense of wonder and curiosity while finding new exciting worlds and areas to explore Social competing against others

    • Social - Competing against others (Score: 4.8 out of 5)

    These people like to experience a sense of power by competing against friends, acquaintances or random people while outwitting, outlasting and outmanoeuvring them.

    • Expression - Customization and decoration (Score: 4.2 out of 5)

    These people express themselves through visual customization and decoration or characters, items or buildings and showing it to others.

    Top Three Player Archetypes

    • King of the Hill (20%)

    Kings of the Hill prefer games with a high degree of competition with other players. For this player type PvP-action is the best (and often the only) way to get the most satisfaction out of gaming. Kings of the Hill enjoy the sense of power resulting from competing against friends, acquaintances or random people and then outwitting, outmanoeuvring and outlasting them.

    • Thrill Seeker (19%)

    Adrenaline rush, risk-taking and high-speed action are attributes Thrill Seekers associate with optimal gaming experience. They want to experience excitement and suspense rather than spending their time with slow-paced gameplay requiring lots of strategic planning and thinking.

    • Treasure Hunter (18%)

    Treasure Hunters prefer games that continuously offer new areas and worlds to explore and have a wide range of items, characters or other things to find and collect. Treasure Hunters feel a high degree of satisfaction when they bump into new findings and get to grow their collection of valuables.

    Top 3 motivations Roblox fulfils better than the genre average

    Roblox far exceeds the genre average in some key motivations as you can see:

    • Social - Competing against others (75% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of power by competing against friends, acquaintances or random people while outwitting, outlasting and outmanoeuvring them.

    • Social - Working with others (56% higher than average )

    These people like to experience a sense of togetherness through working together with friends, acquaintances or even random people while achieving goals and milestones as a team.

    • Expression - Customization and decoration (47% higher than average)

    These people express themselves through visual customization and decoration or characters, items or buildings and showing it to others.

    Some motivations Roblox fulfils less than the genre average

    • Exploration - Collecting treasure (25% less than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of accomplishment by finding new items and characters and completing collections.

    • Management - resource optimization (43% less than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of fulfilment by optimizing complex streams of production and getting most out of available resources.

  • 2 Fortnite

    It’ll come as little surprise that we classify Fortnite as belonging to the ‘Battle Royale’ sub-genre within the main 'Shooter' genre.

    More specifically, this is defined as 'First-person / third-person view shooter games revolving around Battle Royale play modes (shrinking arena, scavenging other players' corpses, last player/team alive wins).'

    Other examples: PUBG Mobile, Knives Out, Garena Free Fire: Rampage

    Top Three Motivational Drivers

    • Social - Competing against others (Score: 5 out of 5)

    These people like to experience a sense of power by competing against friends, acquaintances or random people while outwitting, outlasting and outmanoeuvring them.

    • Mastery - Improving skills (Score: 5 out of 5)

    These people express themselves through visual customization and decoration or characters, items or buildings and showing it to others.

    • Social - Working with others (Score: 4.9 out of 5)

    These people like to experience a sense of togetherness through working together with friends, acquaintances or even random people while achieving goals and milestones as a team.

    Top Three Player Archetypes

    • Skill Master (23%)

    Skill Masters are always on the lookout for ways to become better and better in any game they pick up. They see the hard difficulty and steep learning curves as appealing rather than repelling qualities. Skill Masters are passionate about improving and honing all aspects of their gameplay and gain satisfaction when others acknowledge their high level of skill.

    • Networker (22%)

    Networkers see gaming as a social activity best enjoyed by working together with other players. Community building and co-op playing will definitely catch this player type's attention. Networkers want to feel a sense of togetherness through working together with friends or even random people while achieving goals as a team, but they're not afraid of jumping into competitive situations either.

    • Thrill Seeker (22%)

    Adrenaline rush, risk-taking and high-speed action are attributes Thrill Seekers associate with optimal gaming experience. They want to experience excitement and suspense rather than spending their time with slow-paced gameplay requiring lots of strategic planning and thinking.

    Top 3 motivations Fortnite fulfils better than the genre average

    • Social - Working with others (55% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of togetherness through working together with friends, acquaintances or even random people while achieving goals and milestones as a team.

    • Expression - Customization and decoration (43% higher than average)

    These people express themselves through visual customization and decoration or characters, items or buildings and showing it to others.

    • Management - Strategic planning (32% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of accomplishment through strategic planning and successful tactful manoeuvres.

    Some motivations Fortnite fulfils less than the genre average

    Fortnite maps very well to its genre motivations and pretty much meets or exceeds player motivations across all of our defined genres.

    There is no single motivation where Fortnite is behind the genre average. This could well be a key to its success as it is succeeding on so many levels.

  • 3 Candy Crush Saga

    We classify Candy Crush Saga as belonging to the 'Puzzle - Match 3' sub-genre within the main 'Puzzle' genre.

    More specifically, this is defined as follows: 'In Match3 puzzle games players match board pieces together to clear them from the board and complete various level goals'.

    Other examples: Toy Blast, Gardenscapes

    Top Three Motivational Drivers

    • Escapism - Thinking & Solving (Score: 5 out of 5)

    These people like to experience a sense of accomplishment through solving puzzles and brain teasers of several kinds.

    • Mastery - Improving Skills (Score: 2.9 out of 5)

    These people express themselves through visual customization and decoration or characters, items or buildings and showing it to others.

    • Mastery - Completing Milestones (Score 2.9 out of 5)

    These people like to experience a sense of completion through achieving different milestones and thresholds, each more demanding than the last.

    Top Three Player Archetypes

    • Thinker (47%)

    Thinkers enjoy playing games for the occasional brain teaser or other cognitive challenges to take their mind off other things. Being able to solve puzzles successfully gives Thinkers a high sense of accomplishment and draws them to the world of gaming time and time again.

    • Skill Master (17%)

    Skill Masters are always on the lookout for ways to become better and better in any game they pick up. They see the hard difficulty and steep learning curves as appealing rather than repelling qualities. Skill Masters are passionate about improving and honing all aspects of their gameplay and gain satisfaction when others acknowledge their high level of skill.

    • King of the Hill (13%)

    Kings of the Hill prefer games with a high degree of competition with other players. For this player type PvP-action is the best (and often the only) way to get the most satisfaction out of gaming. Kings of the Hill enjoy the sense of power resulting from competing against friends, acquaintances or random people and then outwitting, outmanoeuvring and outlasting them.

    Top 3 motivations Candy Crush Saga fulfils better than the genre average

    • Social - Competing against others (54% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of power by competing against friends, acquaintances or random people while outwitting, outlasting and outmanoeuvring them

    • Social - Working with others (30% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of togetherness through working together with friends, acquaintances or even random people while achieving goals and milestones as a team.

    • Escapism - Thinking and solving (10% higher than average)

    These people like to experience a sense of accomplishment through solving puzzles and brain teasers of several kinds.

    Some motivations Candy Crush Saga fulfils less than the genre average

    Much like Fortnite, Candy Crush Saga maps very well to the genre average with no clear areas where it significantly falls behind with its motivational mapping.

    The most significant differences are:

    • Expression - Customization and Decoration (27% lower than average)
    • Escapism - Excitement and Thrill (23% lower than average)

    Summary

    For any mobile game developer, gaining insight into their players’ key drivers and motivations is essential to help drive the continued success of their game.

    This applies from initial launch and testing through to the game’s ongoing development. As new gameplay trends emerge, such as greater social features, battle passes and hybrid genres, developers must be able to monitor whether or, not their game is still delivering what the audience is looking for.

    The field of player insight and motivations is a new one in mobile game analytics. Still, it now means that developers have even more tools at their disposal to ensure that their games keep their audience engaged by delivering new and exciting experiences for years to come.

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