Player segmentation: a practical mixed method approach

John Hopson

Data-driven player segmentations are one of the best ways to reduce the complexity of a community of millions of players into a manageable number of understandable player types, but their creation and application can be more art than science.  This talk will cover the method I’ve used to build highly impactful player segments on Halo, Destiny, and Overwatch using machine learning, surveys, and user interviews.  I’ll discuss how to build the right dataset, which tools to use, and how to judge whether your segments are really capturing the heart of your playerbase.  Most importantly, I’ll cover my experience evangelizing the resulting player types to development teams.  The best segmentation in the world is useless if it’s not internalized and acted upon by the design team, so my method (and my talk) has a heavy focus on producing segments that are both true reflections of the players and easy for non-researchers to understand and apply to make better games.

  • Category: Talk
John Hopson

John has been a games researcher since 2003, and has worked on games ranging from small indie projects to massive blockbusters like Halo, Destiny, Hearthstone, and Overwatch. His specialty is combining analytics and traditional lab research techniques to produce insights that neither method could accomplish alone. He is a former chair of the Games User Research SIG of the IGDA and holds a Ph.D. in Behavioral and Brain Sciences from Duke University. He is currently the senior manager of user research at Blizzard Entertainment, responsible for research work on all of Blizzard’s game franchises.

Session Schedule
#gamesUR US 2018 Schedule
8:00 Track A (Room B) Track B (Room C) Foyer
8:15 Empty Registration and Setup
9:00 Opening Address
Phil Keck (Activision)
9:15 Keynote: How to Win Friends and Influence Developers Posters/ Exhibitors
10:00 Break Break
10:15 Your Survey Sucks: Exposing Truth to Mobile Game Dev Teams Through Better Quant
Sarah Romoslawski (Glu)
Rapid Mentoring
James Berg (EA)
Posters/ Exhibitors
10:45 Context and Game Analytics: Hearthstone and Overwatch gotchas
Aleksandar Mirkovic
11:15 GUR Lessons Learned over the Course of Fortnite Development
Alex Trowbridge (Epic Games)
Solving the Mystery Using the Wizard of Oz Method
Lanie Dixon (Octothorpe Games)
12:00 Break Lunch
1:00 Researching League of Legends’ Largest Update
Nathan Blau (Riot Games)
Roundtable: Constructive Conversations About Racism and Sexism
Deborah Hendersen, Melissa Boone, & Jerome Hagen (Microsoft)
Posters/ Exhibitors
2:00 A Player-centered look at Spending and Advertising in mobile games
Allen Bevans & Pat Samermit (Google)
Building Confidence in Topics of Games User Research
Seb Long (Player Research) &,Lanie Dixon (Ubisoft)
3:00 Vendors + Poster Sessions Vendors + Poster Sessions
3:30 Challenges in the Game Analytics Pipeline
Multiple Speakers
Experimental Research Showcase
Multiple Speakers
Posters/ Exhibitors
4:15 Player segmentation: a practical mixed method approach
John Hopson (Blizzard)
VR PLAY: Usability and Playability Guidelines for VR Games
Heather Desurvire and Max Kreminski (User Behavioristics)
4:45 Fishbowl: Overcoming Challenges in GUR
5:15 Break Break
5:30 GUR Salary Survey
Jonathan Dankoff (WB Games)
5:45 Games User Research SIG Chair Update
Ben Lewis-Evans (Epic games)