Can Gamers Be Categorized?

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Earlier this year, games/esports analytics firm New Zoo released a report about gamers. For most of us, this report went unnoticed. There is, most likely, a majority of gamers who aren’t focused on marketing statistics. That doesn’t mean, however, that this report doesn’t affect all people who play games. 

The report itself is just data and statistics, algorithmically categorized to make marketing easier. In other words, they took all of our metadata, and are using it to generally categorize us. 

This may seem like a paranoid delusion from a cyberpunk novel to some of us. But in fact, this sort of practice is commonplace in almost every marketing demographic. If you sign up for a rewards card or program, your shopping data is logged. Not only for the company you gave that data to either. Unless you find yourself to be extremely connected to which companies own each other, you would be surprised.

Why Categorize Us At All?

Gamer Categories
Which category holds your gaming personality?

But this isn’t really an attack on the data mining, half of our tech companies depend on that now. No, the question to be raised is, can we be put into these boxes? Is there really a category or an archetype for all of us? My first reaction to this information was a rebellious, “NO WAY!”. But upon inspection of the grid, I found categories for everyone I know who games. Now, I’m not saying that this sort of stereotypical thinking and classification is right. But when I removed my emotional connection, I realized this actually does have a purpose.

It goes beyond the obvious responses of it tells them how to sell things to us more efficiently. I realized reports like this are VITAL. And all it took was a glance through the “Terminology” section of their Free Gaming Market Report. I discovered definitions for things like “Compound Annual Growth Rate”, which in a marketing report make sense. But there were also terms like “Smartphone Games”, defined as “Games played on Smartphones”. So there you have it, that’s the problem right there. 

They Don’t Understand Gamers…

I’m not trying to confuse the issue with other things in the report, this is pertinent. The reason I bring this to light is that, for the most part, this data is for a specific market. The market of people who don’t understand gamers, literally at all. It might be they work for companies that sell games. They might even work for marketing firms that invest in gaming companies. But this report, and others like it, are for those who aren’t IN the gaming world

So, once you realign yourself to that logic (and that took me a WHILE), things look quite different. If you don’t understand gamers, their motivations, their drives, their desires, then you can’t sell things to them. Speaking for my level of gamers, when I have money to spare, I often spend it on gaming. So when companies release new games, new content, new levels, or other goodies to sell, I’m always in the market. But that doesn’t mean they will be offering the games I want without data. If I spent the next ten years erasing all my metadata, to keep it all private, what’s the result? Game companies aren’t releasing games for me. Or if they are, they can’t advertise them to me so I can buy them. 

Should They Understand Gamers?

While this may seem overall to be a good thing (and maybe better for my wallet), it has its consequences. The system we have cultivated is one of supply and demand. So if there is supply, but nobody knows, or demand but no way to tell, the system breaks. At the end of the day, when I buy a game, I’m only able to buy ones I’ve heard about. 

Plus, be honest, no matter what category they’re trying to put you in, you just want to keep gaming. In your own way, to your own level, and only the games you like. That’s the benefit of gaming, of course, gaming your way. So while we may not all fit into boxes or categories, we all like new games. So let’s make the system work for us, our categories might help us all get the games we really want. 

Whether you’re the party guy, the leader, the bad boy, or tech guru, how you play games affects how you’re sold to.

Jon "Flash" Schmitt

1 thought on “Can Gamers Be Categorized?”

  1. You can but I don’t think it is healthy. Maybe if demos were more of a thing again, more people would try things outside what they usually play.

    I myself play loads of VR and any kind of game aside sport games or sim racing. I don’t wanna game what I could do technically in real life.


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