Google PC and Console Report 2022: Diversity and Inclusion Are Key to Global Success

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Games designed for PC and consoles that consider community building, diversity, and inclusion from the start tend to enjoy higher levels of success globally. These are essential for the growth of what gamers are looking for, according to the Google for Games 2022 report on PCs and consoles.

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The report found that more than 70% of PC and console gamers find it very or extremely important that games feature diverse characters and stories, while 56% stress the need for gameplay options. ‘accessibility. These numbers are not surprising, given that the three billion strong game population spans the globe.

The audience for gaming has never been larger and more diverse,” said Jack Buser, Director of Gaming Industry Solutions at Google Cloud. “Understanding the desires and behaviors of these new audiences is key to seizing the rapidly growing global opportunity for our industry.”

And as the nature of the gaming experience evolves, with many more games being offered as online services, developers need in-depth and nuanced insights into the ever-changing nature of gaming communities. It’s really the only way for them to ensure that their players are motivated to stay committed for the long term.

Understanding the latest trends in gamer responses to the critical questions posed by this report is fundamental to building the next generation of interactive entertainment,” said Buser.

Why diversity and inclusion is essential

As games have grown larger and more prolific, their communities have, by definition, become incredibly diverse. These communities expect characters and stories that reflect their expectations, meeting the demand for diverse characters and stories.

To maximize the potential of their creations, game developers must approach diversity and inclusion as a fundamental part of their game development – ​​which includes everything from concept, characters and gameplay to marketing and advertising. Nearly two-thirds of PC and console gamers believe it is very or extremely important that the games they play are localized to their country or region, although overall 75% of gamers are satisfied with the translations of the content of their games.

Gaming communities, an essential means of social connection for millions of people around the world, must keep diversity and inclusion at the forefront. And like any social community, a sense of belonging and inclusion is key to long-term satisfaction – and, ultimately, retention in the game itself.

Tap into the two fundamental desires of gamers

The report found that more than half of PC and console gamers belong to some form of gaming-related community, and nearly 40% say the ability to interact with family and friends is what drives them to play. . Additionally, with players interacting with others via in-game text chat (41%) and voice chat (32%), this can often lead to genuine friendships and connections inside and outside the game. Game.

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That’s why, as online games continue to evolve into incredibly complex and interconnected digital services, building these communities becomes critical to long-term success. Thriving communities become a primary contributor to player acquisition, retention, and ultimately lifetime value, all key indicators of a game’s health.” When designing a modern game as a service, social systems are as essential as gaming systems,” adds Buser.

Increasingly, gaming communities connect people around the world, based on everything from common interests and gaming habits to the need for camaraderie and competition. They tap into the two basic desires to play and to belong, while the global nature of modern gaming communities emphasizes a greater diversity of community members.

“Developing the two fundamental desires to play and to belong is essential to creating communities that stand the test of time,” says Buser. “And to do that, systems that provide deep insights into gaming communities and the ability to react to changes in behavior must be seen as an essential aspect of modern game design. For those who succeed, it really shows in the success of the game.”

Build a thriving gaming community

Because the individuals who make up the gaming community are so diverse, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to creating a thriving community. The reasons and motivations behind the desire to connect, as well as the methods of interaction vary, even among individual players or cohorts within a game. The complexity of this reality, combined with the creative and design choices that game developers want to do, requires a deep understanding of the players and communities within each title. “It’s an understanding that can only come from actionable insights unlocked from data,” says Buser.

Game developers have increasingly harnessed the power of the cloud to build systems on a planetary scale to deeply understand their gaming communities and ensure their games can properly respond to those systems. Smart games that learn are increasingly mainstream, leveraging low-latency networks, deep analytics tools, scalable databases, and AI and machine learning to deliver an enhanced experience for communities.

However, gaming communities sometimes have a reputation for being toxic. One in seven gamers don’t join new communities because they’ve had negative experiences in the past, and one in five stops playing certain games altogether, which can ultimately damage the reputation of the game itself.

“Fostering positive interactions and mitigating toxicity is a deep and nuanced topic, requiring equally sophisticated solutions and design choices in games,” says Buser. “Just as building communities is critical to game design and success, so is the other side of the coin: making sure systems are designed to handle toxicity.”

Fortunately, modern solutions leveraging AI and machine learning have proven quite effective in mitigating toxicity in large gaming communities, allowing developers to incorporate evolving systems, learn and understand the nuances of the issue, and ultimately working to create safer and more inclusive gaming experiences globally.

The future of diversity and inclusion

With scaling solutions like Agones, the cloud is enabling games to reach billions of players with increasingly sophisticated interactive experiences. By relying more on the cloud with AI/ML, game developers can more easily understand what drives their gaming community. Games are now able to engage players with personalized stories and experiences, while connecting them with players they will have fun with.

“Games have always been at the cutting edge of technology, and we are witnessing new levels of joy and excitement made possible by pushing the boundaries of cloud, AI and ML,” adds Buser.

Successful developers will integrate smart systems to ensure community values ​​are upheld even at scale; make deliberate and thoughtful decisions early in development about their choice of cloud and associated solutions to ensure they have the right technology to build those systems; and finally, prioritizing diverse and inclusive development teams to ensure these principles are woven into the fabric of every decision they make, both technically and creatively.

“If a team follows these basic principles, they’re well on their way to building a large-scale, highly diverse community in their game,” he says.

To learn more about what matters to PC and console gamers, check out the Google for Games 2022 PC and Console Report.


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