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Parents: Do Your Kids Love Playing Computer and Console Games? Then They Could Test Them!

April 02, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 68

As parents we usually worry that our kids spend too long playing games on their consoles and computers, but actually they are developing specific knowledge and expertise that might surprise us. I don't mean just their amazingly nimble thumbs and brains, they are also learning what works and what doesn't in gaming - the right degree of challenge, and reward, that makes the art of gamification function, that keeps players of different levels striving for the next achievement. This is at the cutting edge of behavioural science, with application in fields ranging from education to health policy.

And kids are very discerning consumers - they know exactly what they like and what they don't like, what they want to spend their time playing. Despite the recession, the UK games market alone was worth over £3bn in 2011. Understanding exactly what gamers need and want from their next releases is big business, and when the gamers are kids, understanding their unique needs and motivations is an important art. Developers work with brands and technology to design the games they hope will be talked about, enjoyed and create a buzz, but at some point in the development they have to get their prototypes directly tested, by real users who are in the target market for the end product itself - the kids who love playing games.

Taking part in games testing is invariably huge fun for those involved. The researchers are trained in the very specialist field of child related research and games testing, and tend to be very communicative and personable characters, experienced at making children and parents feel welcome and right at home quickly. Sessions could last anything from 45 minutes to two hours, and mainly involve hands-on games testing. This will be playing an unreleased game, likely to be in a genre selected to be of special interest to the child involved, and they'll be asked for comments and feedback during the session. Appropriate breaks and refreshments are provided, to the gaming children and their parental chaperones, who accompany them at all times. There will also be members of the research team present, and sometimes others from the development company may view from behind a mirror or videolink - so as not to create additional crowds and pressure that might distract or stress the young participants.

The children taking part are typically aged 6-17 years, and will need some level of gaming experience - they'll usually be recruited because they own a current generation games console or handheld, and like certain types of games, but for different projects different degrees of expertise and enthusiasm are required - indeed, often casual or inexperienced gamers are what's needed, typical average kids, who make up a wider share of the target market than the obsessive experts.

For ethical and child protection reasons, the research recruitment company involved will recruit via the parent/guardian, who's consent and input is required at all times. Sometimes there are event joint research sessions where the parents will be specifically interviewed about their child's gaming behaviour, but most often they will just be present as an observer and chaperone - and to sign for the research incentive fee of course, which is typically in the region of £50 for a one-off short session in the UK (of this £20 is normally regarded as the chaperone fee, the rest is for the young research participant!)

To find out about research opportunities in the UK for you and your family (where applicable) you need to be over 16 and enrol with Saros Research Ltd - if you have children in the target age range, they will then contact you directly as the parent, with any games testing in your area for which you may be able to apply.

Source: EzineArticles
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Kids Games Testing


Saros Research

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