In this blogpost we (lexlibrator, Milly, Gong Liang, sophiedoesmedia) would like to present our alpha version of our social media application. After a lot of consideration we can also reveal it’s name: ReGame. The “Re” stands for “Re-visit” the game moments and “Re-living” the game experience. Game stands in focus and has therefore a prominent position in the applications name. The logo (fig.1) brings a third element to the composition. It can be read like an X – so Game Experience – and it also reminds of a classical game board layout called ludo (swedish: fia med knuff). The reason of this alpha version is to visualize the different steps and layers of the application. We created a complete look for our product and implemented some static pages for the sake of presentation. In the following sections we answer some questions around the system. Most of those questions aren’t new, but their answers changed due to considerations.
What was our application about again? ReGame is a mobile application which connects gamers with different game interests and serves as a tool to discuss previous game moments as well as assisting with future game planning.
What is the intended purpose of the implemented service?
The application should be used as a game companion, which enables contact and socializing between gamers whenever not gaming. With the help of the camera and a gathering widget on the pc or video platform, data in form of game moments are loaded into the application, and can then be part of discussion. With the help of this application the gamer doesn’t has to leave their game in total – instead it continues to be discussed and memorized. The application might also help during the scheduling and planning of future game sessions.
What is the intended audience?
This application is created for hobby gamers who like to play more than one type of game. This audience is not specialised on an age group or gender. The application can be easily used by all types of gamers, and isn’t connected to the intensity or length of game sessions. It depends on the gamer of how involved their are into the game, it can be seen as an interest, a hobby or even a lifestyle. The application could therefore serve as a small additional tool to stay in touch with other gamers and to re-experience the previous game moments.
What will make people start using this service?
Gamers don’t want to leave a game, especially not a good game. The application provides a possibility of staying connected with each other beyond the borders of forums or in-game-chats. It creates a total different platform, where gamers can share their game experiences with another by sharing, discussing and rating game moments. When entering the application, the user should state their actual favourite game or game genre. They then get suggestions for groups they could belong to, which includes gamers who stated the same names. By this groups are created, in where the sharing and the discussing takes place.
What will motivate them to continue using it?
ReGame brings the user back to the experience. So they might always use the service after or during a game session takes place (depending on the type of game). The application could also be used when the user wants to share some game related news or planning for a new session. The social aspect of seeing what other users are doing, is also a motivation to return to the application.
What would be the business model (if successful)?
As suggested in previous posts, we were thinking to start with a free app version, and to additionally create a premium version, which then costs. The premium version would provide more features, unlimited uploads and profile customization options. But when talking about a business model – after having a final and functional application – we consider the following steps, which could be conducted accordingly:
First step after finalization – publishing
After developing a final product, we would publish it and try to succeed on the google play suggestion list. Integrated meta information should be guiding to our ReGame application, when looking for any related keywords.
Second step – online marketing
Hand in hand we would try to make the application popular. Hereby we are relying on a word-of-mouth strategy, which would be tested with gamers of different genres (contact via forum, website, magazines, etc.) and then hopefully picked up by many gamers. As a support for this to happen, we would write and post information online, creating an application teaser and get it introduced at game conventions.
Third step – commercialization
If the application is proven to be successful and has required a high amount of users, we would try to find partners to commercialize the application or sell it to an interested game company.
What functions have you implemented?
In our final result in form of the functional prototype or alpha version, we had to limit some of the functions to a minimal stage and of course should a final “real” application provide even more functions and nicer design elements. The core of this prototype is to visualize the different steps and layers of the application. We created a complete html look for our product and implemented some static pages for the sake of presentation. The core functions we implemented were:
We consider those 4 to be key components of our concept and we felt we need to be able to present them to our audience at an early stage of development. The login function allows us to establish a session and make sure that the user gets a comfortable experience while browsing our content. It also insures that no one besides our testers will be able to see what we have to offer prematurely. The group feature allows the users to look at content through group filters. At this stage we only have a small base of pre made groups and do not allow our users to dynamically create their own. Also for the time being all groups are open so there is no requirement of membership in order to see images shared inside of the group. We managed to implement a moment list that dynamically fetches all the moments from a database and displays them to our users. Additionally, when someone clicks one of the moments he will be led to a comment page where he can see the author’s description of the image. We are still working on the commenting option but it will most likely not be available in our alpha version. Finally, the most important feature we managed to implement is sharing of pictures and text. We created an upload screen that allows our users to actually post their own moments together with a short description. After committing their file, it will become visible on the moments page and be viewable by others.
What changed, from the original idea?
Originally our main goal was to bring people together who share specific hobbies. Already soon after, we realized that we had to focus on a more specific target group to fit to the task and the limitation of the application. The general idea of “socializing the nerd” proved to be too limiting and prejudiced as well, so therefore we decided on gamers as a target group and games as the combining element for them to connect with. Gaming and gaming moments became the centre of attention. Our goal was to create an application, where all type of gamers (video gamers, pc gamers, role players, etc.) could use in their daily basis and revisit and discuss game moments they previously had. Their own experience and the one of other gamers moved into the centre of the application, which were visualized by a picture of the recent game experience. Those pictures could for example show costumes or situational pictures of larp sessions, pictures of game play (board games or miniature gaming) or screenshots of epic gaming moments.
The main focus hereby shifted from a personal gamer-to-gamer connection to an application for mobile game revisits (visualizations) with the possibility to discuss (chat). So our idea has been widened, in a way that we still want to connect people, but we give them an object they can relate to and be motivated about as well.
After finalizing this alpha stage of the application our next task will be to test it with fellow students for functional and design feedback and with the target group for aspects on usability and acceptance. When we started with the ideas of this application, we had high expectations and saw unlimited possibilities. Pretty soon reality caught up on us, and we realized that we had boundaries in sense of time, skills and expectations. Some things we learned through this experience are: that limits and flaws are part of the process and even communication can not fix everything. For some of us this experience was confronting us with a new situations and provided a real challenge. The result is a very early alpha version and we know that a lot of more work is need to create a really working and designerly appropriate product.