Electronic Arts asked us:
How do we develop a benchmark for future mobile game development?
Before mobile games became ubiquitous, Electronic Arts approached AnswerLab to learn how to design a suite of their popular PC games as a mobile app. Because we play games rather than use them, games present a different user experience challenge; they require playability rather than usability metrics. AnswerLab partnered with EA to deliver playability testing and to develop a framework for evaluating game development across multiple platforms.
AnswerLab recommended hour-long, in-person playability assessments with EA’s target audience to assess how enjoyable and engaging players found the application. Through these assessments, we developed metrics on the first-time experience immediately after downloading the application. We provided a framework from which this cycle of development could be measured against future development cycles. Some of the core metrics included: comprehension of rules and objectives, ease of expertise, likelihood to recommend, and the discrepancy between perceived versus actual time within the application.
AnswerLab integrated the playability testing into EA’s agile mobile-game development process. We helped to establish a benchmarking framework of 12 metrics for the EA mobile team to assess future products throughout their development. The mobile game app we tested reached number one in free games immediately following its release for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it maintains a 4+ rating.