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Game Demographics & Seasonal Shifts


volka
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I was wondering if other game owners or managers monitor their game's demographics (if even only age or country; gender is a statistic that largely lacks value since the community is so heavily female, and a lack of selecting a gender is far more prominent than males. It has been this way for a very long time and I don't anticipate that changing). This is something that I have consistently done with GoneMushing, and when I was looking over the info today I definitely found a change.

Looking at all of the users that have registered within the last 5 years as a whole, 14% are 15-19 years old, 46% are 20-24, 26% are 25-29, 9% are 30-39, and 3% are 40+. This is actually very consistent with the responses I have received in the SimCensus overall. However, after opening up the mailing list again at the beginning of the month, the new registrations tell a different story. Out of the newly registered accounts, 56% are 15-19, 28% are 20-24, 9% are 25-29, and 5% are 30-39.

That's a massive shift, and it begs a few questions: firstly, is the shift in the age of people registering related to the season? Do you find that younger players are less involved or interested in your game when school is in session? In this case, would you expect that the existing accounts are so heavily older players because more of them were purchased (as we can assume that the 15-19 demographic has less buying power), and more than 90% of these new accounts were free codes?

Secondly, since this is inconsistent with both the population of the game and with the survey results, which set is a more accurate or appropriate representation? Are we lacking the attention of the younger portion of the community, is this just a temporary surge? Overwhelmingly, people responded in the SimCensus that they started playing these kinds of games when they were 15 or younger - does that still seem to be the case? I was slightly doubtful before reviewing this most recent registration information, but I'm still not sure what it says as a whole.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm not able to give you exactly numbers and percentages, but on HP the average player is from the ages of 18-30, female. Over the years, the age has trended upward to older players, but only by a couple of years on average. In 2009 when HP launched I'd say our average age range was from 16-24.

As far as seasonally, I don't notice much change in the demographics. But I can tell you that historically our busiest times are fall, and late winter-early spring, and our slowest times are the winter holidays (Nov. and Dec.) and May. The summer is average, and slowly picks up steam from a drop in May until a surge in Sept. I think this is pretty in-line with our age group being mostly adults who are busy during the summer and the holidays, especially May and Dec. which are college finals season, and then finding more time during the school year/rest of the year when there are fewer events happening.

I can't say for sure about younger players. While we need them to stay alive long term, HP is generally a pretty mature game, and young players (13 and younger) don't tend to stick around/get bored with the community.

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@Design1online
are you located in the US? If you're in the US, you cant have members under 13 on your site iirc, because anything that requires agreeing to a ToS cannot be signed by anyone under 13. the law is called COPPA.

edit: wow it doesnt look like it only affects the US

"

7.  The Internet is a global medium.  Do websites and online services developed and run abroad have to comply with the Rule? 

Foreign-based websites and online services must comply with COPPA if they are directed to children in the United States, or if they knowingly collect personal information from children in the U.S.  The law’s definition of “operator” includes foreign-based websites and online services that are involved in commerce in the United States or its territories.  As a related matter, U.S.-based sites and services that collect information from foreign children also are subject to COPPA.

Edited by Zrcalo
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7 hours ago, Zrcalo said:

are you located in the US? If you're in the US, you cant have members under 13 on your site iirc, because anything that requires agreeing to a ToS cannot be signed by anyone under 13. the law is called COPPA.

COPPA requires that you don't knowingly collect any personally identifying information from children under 13 (like email addresses), and that they must have parental permission to play. Admittedly it's been a long time since I read the rules, but you can see them here: https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/childrens-online-privacy-protection-rule

I'm not sure how Jade does it on her games, but on HP we ask for your birthdate at sign up and if you're underage, it asks for your parent's email address instead of yours. Then your parent gets an email and must give permission for you to play before the game lets you log in. Additionally, your parent can set their own password to your account, and then they can use it to log in and turn off your access to the forums, chat rooms, and messaging system. If a parent revokes their permission, then your account is closed.

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7 hours ago, Zrcalo said:

@Design1online
are you located in the US? If you're in the US, you cant have members under 13 on your site iirc, because anything that requires agreeing to a ToS cannot be signed by anyone under 13. the law is called COPPA.

I am in the US. I am COPPA compliant, therefore I allow people of all ages to sign up. I have some sign ups for kids as young as 6. It is possible to be COPPA compliant without getting a parent's email address but you have to follow a bunch of other rules and regulations -- if you read the COPPA legislation and websites you can figure out how.

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1 hour ago, Zrcalo said:

Aaah, huh! I never knew that. I just knew with most sites it just wouldn't let you enter, and I know I have to kick anyone under 13 off my discord

In the context of most pet/sim sites, many developers prefer to just block or deny access to anyone under 13 to avoid the time and effort for adding the restrictions in place for COPPA.

COPPA isn't designed to protect children from bad people online (which a lot of people feel it is there to do), it is to protect children's private information from being collected without consent. It was actually introduced to prevent marketers from collecting information from underage individuals without parental consent.

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