Timmy, Johnny and Spike

Segmenting your target audience to better understand the breadth of user experiences and wants.

This is one I’m borrowing from the Magic R&D team [Source]. Basically, to better understand their audience, the team built three separate profiles to encapsulate common player types. They used this to design for the breadth of the player base, rather than to design for a homogenized version of the target audience.

In marketing this is called market segmentation, and there are a variety of ways to segment customer bases. This is typically done in support of promotional efforts and not in support of development. That’s why this is such a smart strategy. You want to make sure your target audience is going to have a good time with your game. Building detailed profiles like this can help you understand what different player types want out of a game.

Planescape: Torment