Casual mobile game: Requirements study


I was approached by a studio that was looking to break into the hyper-casual genre of games for the mobile market. Since they mainly specialized in making online multiplayer games for the PC and console market, they wanted to get a better understanding of the functional requirements needed to make a successful mobile game.

The client also asked for a usability report, so we were given a basic functional prototype of the game that was being planned. It was a competitive card game, very minimal in nature where players win based on the difference between the values of the various metrics present on their cards. It was like a fancier version of 'WAR'. So, the final report we would give them would consist of a compilation of the functional requirements definition, a usability report, and data on where the prototype currently stands in terms of fulfilling those requirements

Methodology : 

In terms of a functional requirements document, we wanted to provide the client with data that they could use to build personas, map user journeys, generate a list of necessary features, understand player pain points and compare design choices for older players vs younger players. The company also expressed that they wanted this game to be playable between parent and child, so I decided to also include this dynamic in the demographic.

The challenging part of the study involved striking the right conversation and asking the right questions that would help us document the answers to these research questions:

  • Why do users download casual games? 

  • What type of environment or setting users most often play in? 

  • What factors determine if they consider a mobile game to be casual?

  • Is there a preference single player over multiplayer mobile games?

  • What is the general journey users take from discovering which game to download to actually deciding on downloading the game

  • What factors determine if a user decides to continue playing the game after downloading it?

We needed a uniform set of questions so we can determine if there is any consistency in answers to identify themes and to perform a comparative analysis. The final set of questions that were compiled for the interview process were:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

  • How often would you say that you play games on the mobile phone?

  • What type of games do you like to play?

  • What are your current favorite or most favorite casual mobile games?

  • Can you take me through the last time you downloaded a casual game?

  • How do you go about finding or looking for which game to download?

  • What motivates you to decide which game to download?

  • If you had 10 minutes to play a mobile game, maybe while waiting at a doctor's office or at home, what game would you choose to play and why?

  • Do you play offline or online?

  • Can you tell me about the last time you really liked a game that you downloaded?

  • Can you tell me about the last time you disliked a game that you downloaded?

  • Do you prefer multiplayer or single-player games?

Based on these baseline questions, we would probe further whenever required to gain better insight.

Sample size:

  • Two Groups of 8 Participants each

  • In the first group, the matches would take place between two randomly chosen participants

  • In the second group, the matches would take place between parent and child


Test Plan:

  • Conduct interview asking the predetermined questions

  • Bring both players(participants) together and explain the basic rules of the game (This was done due to the lack of a tutorial section)

  • Take players into separate rooms and have them play against each other a total of three games each of which last for just over 5 minutes

  • Ask the participants to think aloud while during the playthrough session

  • Conduct a focus group with both participants to express their thoughts on the game


For the purpose of analysis we based it off the KANO methodology. It involves identifying the functional requirements that are:





Anti- Features

The following table was used to codify keywords and statements:

Results : 

The requirements were divided into motivational constructs. Then features were broken down according to the KANO analysis. The following image is a snippet of the functional requirement documentation that was compiled:

The following image is a snippet of post gameplay breakdown of psychographic constructs based on the think-aloud test and focus group formed by codifying the keywords used to describe the game

The final report was met with positive reviews from the clients, who are currently utilizing the report to develop a functional build for further usability testing