(To whom) would you recommend this game? Contextualizing NPS for better insights

By Jennifer Wright,CCXP posted 08-12-2020 01:50 PM


I started a habit this summer of having my breakfast on my back porch and browsing through #reddit. During this morning's reading, I discovered a new subreddit (message board) called r/shouldibuythisgame where video game enthusiasts solicit feedback about specific games to see if they are worth buying. Imagine an entire feed of people basically offering NPS data! I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Most of the posts were usually about a specific game, or a choice between two or three games, asking which others would recommend getting. The interesting thing was--many of the replies were not simple responses saying "yes you should buy" or "no you shouldn't". Recommendations were HIGHLY contextualized for specific gamer types, ages, or levels of experience.

"It will be a good choice for achievement hunters too because it is easy to select a level once you've beaten the game." -- Steam review for Donut Country by Rabbit

I noticed that recommendations were tailored to fairly narrow gamer categories and preferences. Dark Souls or World of Warcraft (WoW) would not typically be the first recommendation to someone who has only previously played Minecraft and Breath of the Wild, because those are completely different types of games catered to different gamer types and play styles. Both WoW and Dark Souls are hugely popular games that have many fans, but they would be totally inappropriate for many players who want a different type of gaming experience. Gamers know that, and they consider that in making recommendations. It's as though they have their own personal customer segmentation model, driven by experience and gamer culture, activated whenever someone asks them "should I buy this game?Video game controller

"If you loved Skyrim I’d say you can’t go wrong with Fallout 4.  --r/shouldibuythisgame - Fallout 4 comment by najib909

This isn't specific to Reddit though; blogs, Steam reviews, YouTube and Twitch "Let's Play" video play-throughs, and similar content about games often include qualifiers with their recommendations. A game isn't simply good or bad, worth buying or not. A game can be 'good for fans of co-op games' or 'not great for people new to platformers'. Rarely is a game purely just good or bad, recommended to everyone, of all ages and skill levels.

"Overall the game plays and looks great but the game itself probably isn't for those who like high action games or multiplayer games 8/10 " -- Steam review for Grow Home by Pixel

Discussions in r/shouldibuythisgame are presumably discussions among strangers, who introduce themselves by saying things like "I like racing games with real-world physics", or "I've played Red Dead Redemption and Skyrim". Those introductions significantly impact the recommendations, as they should. Maybe we should be incorporating an understanding of that relationship between recommender and recipient into our NPS/recommendation metrics. Who should our customers even be recommending our products to--if they were to recommend them?

Maybe the lesson from the gamer community is that customers are not always simply "promoters" or "detractors"-- they can promote or oppose a product depending on the specific needs of the situation, regardless of whether they have had a good experience with it.

As a relative newbie to the NPS metric, I'd love to hear from others about this idea. How do you gather data on customers' recommendations beyond capturing the NPS number? What other factors do you think about when interpreting that data? Do you use any qualifiers or context in your NPS question to account for how customers might actually recommend you/your product? Why or why not?