In September, Key Lime Interactive presented a user testing study (N=12) on the post-match statistics screen of PUBG mobile at the Games UX Summit in Vancouver, hosted by EA. During our presentation, we provided design considerations and opportunities for improvement for the post-match screen, drawing best practices from other games from mobile and PC platforms. For example, comparing to PUBG mobile, Warships Blitz (iOS, Android) provides a more detailed and accessible post-match screen, organized so that it serves players of different types.
In our findings, we found that players in our study can be separated into two groups: Strategists and Rookies. Strategists are more experienced, with already internalized strategies, whereas rookies are more inexperienced and utilize the post-match stats explicitly for signs of improvement at the game. It is important to know which group a player falls into, as it can provide insight as to the ways in which they will interact with the post-match statistics page. Our study included 12 participants, with 7 of them being strategists and 5 being rookies.
At the beginning of the study, we have decided to use an objective measure of competitiveness, to see whether there are any patterns among the different player types. For this measure, we relied on the Revised Competitive Index by Houston et al. It asks 14 brief questions on a 5-point scale. For this study, we took the average of a participant’s response for each question as a measure of competitiveness. According to our data, the tacticians tends to be more competitive (n = 8, average = 3.99) than the Rookies (n = 5, average = 3.40). However, we cannot comment on the significance of this difference due to the small and uneven sample size. Regarding the usage of the post-match stats screen, 8 of the 12 players have frequently looked at the screen, and 6 out of 12 players stated that they frequently use the post-match screen to strategize or search for additional feedback on gameplay (and 1 player occasionally does so).
Another one of our main findings in the Game UX Summit presentation is that players rarely search for additional information. While 7 of our players frequently use the post-match screen, only 2 players would frequently look at the in-game overall stats screen (as a tab under player profile), and 4 players occasionally do so. Similarly, only 3 players would search for outside information (youtube videos, forum posts, guides, etc.) regularly and 3 players occasionally do so. This finding stresses to us the importance of a clear and easy-to-use post-match screen, as players would simply ignore information they do not understand or continue to use the post-match screen misinformed.
We also found that players of PUBG mobile have some issues understanding certain elements of the post-match screen, as many players told us that they are not sure what the radial graph in the post-match stats represents. In comparison, League of Legends (PC) has implemented a Stats page with a clear set of corresponding icons, paired with tooltips to explain the meaning of the icons.
In our study, we also saw some information regarding the relationship between socialization and PUBG mobile. In PUBG mobile, players can play cooperatively with other players online when they play duo or squad mode without a pre-made team. However, several of our players, when asked about talking to strangers online via PUBG mobile’s built-in voice function, all said that they would not use the microphone. If their teammate(s) talk, they would listen and work together with the team, but would not speak themselves. Typically speaking, when players do speak to other players, they are friends they have already met in life and often play together within the same physical location.
Quick breakdown of overall findings from PUBG study.
Because of the small-scale and efficiency, we were able to gain quick and valuable insights for PUBG mobile in specific and competitive games in general. From our small group of participants, we were already able to identify a number of usability issues, both explicitly and implicitly stated by the participants. Our findings also allow us to gain a glimpse into player behavior in general, such as their general unwillingness to search for additional clarification.
However, as with any user research, there are several limitations within this study, which may provide further research opportunities. The first is that this study only has a small sample size (N=12), with a variety of ages. It would be interesting to see how well the post-match screen serves other players, and how do different groups (e.g. different age groups, different tactics, and different levels of experience) compare against each other. Furthermore, It would be interesting to conduct an analysis of post-game stats in other games and genres. How do players of a very different shooter game (e.g. Rainbow Six Siege) or a fighting game (e.g. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) feel about their current post-match screen? How do they use the post-match screens in their games? What do they want to see? We here at Key Lime Interactive will continue to make an effort to understand and answer these types of questions.