Player interviews are a great tool for understanding players better and taking control of the conversation. This guide will walk you through ordering, conducting, and analyzing player interviews.
Sections in this article:
Ordering a Player interviews playtest
Step 2: Select the game you are running these interviews for in the Which game are you testing? section. This is mainly to organize the playtest better. Players will not play a game before the interview.
Step 3: Select how many players and how long each interview will be in the Playtest configuration section. The interview length is not enforced, but we will use it to set expectations with the player and make sure they keep themselves available for at least the time you specified.
Step 4: Define who you would like to invite to the interview in the Specify your target audience section. The more details you provide, the better. You can also choose to interview your own players (BYOP) by selecting Use your own testers
Step 5: Specify when you would like to conduct the interviews in the Pick the dates and times for your interviews section. Two important points to remember:
We require a few extra time slots to accommodate any modifications or cancellations that may be required. We will schedule players for all the time slots, but you will only need to conduct the number of interviews you have ordered
We require 1 business day ( (M-F 9am-7pm CET) between the day you order the playtest and the first interview time slot. This gives us enough time to process your playtest and find the right players.
Step 6: Optional You can specify any instructions you want to share with the player in the Custom briefing section. If you would like the player to familiarize themselves with some content before the interview, you can share it here.
Managing your Player interviews playtest
Once you have ordered the interview playtest, you will be able to access the playtest page to see its status. The time slots you specified while ordering along with the status of each time slot is visible here.
Understanding the different time slot statuses
Finding players: We are looking for players that match your targeting and are available at the times you specified
Start Interview & Add to Calendar: A player has been confirmed for the time slot.
You can click on the Start interview link to open the interview interface. This link can be shared with your colleagues if they would like to join the interview. They will require PlaytestCloud accounts to participate in the interview.
The Start interview button on the interview interface will be enabled 10 minutes before the scheduled time.
Clicking on Add to Calendar downloads an .ICS file that can be added to your preferred calendar software. It contains the time slot details along with a link to the video call.
Time slot disabled: This status represents two scenarios:
The interview was conducted and an interviewer ended the call manually
You or a colleague asked us to cancel that time slot and not assign any players to it
No status message: This means the time slot has passed but the interview was not conducted
Conducting the interview
Player interviews through PlaytestCloud are conducted through our in-house video call system. It is fairly similar to most video calling services out there with a few added features.
Once we have scheduled a player for your time slot, you will receive an email from the system that contains a link to start the interview and a calendar invite that you can save to your calendar. You can invite colleagues to the calendar event or simply share the interview video call link with them. If they do not have a PlaytestCloud account, use the share link feature (read more). This link will allow them to access the playtest and conduct/join interviews.
Important: All players including your own players, accept an NDA before joining the interview. Any information shared during the interview is confidential.
When you are ready to conduct the interview, click on the Start interview link on the playtest page to go to the interview interface, where you can start the interview up to 10 minutes before the scheduled time.
Important! macOS users should give their browser screen recording permissions before joining the interview. The browser needs to be relaunched after the permission is granted, so doing it after the interview has begun would require exiting the interview and rejoining.
➡️ Instructions from Apple on how to grant screen recording permissions
Options in the interview interface:
In the action bar at the bottom, you will find:
Buttons to switch on/off your microphone and camera
Start/stop screen sharing
A three-dot menu with the following options:
Troubleshooting & help: that option links you to this article :)
Enable/disable background blur
Switch to observer mode: clicking on this enables the observer mode. The player will no longer see you as a participant in the interview
Report an issue: report no-shows or any other issues
The different camera feeds:
Which camera feed is in the center? In the center of your screen, you will always see the player's camera feed. If the player has not joined, you will see your camera feed in the center. If you are sharing your screen, you will see what the other participants see in the center.
Once the player has joined, you will see their camera feed in the center and their name in the top center of their camera feed. If the player turns off their camera, you will see their camera feed represented by this icon:
Which camera feeds are on the right?: Once the player has joined, you will see your camera feed on the right along with any of your colleagues that have joined the interview. If more than two colleagues have joined, you can use the up/down arrow buttons to scroll through the participants.
If a colleague has turned off their camera, you and the player will see their camera feed represented by this icon:
If a colleague is in observer mode, they will not be visible to the player as a participant in the interview, but you will see them represented by this icon:
You can share your screen during the interview, and it can be a great tool to gather feedback in person on concepts and artwork from your game.
macOS users should give their browser (applies to all browsers) screen recording permissions before joining the interview. The browser needs to be relaunched after the permission is granted, so doing it after the interview has begun would require exiting the interview and rejoining.
➡️ Instructions from Apple on how to grant screen recording permissions
Always select a particular window or tab rather than the entire screen: When you click on the start screen sharing button, your browser gives you the option to share just a window or tab or your entire screen. It is best practice to always select a specific window or tab. This ensures you don't inadvertently share unintended material with the player and prevents your interview interface from looking like an infinity mirror.
Understanding observer mode
Too many interviewers can be intimidating for players, so if you are joining the interview only to take notes and observe, you should enable observer mode. In observer mode, your microphone and camera are switched off, and players do not see you as a participant in the interview.
Some things to remember:
Observer mode is only available if there are two or more interviewers in the interview. You cannot go into observer mode if you are the only interviewer.
If you join the interview after another interviewer has already joined, you will join in observer mode by default and can choose to make yourself visible to the player when you are ready.
Other interviewers (not the player) can still see you as a participant in the interview when you are in observer mode.
When you disable observer mode, you are made visible to the player as a participant in the interview, but your camera and microphone remain disabled. You need to enable them manually.
If all the other interviewers leave the interview and you are already in observer mode, you will NOT automatically become visible to the player until you disable observer mode.
How to enable observer mode:
There are two ways to enable observer mode:
When you join an interview after another interviewer has already joined, you initially join in observer mode
If you are currently not in observer mode, click on the three-dot menu in the action bar, and then click on Switch to observer mode to activate it
How to disable observer mode:
Click on the Join button in the action bar at the bottom of the screen.
What if the player does not show up or I face issues during the interview?
We do our best to remind the player to show up for the interview, but sometimes we can have no-shows. We recommend waiting at least 10 minutes past the scheduled time in case the player is running late.
Once it seems unlikely that the player will join, click on the three dot menu in the interview interface and click on Report an issue.
In the box that pops up, select Player didn't show up or use the text box to tell us what went wrong. If there are any backup slots available, we will use one of them to make up for the interview with the issue.
If you did not report the issue while on the interview screen, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what went wrong. We will do our best to find a solution and get back to you.
Analyzing your interview recordings
All interviews are automatically recorded and made available for analysis after the interview is done. The system takes a few minutes to process the video, and once it is ready, you can access it on the playtest overview page.
You get access to PlaytestCloud's analysis tools on the video page. We automatically generate a transcript for the recording; you can add annotations with hashtags and create clips and reels.
Want to know more?
Read more about Player Interviews in our dedicated blog post.