User Needs for Truth'n'Reviews

(Project Page)

Initial Interviews

User 1: Male undergraduate student and semi-casual videogame player

This individual plays videogames 4-6 hours a week. He owns a Playstation 3 and has used PS2, PC, N64, and SNES in the past. He describes his favorite genres as sports games, followed by some first person shooters and roleplaying games, preferably if they are online with a multiplayer component. His favorite game review website is, which he uses mostly to browse for games and read user reviews. His favorite types of reviews are written reviews from other users. He favors user reviews, especially from other people he knows, and he rarely buys a game without a personal recommendation.

User 2: Male undergraduate student who plays games too much

This individual plays videogames 12-14 hours a week. He currently plays on XBOX 360 and PC. His favorite games are first person shooters, roleplaying games, and action games, and he likes both single player and online multiplayer games. He usually goes to Gamespot for videogame reviews because it's the most familiar one to him, though he does use others on occasion. He likes written reviews and finds personality of the reviewer most important, especially if he can tell that the person is interested in the game. He usually buys games based on what his friends enjoy. One gaming story he has was when he was excited about Halo: Reach. He bought it along with some friends due to its good reviews, but in the end he found it to be a waste of time.

User 3: Male undergraduate student who is serious about gaming

This individual plays 10-15 hours each week. He plays on a variety of systems, including PC, XBOX 360, and PS3. He mostly plays roleplaying games and first person shooters, both online and offline. His favorite game review sites are IGN and, which he use when he is already interested in buying a game, and Metacritic, which he uses if he's just curious about a new release since it gives him a general idea of a game's reception. He likes written reviews by fans, especially if they are unbiased by the precedence of older games in the series. He likes the Gamefaqs forums due to its universal nature, since it has a forum for every videogame. One story he has was when he overheard about a game called Borderlands last year, which he had previously dismissed. When he looked up the reviews on IGN and 1up, he decided to buy it, a decision he did not regret.

Task Analysis

After examining our users' descriptions of their needs, we designed the following list of tasks that we could potentially follow up on:

  1. It would be helpful to have a forum for every newly released game which allows users to discuss the game as they want.
  2. Our users show a diverse set of systems that they use, so we should support numerous different platforms and allow users to search for the games on the systems they use.
  3. Since several of our interviewed users value personal recommendations, we can have a social component in which individual accounts can mark their friends and send game recommendations to each other.
  4. We need to have ways for individual users to review games since they are most free of bias.
  5. Since our interviewed users value style and entertainment value in reviews, we should allow users to vote on the various components of different reviews, including accuracy, depth, and entertainment.
  6. We should have a method by which users can browse for games even if they don't have a game in mind.
  7. Since one user liked Metacritic as a means by which to research games he find interesting, we can also share ratings on games from other critics and websites in order to give a broad look at how certain games are received.
  8. Besides reviews, we can allow for individual ratings for the average forum goer in order to get a broad view of what the general public thinks of a particular game. This hopefully makes the story of user 2 less likely to happen on our site.
  9. A possible feature is a hidden gems list each month which goes over interesting games that people may have missed.
  10. A possible feature is to allow for different media in user reviews, including video reviews besides just traditional written ones.

User Validation

We went over the list of features with two new users, both undergraduate male students at the university. One of the users considers himself a casual and social gamer, who plays only on occasion and owns a Wii and a DS. He rarely goes on review sites, and mostly relies on personal recommendations and advertisements for his game-shopping needs. The other is a more serious gamer who plays over 15 hours each week and plays primarily on the PC. He often goes on Gamespot and IGN to look at reviews, though he does occasionally look at video reviews on the Escapist or Youtube. The two of them analyzed what they liked and disliked about our list, and we came up with a prioritized version.

List of Requirements

Key Users:

Our key users will be mostly young gamers in their 20's who tend to buy games on a semi-frequent occasion and have the time to go on review sites and forums often. We will try to extend support to games on all sorts of platforms in order to garner a larger user base.


  1. Support various different gaming platforms to allow for all sorts of gamers
  2. Give users a way to review games themselves so as to give their honest opinions
  3. Let users rate published reviews by its accuracy, its depths, and its style
  4. Allow users to browse for games by genre and rating


  1. Create a forum for every new game so people can discuss the games they are interested in
  2. Have a social component in accounts so that different accounts can friend other accounts and give recommendations
  3. Allow individual ratings of games from ordinary website users just to poll public opinion
  4. Allow video reviews for those less interested in written reviews
  5. A simple interface which allows a casual surfer to find reviews of the most popular games
  6. Categorization of individual reviewers based on the average rating of their reviews


  1. Display ratings from other sites to give general idea of critical reception
  2. Hidden gems list each month which goes over games that people may have missed

Annotated References and Information on Competition

1. GameSpot Is Your Go-to Source for Video Game News, Reviews, and Entertainment. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

GameSpot provides a source for video game news, reviews, forums, images, videos, and previews and features, which is commercially sponsored by CBS Interactive. The video games are categorized by platform: PC, Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PSP, 3DS, DS, iPhone, and Android. Each review has a critic score and a user score, based on user votes, and registered members of the site can create reviews.

2. Video Games, Game Reviews, Movie Trailers, Free Game Downloads, News & Videos. | Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

GameZone provides reviews, forums, previews, news, downloads, and videos for video games. The reviews are also categorized by platforms. The reviews are given a GameZone rating and have an average user rating.

3. "PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii Video Game Reviews - Game Revolution." Game Revolution - Xbox 360, Wii, PS3, PS2 Game Cheats & Reviews. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

Game Revolution, owned by AtomicOnline, offers reviews, forums, previews, videos, features, cheats, and downloads. The game reviews are featured by a list of most popular reviews and latest reviews. The reviews are sorted by platforms.

4. "Video Game Reviews, Computer Games & Video Game Consoles - CNET Reviews." Product Reviews - Electronics Reviews, Computer Reviews & More - CNET Reviews. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

CNET Games, commercially sponsored by CBS Interactive, provides video games reviews, news, downloads, and videos. The reviews are sorted by platform, price, genre, and other elements, such as learning curve and context. The site features the “Best” games to buy and the reviews are found where the products are listed, along with product prices.

5. - Games. Culture. Criticism. | Review Games for Gamer Community. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

GameCritics allows users to create video game reviews and it also provides blogs, featured articles, and forums; this site doesn’t seem to be commercially linked. The reviews can be filtered by author of review, platform, and/or genre, and the user can choose to sort the reviews by game title, when the review was published, and/or the author’s name. Users can leave comments on the reviews.

6. Video Game Reviews, Cheats, and More. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>. provides a source of video game reviews, cheats, news, blogs, and forums. Reviews are created by users and are categorized by platforms. Users can leave comments to reviews, but there is only an editor’s rating for the review--no user ratings.

7. "Videogame Statistics." Online Education : Colleges, Universities, Schools, Courses, & Degrees. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

These statistics would help us figure out our target audience better. It shows that 65 percent of US households play video games, 49 percent of gamers are between 18 and 49 years old, the average gamer is 32 years old, 40 percent of gamers are female, and Wii is the most popular console player.

8. "Video Game Statistics, Industry Figures, and Information -" - Directory of Industry Statistics, Facts, Figures, and Information. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

This source contains video game statistics and video game industry statistics including industry sales figures, number of video game players, gamer demographic data, and other trends and data. There are also useful links to related news/press articles and reports and there’s a link to a page with online gaming industry statistics.

9. "Essential Facts about the Computer and Video Game Industry." Entertainment Software Association, 2008. Web. 24 Feb. 2011. <>.

Entertainment Software Association provides comprehensive statistical information in this information booklet such as gamer demographics, game sales rating, top-selling games and game genres, and parents’ relations with games.