This additional blog, I personally feel I should speak on a separate blog, as talking about the ethics of target market to apply to what we worked on is another part of what we learned in the development of this project and it feels like it deserves its own progress report because of the significance
What is the stance on promoting your content to a target market under 13 on a mobile app? That’s a big question when developing something for that specific target market and that’s something that we all have to face when we are promoting something. Not only there are guidelines you need to follow, you also need to make sure that it fits the guidelines or else.. well.. it won’t be pretty, to put it simply.
So this is the big question:
“How far are you willing to go to market to your specific target market? And what price you will pay for marketing to that target market?”
Now. This question can be answered in many ways based on your experience and who you want to market the game to. Generally, the idea is to follow the Developer Content Policy, which depending on developer experience, can be either simple or completely off the rails for this. But there are ways to answer that question above.
If it’s for adults, there are smaller constraints for it but there are also its boundaries. As I am still a little apprehensive of putting my own thoughts on how to market to this specific target market without any sort of bias and interpret them to give an informative answer due to lack of experience dealing with this, I would rather ask you to research this part and come up with your own conclusions.
However, in our case, we specifically targeted the game, Sunshine Swings, towards the smaller demographic, below the age of 13. This has its own specific terms we need to come with. For starters, there are guidelines that we need to follow. And, to put it in my most honest opinion, it’s a whole lot of text with so much dumping of information that I’m sure reading it would easily be a handful to some people who aren’t a total literate or even good at english.
But the gist of what we had to face was the fact that we can’t control the consumer from doing whatever we want, but there’s also a part of the guideline that said that if we market it towards children, we were supposed to face the fact the issue of whether we allow them to buy things and how much we are allowed to buy them.
What is the extent to which we allow ourselves to allow in-app purchase if we targeted them towards a younger audience, who may not know the correct ethical standpoint of spending money properly.
There are also ads showing up that are inappropriate to those under 13, so they needed to not be available to those under 13. That’s also the ethical dilemma we have to go through for the game.
But after much deliberation, we decided to go through with it anyways, due to the nature of the game that was planned out in the Game Design Document planned weeks before and what we are required to do for the development of this project as a feature to have. (which seems more an excuse than a valid reason) We try our best to ensure that anyone under 13 won’t watch the ad. However, that is something we cannot completely control (nor would we want to control). So we just have to make due with what limited resources we have.
There are also a lot of other aspects of things that can’t simply be marketed towards a younger audience, such as specific content. These things are more obvious. I mean, who would have a game for kids that involves sailor swear and lots of other gruesomely dark content that is simply not appropriate. But then again, some people can easily get away with these things depending on how they approach it, but that’s something that I can’t exactly prove with a clear cut example so I’ll just leave my biases aside and conclude this progress report.
So, to put it simply, you have to follow the guidelines, specifically the COPPA guideline. And before I mistake this for an italian pork, COPPA is referred as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
There were a number of things on the list that we had to follow in terms of how we present the game to ages below 13 and we had to follow those guidelines. One major thing is the ads. But the idea is that when you’re trying to target the game to people under the age provided, you need to follow it’s rules.
Now the next part will be more on the side of project management, testing and marketing plan before we move on to the last part of this game.
Forbes Welcome. (2013). Forbes.com. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2013/03/22/phone-and-tablet-games-for-grown-ups/#1fcc1e9d35ae
What is COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act )? – Definition from WhatIs.com. (2010). SearchCRM. Retrieved 8 December 2016, from http://searchcrm.techtarget.com/definition/COPPA