Video game concept validation is a process that gives developers and studios the ability to move forward in the development process with confidence that their game will resonate with the intended audience. By going through this process, game developers can know that the game they are building will have an engaged audience at the outset that the game is perfectly tailored for.

Concept validation is an intricate process that brings together data from various sources to understand the competition, the audience, and the gaming landscape for a given game. Through this process, game concepts grow and evolve.

Previously, we introduced the Product-Market Potential Framework to give game developers a systematic approach to concept validation. This helps game studios to know their audience and build a roadmap to maximize their product market potential. Now, we’ll look at the available tools that take the process of concept validation to the next level.

With the right tools, this process can be streamlined, and pay significant dividends. It can unify the studio around a confirmed vision, create a roadmap with reduced potential for error, shorten the development cycle, and ultimately lead to a successful game.

In this article, we’ll look at four of the leading concept validation tools available to studios. It’s important to note that some tools work for all platforms, while others only work for mobile games.

Solsten – All Platforms

Solsten’s Navigator software combines audience insights, competitor benchmarking, and data-driven recommendations to help studios refine their game concepts and make informed decisions about design, features, and market positioning.

Solsten has five key differentiators that set it apart from other insights tools:

1. Audience Intelligence AI
Solsten’s proprietary AI technology creates tailored Navigator audiences that provide deep insights into the psychological profiles, motivations, and preferences of the most relevant player personas for a game concept. Every other audience intelligence tool relies on pre-defined player archetypes and motivational models.

2. Vast Psychological Database:
Solsten has built the largest psychological database in the world, representing 3.4 billion gamers from every country and territory in the world.

3. Over 250 Traits Measured
Solsten goes beyond demographics and behaviors, letting studios deeply analyze an audience on a granular level. the motivations, hopes, aspirations, needs, pain points, and affinities of a potential audience.

4. Competitor Benchmarking
Solsten’s Navigator allows game studios to analyze the performance, audience, and design of competing games, identifying opportunities to differentiate their game and capture market share. No other service offers in-depth views of a competitor’s audience.

5. Market Potential Assessment
Navigator offers market potential data for each player persona within a tailored audience, helping studios assess the financial viability of their game idea and prioritize features that cater to the most profitable segments.

These differentiators empower game studios to validate their game ideas, mitigate risk, and create successful games that resonate with their target audience.

Using Solsten for Game Concept Validation

To create a unique audience, Solsten first gathers relevant details about a game concept, such as inspiration games, target genres, unique selling points, and key features or mechanics.

With this information, Solsten’s audience intelligence gets to work. Our machine learning analyzes the information and pulls the most relevant psychological profiles from Solsten’s psychological database. These profiles are then clustered together to form a Navigator audience that is tailored specifically to the game idea.

The resulting audience provides game studios with a wealth of information about their target players. This includes insights into the players’ values, motivations, personality traits, and psychological needs. By understanding these key aspects of their audience, studios can make informed decisions about game design, themes, and mechanics that will resonate with their target players.

For example, if a studio is creating a casual mobile 4X game, Solsten can build a “4X Games” Navigator audience that identifies the most valuable persona to target when designing the game. Using the insights provided by the Navigator dashboard, the studio gan make informed decisions about game design, themes, and mechanics that align with the values, motivations, and personality of the most valuable persona playing the 4X genre, increasing the likelihood of creating a successful game.

In addition to providing psychological insights, Solsten’s audiences also include market potential data for each player persona. This information helps studios assess the financial viability of their game idea and make data-driven decisions about resource allocation and development priorities.

Navigator also allows the studio to benchmark their game idea against competitors by searching for the most valuable audience based on genre, game mechanics, or art style interests. This helps the studio understand a game’s market potential and identify opportunities to differentiate their game.

Overall, Solsten’s ability to build unique audiences is a powerful tool for game studios looking to create games that truly resonate with their target players. By leveraging the insights provided by these audiences, studios can minimize the risk of developing games that fail to meet player expectations and maximize the chances of creating successful, engaging games that achieve their business objectives.

Solsten’s Navigator is the most advanced audience intelligence software in the gaming industry. Our vast psychological database and competitor benchmarking empower studios like EA and Activision to make data-driven decisions that make their games stand out and captivate their target players. Schedule your demo today and experience the power of Navigator for yourself.

Quantic Foundry – All Platforms

Quantic Foundry’s Gamer Motivation Model and audience reports provide a data-driven way for game studios to validate their game concepts early in the development process. By understanding the key gaming motivations, behaviors, and demographics of their target audience, developers can assess whether a game idea is likely to resonate with the intended players. The model uses data gathered from 350,000 gamers to identify 12 key motivators that are grouped into six high-level motivation clusters.

However, some of these constructs, such as “Destruction,” “Competition and Community,” and “Design” are more accurately described as behavioral preferences, preferred gameplay styles, or gameplay tendencies rather than intrinsic motivations. Since motivations are meant to explain and understand behaviors, conflating the two can be a confusing proposition for developers.

Studios can use these player insights to cross-reference game concepts against target audience profiles and make informed decisions. They can identify which gameplay elements to emphasize or avoid based on the audience’s highest and lowest motivation scores, see if the game idea fits with the group’s most popular genres and titles, determine if the game’s design suits the players’ gaming frequency and platforms, and check for any mismatches on the motivation spectrums ranging from Solo to Community or Peaceful to Chaotic gameplay.

GameRefinery – Mobile Only

GameRefinery’s Motivational Driver framework is built on the 12 key motivators identified by Quantic Foundry. By understanding which motivations resonate with a target audience, studios can design game features and mechanics that cater to those specific motivations. However, as with Quantic Foundry, many of these key motivators are more accurately described as behavioral preferences. For example, Collecting, Decorating, Completing, Planning, and Solving — which GameRefinery categorizes as motivators — are all behaviors.

Using GameRefinery’s data, studios can compare their game idea’s motivational profile against existing games in the same genre or subgenre. This helps them identify opportunities to differentiate their game and find gaps in the market that their game could fill.

GameRefinery has also identified eight distinct player archetypes based on combinations of these motivational drivers. By determining which archetypes align with their game idea, studios can tailor their game design and marketing strategies to appeal to those specific archetypes. However, devoting significant resources to archetype-driven insights comes with challenges. There are clearly more than eight different types of people in the world. Building games based on broad strokes misses significant opportunity for differentiation.

Combined with GameRefinery’s market research tools, studios can gain insights into which player types and demographics drive the most revenue or downloads in various geographical markets. This information helps them validate whether their game idea has the potential to succeed in their target markets.

By studying the market share of games that cater to specific motivational drivers over time, studios can see where the market is and validate whether their game idea aligns with current trends. and Sensor Tower – Mobile Only

One of the best ways to validate your game concept is to see how similar titles are performing. gives you a window into the mobile landscape of video games in granular detail. The software provides insights into which titles are seeing success, which titles have which features, how each title is advertising, and where. This data can let you evaluate the potential success of game concepts by helping you understand what your competition is doing to succeed.

However, there are some issues presented by this strategy. While you may be able to see which titles are succeeding, it’s unclear why those titles are succeeding. will show you which features and mechanics each title has, but you’ll never know exactly which parts of which titles and which combination of features, art styles, etc. are driving success. While it’s helpful to position yourself within a genre, you want your games to be distinct and stand out. Therefore, basing too much of your decision making on the success of other titles risks winding up with a title yourself that is not distinct. also offers IAP revenue data, which can be analyzed from various perspectives. This data can show which genres, subgenres, and regions are generating the most revenue, as well as identify rapidly growing markets. This information can guide decisions on which game genre to develop and where to allocate localization resources.

Newzoo – Console and PC Only

Newzoo’s product suite, including the Game Health Tracker, Game Performance Monitor, and market forecast reports, offers studios a full view of the PC and console market, competition, audience preferences, and revenue potential for their game idea.

The Game Health Tracker provides market appeal and awareness data for upcoming and existing titles. Studios can compare their game ideas to these titles to see if the target audience is interested. This tool also allows competitor comparison, so studios can see how their game stacks up against others in terms of purchase funnel and brand perception. It also provides detailed audience profiles, including demographics and gaming behavior.

The Game Performance Monitor provides engagement, revenue, and viewership data for over 10,000 games across 37 markets. This data helps studios estimate the market size and predict their game’s performance. The tool also allows detailed analysis of game genres, themes, and features, helping to validate the game concept.

Newzoo’s market forecast reports add to the validation process by providing insights into market trends, growth projections, and emerging opportunities. These reports help determine if the game concept aligns with current market dynamics, has enough audience potential, and can generate the desired revenue and growth.

However, there are drawbacks to Newzoo’s offerings. One limitation to consider is that Newzoo does not offer psychological data on player motivations, preferences, and behaviors. Understanding the “why” behind player actions is key to predictably creating resonant gaming experiences. Another drawback is the static nature of Newzoo’s reports. The video game industry is highly dynamic, with new trends, technologies, and player preferences emerging quickly. While Newzoo’s reports aim to capture these changes, there is often a lag between the most recent developments and the data available in their tools, which could impact the validation of game concepts that aim to capitalize on the latest market shifts. It’s important for studios to have confidence that the data they’re betting their next business decision on is the most accurate, specific, and actionable available in the market.


Video games are massive investments. In the concept validation stage, you need to be confident that the customer data you’re betting your next business decision on is the most accurate, specific, and actionable available on the market. Among the four leading insights tools we discussed in this article — Solsten, Quantic Foundry, GameRefinery, and — Solsten emerges as the clear choice for game studios seeking a comprehensive approach to concept validation.

Solsten’s Navigator software stands out due to its vast psychological database, granular trait analysis, competitor benchmarking, market potential assessment, and AI integration. With these powerful features, Solsten empowers studios to make informed decisions about game design, themes, and mechanics that align with the values, motivations, and personalities of their target players.

While Quantic Foundry and GameRefinery offer insights based on gaming motivations and player archetypes, their frameworks often conflate motivations with behavioral preferences, which can lead to confusion and missed opportunities for differentiation. Additionally, relying on broad player archetypes may result in games that fail to capture the nuances and diversity of the gaming audience. and Newzoo, on the other hand, provides valuable information about the performance and features of existing games. However, both fall short in explaining the underlying factors that drive a game’s success, making it challenging for studios to create truly distinctive and engaging titles. Both are useful for market research, but are not a comprehensive solution.

Solsten adds a crucial layer of understanding by diving into the psychological underpinnings of user behaviors. By building unique audiences based on a game concept’s specific details, Solsten provides studios with a wealth of psychological insights and market potential data for each player persona. This allows developers to create games that genuinely resonate with their target audience while minimizing the risk of failure.

Moreover, Solsten’s competitor benchmarking feature enables studios to analyze the performance, audience, and design of competing games, identifying opportunities to differentiate their game and capture market share. This comprehensive approach to concept validation is unmatched by any other tool on the market.

For companies aiming to not just compete but lead in their domain, the combination of Newzoo or’s analytical strengths with Solsten’s psychological insights offers a comprehensive, 360-degree view of their audience. By leveraging the synergy between these two platforms, studios can gain a deep understanding of what their audience did, does, and will do, empowering them to create mobile games that stand out in a crowded market and drive long-term success.

Are you ready to see why studios like EA, Supercell, and Activision work with Solsten? Request a demo today.