You sometimes wish you could meet the people who play your game personally?
Well, you can get a step closer to that by identifying your most common player personas.
Player personas are profiles that represent different types of players who engage with mobile games. Game developers and marketers use them to understand their target audience better and create tailored experiences.
You can create these profiles based on different factors such as demographics, interests, motivations, or spending habits.
In this article, we’ll focus on what we believe to be a critical factor – player personas based on their motivation to play mobile games.
Let’s get started!
9 Common Player Personas by Motivation
People play games for different reasons.
Every time a player launches a mobile game, they do so because they are motivated by something.
Sometimes, they do it because they want to unwind and “kill” some time. In different instances, they take games more seriously and regularly play them to achieve certain goals.
As a game developer or marketer, you should be able to understand what drives different people to spend time on your game.
To help you out with this, we’re introducing you to the nine most common player personas, their favorite mobile game genres, and in-game features.
The Achievers are primarily focused on skill development and mastery, always trying to find ways to hone their skills and push their limits.
These players are extremely goal-oriented. For example, they aim to reach certain levels or challenge achievements. They are aware that this requires time and dedication, so they typically play games for longer periods of time.
Finally, since they take so much pride in their accomplishments and abilities, they crave recognition and validation, not only from the game itself but also from their fellow players.
Favorite genres: RPG, Strategy, Sports, Puzzle
Top features: Levels, ranks, milestone rewards, leaderboards
Explorers are player personas who have an innate curiosity and a thirst for discovery. These players enjoy snooping around and researching everything a game has to offer.
They usually do this because they are hoping to find and collect something valuable that other players are unaware of. For example, extra equipment, resources, or upgrades.
This type of player will interact with all aspects of a game, not just the core gameplay. Because of this, they prefer games that have plenty of content, always providing something new to discover and collect.
Favorite genres: Open-world RPGs, Adventure
Top features: Diverse environments, hidden collectibles, side quests, regular content updates
Killers are player personas that thrive in beating the competition, driven by a strong psychological survival instinct. They enjoy the feeling of power that comes from outsmarting, outmaneuvering, or outlasting other players.
Whether they are playing against friends, acquaintances, or completely random opponents, the Killers seek to assert dominance and prove their superiority.
Most importantly, these players are usually very valuable to the developer. Thanks to their desire to prove their worth over and over again, they come back to play on a regular basis.
To cater to the needs of this common player persona, game developers are including competitive features in all kinds of games – from casual to mid-core.
Favorite genres: Shooters, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), Strategy, Racing
Top features: PvP modes, leaderboards, tournaments, skill-based matchmaking
4. Adrenaline Junkie
These players don’t care for slow-paced games and strategic thinking – they crave immediate action.
Adrenaline Junkies play games to get transported to new worlds full of action and excitement. They are drawn to dynamic, fast-paced games that deliver a rush of adrenaline and suspense.
Among Adrenaline Junkies, you will find a lot of “Gamblers”. These are the players who enjoy activities like spinning a wheel or rolling dice, embracing the thrill that stems from the element of chance.
Favorite genres: Casino, Action, Arcade
Top features: Fast-paced gameplay, instant rewards, thrilling audio and visuals, gambling features
5. Social Butterfly
People are social creatures. Therefore, it’s not surprising that many players find social interactions essential to their gaming experiences.
Social Butterflies enjoy games that allow them to communicate, team up or play against other players. However, compared to “Killers”, Social Butterflies are less focused on winning. These players enjoy the process and interactions that may or may not result in a victory.
Interestingly, many of these players are introverts that find it easier to communicate in games than in real life.
Social Butterflies are a numerous group. For this reason, more and more developers are recognizing the need to introduce social features to their games. According to data.ai, ⅔ of top mobile games have at least one social feature.
Favorite genres: MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games)
Top features: Clans, guilds, teams, PvP modes, chat
Strategists are players who enjoy strategic thinking, planning, and gameplay optimization. They prefer games with long-term progression systems that reward their strategic decision-making.
These players excel in managing in-game resources such as currencies, items, or equipment. They have an economic mindset, distributing limited resources efficiently to achieve their goals.
Things that Strategists want from games can usually be found in games with complex gameplay and many layers of depth. In most cases, such games additionally provide competitive or co-op gameplay, which these players also like.
Favorite genres: RTS (real-time strategy), TBS (turn-based strategy), Tactical RPGs
Top features: Resource management, base building, long-term progression
7. Zen Gamer
Zen gamers are people who enjoy the calming and soothing aspects of gaming.
In a stressful world, games can provide us with a safe space to relax and unwind. For example, when people are commuting home from work after a long day, a lot of them launch a relaxing game to relieve stress.
Similar to rewatching a beloved comfort show, playing relaxing games offers a form of escapism and a chance to disconnect from the demands of everyday life.
However, it is important to note that Zen gamers don’t only play relaxing games – they also enjoy other types of games. However, at specific times when they simply want to play and relax, they turn to games that can deliver this experience.
Favorite genres: Simulation, Puzzle, Casual
Top features: Story modes, calming visuals and music, repetitive tasks
This type of player likes games in which they can express themselves and their personal taste through gameplay.
Expressionists are attracted to games that provide them with some type of creative outlet. For example, they like games that contain decorating, designing, or storytelling features.
However, this doesn’t mean they only play decoration and design games. Expressionists play all sorts of games – they just focus more on customization features. For example, if they play an RPG game, they will pay more attention to skins and avatars than the average player.
Favorite genres: Design, Simulation, Lifestyle, Puzzle, Casual, RPG
Top features: Character customization, decoration meta, sharing options
Thinkers are player personas who like games that provide mental stimulation and cognitive challenges. They take pleasure in dealing with puzzles, riddles, brainteasers, and similar tasks that require problem-solving skills.
When a Thinker successfully solves a problem by using their intellect, this gives them a strong sense of accomplishment.
It’s important to understand the distinction between Strategists and Thinkers. While Strategists prefer mid-core games, Thinkers lean towards casual titles that allow them to play for shorter periods of time. They usually play games as a form of leisure and look for games that offer them a quick mental challenge while they unwind.
Favorite genres: Puzzle, Trivia
Top features: Brain teasers, riddles, wordplay, memory exercises
Final Thoughts on Player Personas in Mobile Games
Have you identified the different player personas in your game?
Typically, a single game attracts at least three core user personas.
However, remember that an individual can fit into multiple player personas. For example, they can have a harsh competitive side and a desire for expressionism.
Your goal is to identify which of these user types are most likely to play your game and provide them with features that will satisfy their needs.
Get the Most Out of Your Player Personas
Different player personas call for different UA, retention, and monetization methods. If you feel like you could use some expert help with this, we’re here to help.