• D&AD logo

How to Understand the Gaming Audience

Learn techniques to understand your audience and use gamification to improve your creative communications.

Cartoon graphic of a man holding the earth in his hands with social media icons coming out of it
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    3 hours

Cultivate active and engaged audiences for your brand

While the audience sits at the heart of any successful communication, the community you build is what supercharges gaming. Often called the new social media, this medium is where people want to interact, engage, and spend their time.

On this three-week course from D&AD, you’ll explore how to build and engage a gaming audience, maintain their attention, and empower them to do good.

Better understand your audience with creative empathy

Whether you’re inserting your brand into a game, or being inspired by the power of gaming to enhance an existing experience, knowing the steps your audience will take is vital.

You’ll learn to see the power of games through the eyes of your audience; what’s their character, perspective, and identity, and how does this affect their experience?

Explore gamification and how it can improve creative communications

By deploying multiple techniques and tools, games successfully create a place where people want to spend their time.

On this course, you’ll learn how gamification can enrich your advertising and marketing comms, and how the social aspect of maintaining a community can positively impact all areas of creative communications.

Create an authentic audience experience

Creating an authentic experience starts with understanding and empathize with your audience.

In this section, you’ll move to the next step and learn how to create an authentic gaming experience based on audience motivations and player types, plus understand the importance of characters and know how to overcome the uncertainty in gaming.

Learn from experts in the field

This course is led by D&AD and features content created by a variety of experts in the field from top companies in the industry such as Massive Entertainment and Phantom.


  • Week 1

    Understanding Your Audience

    • Welcome

      Welcome to D&AD's course exploring the gamer at the heart of the gaming industry, their mission and motivations.

    • Current Context

      The gaming industry is a vast landscape of platforms, streaming, games developers, and more. Recap the current context we're in and being to dive deeper into the audiences within.

    • Empathy and Your Audience

      Whether you're designing a gaming solution or creating a brand-led engagement within a game, understanding why games are compelling is key.

    • Play

      With gaming, creating a story and experience that has the element of interactivity and play is essential. Explore the different mechanisms utilised to create playful - and playable - games.

  • Week 2

    Engage and Entertain

    • Player Types

      Explore why gamers game through the role of player types and the power and agency of players.

    • Gamification and Engagement

      Regardless of the outcome, gaming is a powerful tool to engage people, keep them interested and achieve a design goal. Explore the ways of engaging and building a community through gamification.

    • Gaming for Good

      While the principles of gaming can be employed for fun, communication, and more, they are also put to use for education, health and more, which we'll explore here.

  • Week 3

    Gameplay, Character and Uncertainty

    • Gearing for Gameplay

      Gameplay isn't always pre-prescribed. It's a combination of theme, character, experience, story, and much more. In these steps we explore some of these building blocks

    • Authentic Engagement

      With a discerning community, already skeptical about brand involvement, explore how to approach engagement with authenticity, relevance and in the right way.

    • Wrap-up

      A final reflection of this course and what you've covered

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explore who gamers are and the principles that engage them in games
  • Apply empathy and persona mapping to get under the skin of your audience
  • Assess the use of gamification in creative communications
  • Investigate how to create authentic connections with different audiences

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for creatives that want to tap into the power of gaming for their communications, marketing, and advertising.

Whether you’re a brand builder, social media executive, or business owner, this course will guide you through how to harness gaming and use immersive storytelling to create a community for your customers.

Who will you learn with?

Senior Learning & Development Manager at D&AD. I'm constantly inspired by brilliant creative ideas, and how to help others bring them to life.

Who developed the course?


Since 1962, D&AD has been inspiring a community of creative thinkers by celebrating and stimulating the finest in design and advertising.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...