The Impact of Tutorials on Games of Varying Complexity
One of the key challenges of video game design is teaching new players how to play. Although game developers frequently use tutorials to teach game mechanics, little is known about how tutorials affect game learnability and player engagement. Seeking to estimate this value, we implemented eight tutorial designs in three video games of varying complexity and evaluated their effects on player engagement and retention. The results of our multivariate study of over 45,000 players show that the usefulness of tutorials depends greatly on game complexity. Although tutorials increased play time by as much as 29\% in the most complex game, they did not significantly improve player engagement in the two simpler games. Our results suggest that investment in tutorials may not be justified for games with mechanics that can be discovered through experimentation.