How much information do you need?
I recently attempted to sign up for a game, only to find that the registration form for the game in question looked something like this:
When users first look at your game, something has to entice them – and the experience between that initial enticement and actually playing the game is what makes them sign up and play your game, instead of leaving for some other game/site.
A big part of the initial experience here is the registration form – and for most users, registering for your game is one of the last steps before they actually start playing your game – which means it’s one area where you should not be losing any prospective players.
However, no one wants to fill out a survey just so that they can try out a game – they’re registering for a game, not applying for a mortgage! Asking users for more information than is absolutely necessary in order to sign up for your game is a pointless way to increase the barrier of entry for your game, in addition to turning away anyone who feels that they should not have to give you any of their identifying information to sign up to play your game.
A lot of browsergame developers that I have talked to defend this data harvesting as being invaluable for advertisers – because by having more detailed demographic information on your users, you can attract advertiers who are looking to advertise to the demographic that is visiting your site. However, this is a shortsighted stance to take: if your users feel uneasy or frustrated by the amount of information that you require from them, it is easy enough for them to leave. And if they leave, you won’t have any demographic for advertisers – or players.
At the end of the day, I didn’t sign up for the game – and if you’re building a game that requires more information than username, password, e-mail – I won’t sign up for yours, either.