If you want to give your game the largest possible audience then chances are you’ll be looking to target mobile platforms and utilise the F2P model. The potential rewards of creating the next big thing in mobile F2P are almost limitless, as proven by the runaway success of titles like Clash of Clans. Mobile F2P is a big draw for developers, but there are bigger challenges to overcome if you want to give your game a fighting chance of success. Since our ChilliConnect team spun off from Tag Games in 2015, developing a back-end solution that can face these challenges has been our main focus.
A key issue is retention and keeping players in your game, rather than one of the millions of other mobile titles out there. In most cases your players will have been acquired at a cost and depending on your marketing strategy this could be through direct user acquisition, licensing, celebrity endorsement or traditional press. Whichever way, few of your future players will come for free, so keeping players engaged is vital to your game’s success. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if someone isn’t playing they aren’t paying.
So how can you improve the retention of your games? For us, the answer lies within each individual player’s motivations. From there we can build the mechanics to address these desires – of which connected features are highly effective.
1. What is compelling me to play?
What are you challenging the player to achieve? Are you communicating this clearly? How will the player know they have achieved the objectives?
2. Can I play the way I want to?
Can the game support both short bursts of play and longer sessions? Can it find the right balance between depth of experience and immediacy ? If you can support multiple player types, you’ll find a wider audience enjoys your game.
3. Am I invested in this experience?
Consider how quickly you can get your players committed and engaged. Constructive feedback loops build positive player sentiment, but care must be taken to avoid making progress too easy. As soon as the player has invested significant time or money, they will be less likely to churn.
4. Make a fun game
This is the easy part right?
So how do these needs convert into tangible game features that can improve player retention in your game? Features that introduce community, competition and incentives are key and with ChilliConnect, these can be implemented seamlessly into the player experience.
1. Community features – building a shared experience
Social features such as chat, messaging, trading and sharing which allow players to communicate within the game add an extra dimension to the experience. Players return to share experiences and assets, set up new games/challenges within the environment you’ve created for them, create groups and build community. Moshi Monsters Village uses ChilliConnect to manage social features such as messaging, gift exchange and having players visit each other’s game worlds. Building community this way extends the game’s lifespan and sees players develop strong bonds between each other. This can in turn become as important to them as the game itself.
2. Competitive Systems – make the most of quick gameplay sessions
Introducing PvP modes within your game appeals to your players’ competitive instinct and provides an opportunity to deliver short and snappy game sessions. These in turn can punctate longer bouts of solo gaming where players focus on tasks such as collection, building and skill development. It’s a technique employed right across the industry from Clash of Clans to small independently developed titles.
3. Incentives - keep your players hanging in
It’s every developers dream to have their players fully engrossed from the outset, but in reality many games don’t reveal their true qualities until after the player has invested significant time. Push messaging can be used to re-engage players after a period of inactivity, while flexible sales structures can introduce loyalty bonuses and content incentives for first-time buyers. These features will in turn encourage your players to commit to your game in the long-term and see the best of what it has to offer. Our ChilliConnect service was used to implement such incentives into 2015’s Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor, providing increasing daily rewards for players returning to the game.
If you’d like to find out how easy it is to add these connected features to your game, our door is always open so please drop us a line at [email protected]. Otherwise, check out our tutorials and sign up for the free beta on our website.