A successful game is recognised by the way it enjoys popularity among players coming back to the game time and again. How can you make your players return to the game frequently? How can you make them feel addicted to your game? Undoubtedly, you need to have a solid retention strategy for your game to achieve this.
Let us introduce here some of the most tested and tried rules of boosting retention that a game development company should take care of.
1. You are not targeting the right market
The first principle that a game developer should keep in mind is to target the right audience and market. For example, you can target teen audience or say, a female game playing audience aged beyond 30 years. Now, you need to consider how many similar games are there presently in the market for the respective audience group.
You need to build games only with the respective target audience age and other demographic aspects in mind. For instance, if you are going to unleash a puzzle game for toddlers and there are plenty of such games already in the market for that audience, your chances of getting over the top of competition is very low.
The bottom line is simple. You need to develop games with a precise target audience market in mind that can find your game app lucrative. You still have competition when unleashing for a less competitive niche, but you can make your presence felt and reap benefits with such feeble competition.
2. Creating a stunning and lasting impression
The key to retaining players in a game is to make them come back to the game frequently. This requires impressing them at the first gameplay and maintaining that throughout the game playing experience. According to 2015 figures published by Localytics, close to 60% of app users including game players just become inactive within the first month of the use.
Often a stunning first experience with the game prevents a game app from losing on player engagement. Ensure intuitive game learning that requires the least time to get started. Secondly, try to give them a sense of achievement as early as possible and make them feel what rich reserve of game playing experience you have in store for future sessions.
3. Distribute the difficulty level and challenges evenly
Just consider playing a game in which you just get knocked out at the very first game playing session and find it hard to get to the next level in spite of several efforts. Moreover, you find yourself in a clueless position without nobody to help you really getting over the challenges and enjoy the game by securing some small feats. In most such cases you stop playing such games, and after a few dumb efforts, you are likely to dump it into oblivion or delete it.
Just consider a different scenario when playing a game you win every time. When you realise winning every level of a game is practically effortless and does not involve any real challenge, you are likely to consider it dull, and you can stop playing such childish crap.
To prevent such pulling factors, you need to balance your game playing experience with the appropriate acceleration of challenges and difficulties from one level to another. The point is to train the players with the game playing skills by gradually accelerating challenges from one level to another. With properly balanced levels players keep enjoying the game while securing a sense of achievement every time they pass on to the next level.
4. Session time not stretching too far
We modern human beings continuously live within a whirlwind of activities, and this gives us an impression that we always have too many things left to do. Naturally, mobile games just grab our attention temporarily between activities. This is why we are likely to engage in games for a short stint instead of games that require long sessions of play lasting for hours.
Typically, games with few minutes of session length get more steady engagement than games with long session length. Only experienced players can cope up with extended hours of gameplay, and they are a minority engaged mostly with big titles while the majority of games is mostly having the engagement of casual game players.
5. Take care of bugs and test early
Yes, these days even big titles in mobile games come with a lot of bugs. Bugs became a plague now for the vast majority of games including most successful and little-heard games. But, whenever bugs undermine the user experience it can lose game players and engagement terribly. But since every bug cannot be found by the developers and at later stage addressing them becomes problematic, a mobile game development company needs to make it tested from the early stage.
6. Boost engagement with rewards and recognition
Most players leave a game and fell less impetus to return to the game because of game fatigue. Game fatigue mostly develops when the player misses the sense of achievement and does not get enough impetus with in-game rewards and recognition. On the other hand, recognising every small in-game achievement with some kind of reward or title can deliver immense satisfaction for the players to return to stay engaged.
7. Utilise push notifications effectively
Push notification is one of the most powerful tools to remain in touch with the players and it helps a game to push players for taking certain steps that can position a game better. From reminding players about the pending game move to notifying players about new features to telling players about their fellow player’s arrival, notifications often can boost player engagement more meaningfully.
But the benefit of keeping in constant touch with the players apart, push notifications can also undermine the user experience terribly if you push it really extra hard. Send notifications only when you have something relevant and important to tell for the player.
8. Social gaming
These days most games give you option to invite players from your social contacts. It is one of the most effective ways to push more downloads and acquisition. But it is also one of the most effective ways to boost player engagement. Over time social game playing and other tools like in-game chat options and friend list can help create a community of game players. Such community gaming creates new ways to feel the heat of competition and this results in higher retention and engagement for the game players.
The key to retaining game players for most games remained the same, and it is continuous engagement, frequent gaming sessions and smooth gaming experience with appropriate challenges and befitting rewards. If you can ensure these ground rules for your game, your retention is likely to be higher.