Just like any other business, game development works by a certain set of rules. One of these universal rules is this: loyal clients spend more, and it costs much less to keep them than attract new customers.
In other words, a loyal audience is the key factor that drives the monetization for any game. New players are great, but less likely to spend money on in-app purchases than returning users. When they have abandoned your game for something newer and shinier that caught their interest, your loyal players will stay and keep bringing you steady profit.
This leads to the question: how do you raise gamer loyalty? There are no quick tricks and no special tools for free game development that can fix everything. Gamer loyalty needs to be earned. Never fear: we have some tips on how you can do it.
Increasing Loyalty In Game Development
There are two ways you can go about increasing gamers’ loyalty during game development. Let’s analyze each of them in detail.
These strategies could also be called internal. Simply put, your players need an incentive to return to the game as often as possible, preferably every day. To motivate them, you can implement various reward systems. Here are some of the possible options:
- Streak rewards. The player gets a reward for visiting the game N days in a row. These rewards can be different: resources, lives, in-game currency, etc. It’s best if they increase every day, and skipping one day leads to losing the entire progress. This way, the players will have a reason to visit the game every day.
- Game events and challenges. Give the players the possibility to compete with each other, and they will go back to the game more often. These could be special events dedicated to holidays, or tournaments that you run regularly. The actual reward is less important than the sense of achievement the player gets after completing special tasks or defeating opponents.
- New content. Adding more content on a regular basis will ensure that your most loyal gamers won’t get bored.
- VIP accounts. If your game belongs to the hardcore or midcore genres, you may want to offer your audience elite accounts. After purchasing such an account, the gamers will get access to some attractive benefits: more health/lives, increased XP, special equipment, etc. And, obviously, once you’ve spent money on something you’ll want to get the most out of it.
Research shows that game development companies reach the best results when reward systems in their games vary. So feel free to implement several strategies from the list and alternate them.
Communication-based game development
No matter how attractive your game development is, you won’t get very far if your communication with the audience is lacking. Here are some important things you need to take care of:
- Social media presence. These days, every business has a Facebook and/or Instagram page. You need a good social media/community manager who will post news about game updates, involve the audience in a dialogue and respond to their questions. The people want to be heard, so you need to show them that you are listening.
- Good support team. There is no such thing as a perfect game design. No matter how many times you’ve tested every aspect of your game, there will be some bugs. There will be more bugs after game updates. And there will be players reporting them. It’s your responsibility to get the issues fixed as quickly as possible, and you will gain more respect if your team responds to reports. A simple “Thank you for reporting the bug, we are already working on it” can be enough to mollify the annoyed gamer.
- Feedback monitoring. Every game and every product gets a certain amount of negative feedback – that’s normal. However, if more than 15% of reviews for your game on Google Play or App Store are negative, people will start paying attention. They will also notice if your representatives don’t respond to criticism, so make sure someone on your side is there answering comments. And do it wisely: many companies have suffered PR disasters for their tactless reaction to constructive criticism.
To sum up, you need to not only listen to your audience, but also show them that you are listening. Both by responding and by taking care of the issues they report.
There are also some things you can do that unite reward-based strategies with communication-based ones.
- Rewards for patience. If your game has had a bug, or had to go on prolonged maintenance, offer your gamers some kind of a reward for their patience. This will show the audience that you care about their gaming experience, and earn you a lot of figurative bonus points.
- Special rewards for social media followers. Implement a system of rewards for clicking a link on your social media page that takes the player to the game. Post these links regularly, e.g. once a day or once a week. This will accomplish two goals at once: urge more players to follow your page, and motivate the current followers to revisit the game regularly.
Let’s sum up the main things you need to do to increase gamer loyalty in game development:
- Hire a good social media manager.
- Have a fast and responsive support team.
- Always be open to dialogue with your players.
- Fix all issues promptly.
- Implement a system of in-game rewards.
- Run events and tournaments.
- Add new content on a regular basis.
Sounds overwhelming? And sometimes it is, but things will get easier once you get the ball rolling. A lot of it depends on the tech aspect: the fewer bugs people find in your game, the less reason they have to be dissatisfied, the less headache for everyone involved.
If you outsource game development to Melior Games, you can rest assured that the technical issues will be taken care of quickly and efficiently. The rest is on you. Treat your gamers the way you would treat customers, and their loyalty will grow.
If you have some more questions in game development field, feel free to reach out to us to discuss your project.