GameDev Protips: How To Boost Player Loyalty

Customer loyalty, like player retention, is vital for any industry to prosper and to remain relevant. In this gaming industry, specifically, every game designer is fighting for the most crucial element: time. We want people to spend their “free time” learning, playing and enjoying our games. What this amounts to is people playing games on their commute, lunch break and in-between meals at home. Thus the need to be relevant has never been more real and harder to achieve.

If you think about it, a game’s success can be broken down into three components. Getting people to know about your game, getting people to play your game, and finally, getting people to remember your game.

The satisfaction of a game is not solely about finishing a game from beginning to end. It is about a consistent reward system that allows a player to progress gradually through a game. At any point in time, a player can choose to download or purchase another game and abandon your game entirely. The threat of another game distracting players away from your game is omnipresent. That’s why your introduction is crucial. The first 15 minutes will decide the player’s impression of your game. It needs to be fast, short and immensely clear. All the rules need to be laid out. Your introduction needs to be as engaging. Gameplay should be continually rewarding both intrinsically and extrinsically.

All of this probably sounds like common sense, but it gets complicated. With so many shiny apps on the market, it can be hard to understand how and why players choose and stick with a certain game in the first place. Plus, attention spans are at an all-time low with the emergence of mobile games. What might be hot one minute is old news the next.

Important Takeaways: The lifespan of most games on the market are extremely short. If you’re uncertain on ways to stay relevant or you’re looking to better captivate your audience go back to the data and look at your player’s behaviors. Numbers don’t lie. Use data. Set your game up to send valuable metrics regarding player behavior and playtime before they get bored. This way you can create personalized game experiences that reflect on actual data — boosting player loyalty by figuring out when and how players are dropping out of the game and fixing the issues. If you’re unsure of how to do this the technical way, go old school. Reach out to communities and get them to play your game. Then, ask them key questions about every minute detail of the gameplay experience. The more feedback you get, the more polished your game will ultimately become.