Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
This way, when users run out of turns in a particular day, or just get tired of
playing one particular game, they are gently rerouted to another product by the
same developer, that conveniently pays into the same coffers. This technique also
allows users who aren't interested in a particular game that they've been invited
to join to easily transition over to another game that might be more to their lik-
ing, helping make sure that a game company doesn't lose the viral effect of newly
attracted users. At the same time, it increases the brand recognition of a particular
game developer, making it that much easier to attract new users to yet-to-be cre-
ated products, and all without spending extra dollars on advertising.
7.9 How to Retain Users
Once you've brought users into your funnel, how do you make sure they don't
leave, at least until they've gone for many, many trips around the monetization
merry-go-round?
Keeping users playing your game and coming back to see your new products
are what we mean when we talk about “stickiness.” Metrics like DAU and MAU
help measure success in this arena; ideally, a social game's users will come
back many times throughout a single day, if not remain “on” all the time. After
all, if they're there and playing, they are enjoying the game and there's at least
a chance of them paying. The top-rated Facebook games can provide great les-
sons here (as can some of the most played games on other platforms). Indeed,
there's almost no way to become a great social game creator without carefully
studying the most addictive games in the business. FarmVille , Call of Duty ,
World of Warcraft , Bejeweled , and others often spoken of in hushed, reverent
tones due to their incredible user numbers all tend to have game mechanics
that lead to a great deal of stickiness, keep users coming back every day, and
make sure those users talk about the game to their friends.
To be properly sticky, games need to be designed in such a way that users
want to return very regularly. When thinking about the game design of almost
any game, you should ask yourself, “What makes this a game that people will
forsake every other pleasure in life to come back to, at least for a few min-
utes every day?” This problem may sound daunting, but it is truly the task that
awaits you. A designer friend of mine used to say, “If your game isn't more
fun than getting a blowjob, then it's not good enough.” Although his sentiment
may be crass, it's also fairly accurate—assume that your users can engage in
any pleasurable distraction known to mankind. What will make them turn their
attention away from doing that to play your game?
Here are a few motivations which can engage players effectively, if used
properly:
l Leaderboards and high-score mechanics continue to be a tried-and-true player
engagement feature. We'll study these more carefully in a moment, as they
can be applied to almost any game on almost any social network. Players
are encouraged to compete with their friends and can even be motivated to
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