Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
beating. However, you can drive user interest in the superstars of your
game by allowing users to learn something from them. The brilliant
and fiendishly difficult 2009 release Demon's Souls , available only on
PlayStation 3, featured a temple in the game world where the top 50
players were awarded statues of their characters. Other players could
investigate these statues to see what types of equipment those players
used when achieving their great feats, thereby giving these more novice
players ideas on how they might best the game's challenges. This fea-
ture was part of a larger suite of innovative asynchronous multiplayer
design mechanics, many of which remain unharvested by mainstream
social games.
l• Tie replays into leaderboards. Some games have taken this concept to an
excitingly deep level, allowing players to record and share entire matches
with the rest of their social network. Games like StarCraft II and many of
the later games in the Halo series offer robust replay features. These types
of features allow players to study world-class competitive players (many of
whom are in fact “professional gamers” with agents, sponsorships, etc.) and
how their matches were resolved, much as newspapers publish notations
allowing chess fanatics to mentally recreate each move of a championship
match. Although these types of features can be technically complex—perhaps
too technically complex for integration into most social game engines
today—they still provide a ripe area of investigation for future social
network games.
7.12 Using Messages to Remind Users to Return
Sometimes even the most dedicated gamer gets distracted by the pressures of
real life or by some of the nongaming pleasures to which we alluded earlier.
A little nudge to remind these players of what they are missing can be help-
ful, especially if those messages say more than just “you've been away, so
come back,” and instead let the player know of innovations they might genu-
inely regret missing. There are any number of ways these types of messages
can be constructed. Emailing users is the traditional way of saying, “We've
missed you; please come back!” Posting to users' Facebook walls, sending a
text message to their phones, or messaging them inside another game (pro-
vided you have the legal right and the user's permission to do so) can all
have a similar effect.
As we've discussed, acquiring new users can be very expensive, so it's
worth your time and money to invest in creative ways to return lapsed users
to the fold. And it's much easier to reacquire a user than to acquire a new
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