Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
one, as you already know how to communicate with that lapsed player.
Email reminders can be a cheap way to stay in contact and are particu-
larly useful whenever there is a new feature added to the game. Of course,
message reminders need to allow users who have truly left and no longer
care about a game to unsubscribe, or you risk the stickiness of your overall
brand, beyond any annoyance they may have with the particular game. But
don't overlook the value of a simple reminder, especially if it's accompanied
by an offer of more interesting game experiences or—even better—for some-
thing free.
Also, pay attention to ways in which you can invoke the power of a game's
social connections within the message you send. “Please come back; we miss
you!” is less powerful than “Play today and we'll give you a free gift worth $1!”
What's more powerful still is “Mike is exploring the continent on his own. Play
now and we'll give him 2 extra galleons and you 4 extra galleons and a shiny
new sword!” By offering users a valuable gift, telling them about a new feature,
or—ideally—doing both and giving them a way of helping themselves and their
friends by returning to your game, you can regain a convert (far more cheaply
than you can acquire a new user).
7.13 Only the Last Inch Matters
We've talked through ways to attract and retain users and ways to regain
users once they've stopped playing. We've evaluated various metrics that help
social game developers better understand the behaviors of their users. We've
looked at virality, why it's so powerful, and why it's significantly more difficult
to achieve on Facebook these days. We've dissected some of the more effec-
tive ways leaderboards can be designed in order to increase the stickiness of a
game, using a broad spectrum of examples from great games of the past that we
hope inspires game developers to think of new ways to build compelling scor-
ing mechanics.
In the next chapter, let's look at the heart of the monetization problem.
What models for monetizing users currently exist? Which monetization strate-
gies are most effective for the different types of games? What mechanics can be
built into games to make these models more effective?
After all, gaining users and even keeping them doesn't help your bot-
tom line, unless those users are also paying. Although there is satisfaction
in creating something that players can enjoy free of charge, most compa-
nies create games for a less noble but perhaps more practical motive. Next
we'll dive into how to generate a profit, but not until we've made a brief
stop in Vancouver to visit with an up and coming social game develop-
ment studio.
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