A Practical Guide to Improving Player Retention

A Practical Guide to Improving Player Retention

Player retention is key for game developers looking for a continued revenue stream. By consciously considering player retention throughout your development cycles, you can create a fun, engaging game that players will enjoy returning to.  

To help you get started, our game development experts have put together this handy guide. 

Add a Good Tutorial 

First impressions are important, so make sure your game includes a concise yet comprehensive FTUE (first-time user experience) tutorial. Though you should add as many steps as necessary to ensure players have the knowledge they need to play successfully when it comes to tutorials, less is usually more. Avoid unnecessary steps, keep the tutorial as brief as possible, and consider blending this tutorial with the rest of the game to avoid a jarring transition. 

You should also consider offering players a reward for completing the tutorial (such as an exclusive item, a small amount of in-game currency, or some other benefit). By tying a reward to tutorial completion, you give players a sense of accomplishment and set players up for success by giving them the tools and knowledge they need to play with confidence. 

Give Them a Reason to Return Every Day 

One of the best things you can do to improve player retention is give players a reason to come back every day. By positioning your game as a daily recurring appointment, you can strongly encourage players to return frequently. Offering daily rewards can help, but requiring players to return daily or lose progress, forfeit items, or otherwise miss out is also incredibly effective. 

Consider requiring players to return daily to: 

  • Affect an action in your game 
  • Progress through the game 
  • Collect daily items or quests 
  • Level up their character

Leverage Push Notifications 

Encouraging or requiring players to authorize push notifications and then using push notifications to periodically nudge players is great for two reasons: A regularly scheduled notification encourages players to return at roughly the same time every day, forming a daily habit, while periodic notifications spaced out throughout the day announcing time-sensitive or otherwise non-regularly scheduled items, quests, or other activities keeps your game top of mind even when players are attending to other tasks. 

To turbocharge the effectiveness of your push notifications, structure your game so that players need to click the push notification to complete the requested action. You may also want to consider sending players push notifications when they have accrued the required resources to complete certain tasks or when new tasks or actions become available. 

Reward Players for Returning Frequently 

Offering rewards to players who click on push notifications or offering D1 (day 1) return offers are particularly effective strategies. Rewarding players periodically, particularly when they have just begun to play, creates a positive association and encourages habitual play. 

Offering rewards for completing actions creates a positive feedback loop. As such, you may also want to consider offering gifts or rewards at other critical periods (such as D3, D7, D12, D20, D30, etc.) and make those rewards perishable so that players who don’t log on during those critical periods forfeit those gifts. 

Offer a Varied Diet of Gameplay Activities 

Players enjoy choice and variety. Making your game both fun and easy to play encourages players to continue the relationship with your game. This can be achieved by offering players various gameplay options, ensuring there is always something they can do that interests them. 

One mobile game that does this well is Archer: Danger Phone. Players are able to choose between three missions to complete at any one time, giving them a varied gameplay diet without overwhelming them with options. This limited choice gives players some autonomy while also prescribing pre-determined play paths and ensuring players are always clear on what actions they need to complete next to achieve their goals.

Star Trek Fleet Command is also an excellent example of this: by always offering a new task to complete, players are encouraged to play longer and return frequently. 

Offer Live Events 

Live events are an excellent catalyst for increased play. As players advance through the game, live events can offer a chance to show off their gear and prowess, improve social connections with other players, and hone their skills. Live events that offer players the chance to play together, or play alone together, are a great way to increase social cohesion, build a community, and increase player enjoyment.  

Want to Improve Player Retention? The Beamable Team is Here to Help 

Beamable offers a few tools and tips that game developers can leverage to increase player retention. These include both commerce systems to manage your D1 and other reward offers, as well as bundles designed to pull players into accelerated gameplay. 

We also offer live event systems that allow developers to easily make regular content updates and schedule time-scoped multiplayer cooperative or competitive play, complete with unique event-specific currencies, items, and rewards. 

Are you ready to increase player retention in your game? Beamable is free to use until you launch. For more details, or to get started, please visit our website

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