Retention: Ideas and solutions to keep players coming back to your game
Findings In the Unity 2021 Gaming Report show engagement levels for games on all platforms rose during 2020. Understandably, with COVID-19 resulting in lockdowns and therefore more indoor and downtime, people turned to games to pass the time.
If developers are able to create lasting retention off the back of this trend, and keep players coming back for more, they will have unlocked a significant source of revenue to fund their studios. Having a game that resonates isn’t enough to drive retention – maintaining player motivation, providing exceptional player experience, and ultimately loyalty are challenges that require creative actions.
The latest resource for finding everything you need to build your vision in Unity is the Verified Solutions Partners program. Here, Unity-endorsed third-party solutions are thoughtfully selected to enhance the value of core Unity capabilities. This program highlights third-party solutions that enhance core Unity capabilities, giving technical verification that ensures full compatibility.
In this blog, we’ll run you through a mixture of solutions both from the Verified Solutions Partners program and throughout the rest of the Unity ecosystem that will help you drive retention and player engagement.
Give your players a voice in your game
When players can communicate, they stay in your game longer. With in-game voice and text chat, you can create more engaging gameplay experiences, allowing players to socialize or coordinate plays, and build a community around your game. A strong, reliable chat function creates great experiences for your players – ultimately increasing their Lifetime Value to your game.
Vivox is voice and text chat solution that’s engine agnostic and it’s used by studios of all sizes to manage comms on PC, mobile or console.
Game changing customer support
Modern games are complex and even a well tested game will need troubleshooting and player support. Having in-app, real-time customer service is more important than ever to get players the help they need on their schedule, maintaining that engagement, and resolving the issues before players post low ratings out of frustration.
When players are pulled out of your app to get support, they are more likely to churn. Studios, publishers and developers are also increasingly seeing the trend of players expecting support as a part of their game experience. While in-app customer support is becoming table-stakes, real-time, frictionless support can really set you apart.
Helpshift is a powerful out-of-the-box solution offering friction-less player support. It’s fully integrated into a game to deliver support that feels like part of the overall experience.
Helpshift offers automated player support as well as an agent dashboard to equip customer service agents. Typically, Helpshift bots can solve over 85% of player issues, meaning the player gets back to playing immediately.
In rarer cases where a customer service agent is needed to resolve the issue, Helpshift frees the player to go back to playing and informs them right on their mobile device when a resolution is available. Helpshift is the latest Verified Solutions partner to join the Unity ecosystem.
Give viewers a stake in the game
Gamers want to feel engaged and connected with other players, whether spectating or playing themselves. Creating an interactive game experience where spectators can participate in the outcome of the game is one way to keep players coming back.
Rival Peak, an audience-driven, quasi-reality game show streamed on Facebook, is one such example. Created by Genvid, this interactive game show allows audiences to shape every decision of the show’s characters, and this translated to high audience stickiness.
After 6 weeks of the show, Facebook users consumed over 30 million minutes of Rival Peak, and viewers have generated over 400 million points to keep their favorite characters in the game show.
Fresh content to keep users coming back
The most successful games these days are ones frequently updated with seasonal content. Regular content refresh not only prevents game stagnation and boredom, it also builds anticipation amongst players’ and keeps them vested in coming back to see what’s new.
The upside is clear, but the heavy lift of technical implementation and increasing app storage size tends to outweigh retention benefits. One solution is to move assets to the cloud and deploy 3D content in AR. Storing assets in the cloud keeps app sizes small, and players can get the fastest download of new content without giving up precious storage space.
EchoAR is a cloud platform solution with tools and network infrastructure that can compress and convert 3D content to AR and auto-generate webAR links.
It also comes with game analytics and player engagement monitoring, giving you data on well-performed 3D assets, most popular content, and ways to customize UX/UI across locations – in short, actionable data to help you keep your players playing longer. EchoAR offers a Unity-compatible SDK and is a Verified Solutions Partner.
Even if your game does not utilize AR, it is still important to use cloud storage in order to keep app sizes small and loading times quick.
With Cloud Content Delivery (CCD), you can deploy the right content to the right player at the right time, without worrying about building additional back-end infrastructure. Learn more about how CCD combines cloud storage, content management, and a trusted content delivery network here.
Bring the virtual to the physical world
Another creative way to engage with players and keep them coming back is to allow them to bring the virtual into the physical world – for example, you can enable players to make objects and characters from their favorite games. If players feel related to the game or have a sense of affinity to the game’s characters or objects, they’re more likely to play the game for a longer period of time.
Mixed Dimensions enables players to create full color, high resolution 3D prints of their very own avatars or items from your game. It’s compatible with PC, mobile and console titles and Mixed Dimensions is also a Verified Solutions Partner.
Optimize your first-time user experience (FTUE)
Your players’ FTUE is where your game needs to shine its brightest. Even the best games on the market lose the majority of their players after session one, so you need to surface the game’s best features right at the beginning and get people invested.
Some late-game players (that have goals and incentives to stay) will stick out a long cutscene or boring task, but newbies have no such loyalty. Day one is when your players are simultaneously at their most intrigued and most easily confused, so perfecting that FTUE is absolutely essential.
A great way to analyze your FTUE – as well as other specific processes and user flows – is to use funnels in deltaDNA. This feature makes it easy to hone in on specific issues and pinch points by seeing precisely where users are dropping off. Learn more in this how-to guide.
Keeping players engaged with your game and coming back for more is a persistent challenge, but one that can be solved. You can test out creative ways to engage, leverage technology to test and uncover player insights, and iterate to find that magical mix of content, player experience and support that will deliver long-term engagement results.