It can take as long as two to five years to develop video games that players love. Developers must ensure that their games are fun for players and profitable enough to earn back the large up-front investment in time and money it takes to build them.
Effective engagement, retention, and monetization strategies are vital for achieving long-term profitability, but how can developers incorporate them without making their games more time-consuming and expensive to develop? Using the right game development tools is the answer.
There are many excellent paid and open-source tools available to help game developers produce games efficiently. These are some of the key features to look for when selecting tools to improve your engagement, monetization, and retention strategies.
Multiplayer features help boost engagement and retention by creating a sense of community, helping players make friends, and providing additional challenges and motivation to keep playing. The opportunity to socialize with friends or compete for a spot on the leaderboards can keep some players playing long after they would otherwise have churned. Additionally, playing against live players can add a level of challenge that is difficult to replicate with NPCs.
However, building out the infrastructure required to support lag-free online gaming, many simultaneous users, party networking, and chat functions can be resource-intensive if you must code it all from scratch. Additionally, a bad matchmaking system can ruin an otherwise outstanding multiplayer mode. Fortunately, you can tap into development tools that already include multiplayer functionality that you can customize for your needs, rather than having to build everything yourself.
In today’s “games as a service” environment, LiveOps is one of the most critical components of any game. This is particularly true of free-to-play games that need a steady stream of new content to keep players engaged and prevent churn.
Much like multiplayer functionality, LiveOps involves the interaction of multiple complex systems that can be resource-intensive to design and implement. Examples include eCommerce functions for monetization, content management, automation, and telemetry.
LiveOps also includes features such as achievement systems, loyalty programs, and communication with players through push notifications, emails, and message pop-ups. Reporting features help you evaluate your game’s daily performance and improve your marketing efforts through real-time segmentation. Choosing the right game development tools can help you smoothly integrate and implement these features without overwhelming your development team.
Your in-game economy is intricately tied to how well you can monetize your game in the real economy. If it is too easy for players to acquire everything they need and want by just playing the game, they won’t have any reason to buy anything from you.
However, if players feel as though they have to make purchases to enjoy your game at all, they will probably quit. You must balance your in-game economy to provide players with enough resources, and ways to spend those resources, to keep them happily playing the game, but not so many resources or sinks that players either won’t buy anything or won’t keep playing the game.
An engaging and balanced in-game economy requires hundreds or even thousands of items. Simply keeping track of all the items in your games can be a challenge, particularly in a large game with thousands or millions of active players. Additionally, you need virtual currencies, exchange rates, in-game stores, and all of the back-end functionality that helps you keep track of which items belong to which players and that makes it possible to sell items to players for real-world money.
Game development tools help you build and manage your in-game stores, track real-time transactions, offer discounts and promotions, and prevent customer service issues, such as double redemptions. These tools can also help you manage your in-game economy and seamlessly mesh it with the real-world economy so that you can effectively monetize your game without negatively impacting engagement and retention.
Another aspect of games as a service is that you need to be able to adjust the way your game looks and behaves on the fly. Look for tools that allow you to test new features before rolling them. Testing new features should not require a new build for the game. This way you can avoid disrupting gameplay by releasing a buggy or unpopular new feature.
For example, you may be rolling some different types of ad monetization such as interstitial brand ads or incentivized ads in your game. Advanced remote configuration might let you test out different combinations without having to rebuild the game client.
Additionally, select tools that incorporate features that help you personalize games for different users. The ability to adjust your game to suit the preferences of your players and to dynamically adjust gameplay can help you boost engagement, increase session duration, and prevent churn. Increased personalization also optimizes the user experience and helps your game stand out from the competition.
Whichever game development tools you use, Sonamine has the hands-on experience necessary to help you get the most out of them. We support many of the most commonly used tools, and our team can learn any unfamiliar tools you use, even if they are custom or proprietary. Contact us today to get started.
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