How Game Events Help With Engagement and Retention

May 17, 2023
May 17, 2023

There are more than 5 million video games in existence. With so many options on the market, it is easier than ever for gamers to jump from one game to another. While this abundance of choice is great for gamers, it isn’t always good for game makers. Only about 26% of people who try a game will return to play a second time, and retention rates drop to just 6% by the 30-day mark.

Making games more engaging is the key to improving retention. Incorporating game events can help.

Key Takeaways:

  • Game events are time-limited additions to existing games that provide players with something new and exciting to interact with.
  • Most games offer a mixture of recurring events and one-time, unique events to keep players engaged and draw lapsed players back into the game.
  • Games help improve engagement and retention in a variety of ways, which extends the lifespan and profitability of games.
  • Because players expect high-quality events, designers must make an effort to create unique events that enhance the player experience.
  • Sonamine can provide the resources developers need to execute events at a high level.

What Are Game Events?

Events are anything you add to your game that players can interact with for a limited time. These events help bring something new and exciting to the game, which drives up engagement and gives players a reason to log in.

You can use events with any type of game, but they are regularly featured in most free-to-play games. Seasonal events are among the most popular types, with 90% of the top 100 games featuring them. Other examples of game events include:

  • Themed characters
  • Celebrity influencers
  • Limited-time obstacles or challenges
  • IP crossovers
  • Influencer tournaments and rewards

Recruiting influencers to participate in events is growing in popularity with 40% of the top 100 games featuring influencer collaborations.

Types of In-Game Events

Many games feature daily or other types of recurring events mixed with unique one-time events. Recurring events start over or return on a set schedule and are essentially a part of the game’s regular experience. One-time events offer an opportunity for players to participate in something unique and for game developers to capitalize on the fear of missing out to get players to log in.

How Game Events Help With Engagement

Events have proven so effective for improving engagement that many developers in Korea, Japan, and China build games specifically as vehicles for event-hosting. Events improve player engagement in multiple ways.

Increases Player Excitement

Events give players something new to do, which helps keep them interested in the game. The time-limited nature of events creates a sense of excitement that players may not experience with game features they can access at any time.

Builds Community

Game events tend to draw players together. Some events are competitive, while others are cooperative. Both types tend to increase the amount of social interaction between players.

Improves Key Performance Metrics

Because more players are logging in during events, sessions per day and daily active users tend to increase. These are essential KPIs for measuring engagement and retention.

Enhances the Player Experience

Events introduce new content into games that can add to the game’s story, introduce new mechanics or features, and improve the overall replayability of the game. Developers can use events to accomplish specific goals, such as offering returning player events to reacclimate players who haven’t played in a while to the game’s environment.

Creates Virtuous Cycles

Events get players interested in playing the game again. Once players participate in an event, they become interested in participating in the next event, which can create a virtuous cycle that keeps users playing from event to event.

How Game Events Improve Retention

Events boost retention by encouraging active players to stay active and by getting lapsed players to log back into the game. Developers can fill retention gaps by identifying points where players are churning and introducing events timed and tailored to address the pain points that cause players to churn. The additional content that events introduce extends the life of the game and encourages players to keep playing by doling out rewards that players must play the game to take advantage of.

Tips for Designing Successful Game Events

Everyone is doing events, so you can’t get away with incorporating low-effort events. These tips can help you ensure that your events have the impact you want.

Be Creative

Events are no longer bonus content. Players expect high-quality events, and if they don’t get them, they may move on to a competitor. Avoid introducing superficial events.

Integrate events into the main gameplay experience and don’t run the same ones all the time. Consider incorporating humor or references to recent events. Give players a genuine reason to get excited to log in for your next event.

Give Players What They Want

Events should be a fun experience, but they also need to offer something tangible players can take with them into the main game. This could be a special event item, a new skill, a profile badge, an achievement, or access to a new location in the game. You don’t have to make events a cakewalk, but skew things in the player’s favor so that most players will walk away with a reward of some kind.

Build Your Schedule Around Holidays and Other Occasions

Holidays are one of the most popular times to run themed events. Make sure you schedule events around major holidays. You may also want to hold game events that coincide with real-world events, such as the anniversary of your game’s launch date. Make it easy for players to find out when events are happening.

Host Events Frequently and Chain Them Together

Many of the top games run events all the time, and some may host more than one event simultaneously. Aim to include an event at least once per month. Make the rewards players receive in each event relevant in the next one so players have the motivation to keep playing from one event to the next.

Graph that demonstrates the ideal game events cadence

Use Events To Introduce New Features

Events are a great opportunity to test out new features, mechanics, and in-game purchases before you release them into the main game. This allows you to test and tweak things before everyone has access.

Graph representing live game events management cycle

How Sonamine Can Help With Your Game Events

Running frequent, high-quality events requires a significant investment in time and other resources. This can be difficult for small teams to execute well. Sonamine can help you design, schedule, and run your events. We also provide event analysis and ongoing tweaks, so that your events continuously get better. Contact us today to get started.

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