More than two-thirds of all Americans play video games, and there are almost 3 billion gamers worldwide. This represents a huge market. However, with hundreds of thousands of games competing for those 3 billion customers, you must constantly evaluate feedback from your players and make changes to your games to stay competitive. Live-ops provide you with the flexibility and control you need to stay ahead of the competition.
Live operations are any updates, changes, or improvements you make to your game that do not require you to release a new version of the game. This customer-focused approach helps you improve metrics that drive profitability by managing the player life cycle from discovery through churn.
The longer players play your game and the more excited they are to play it, the more likely they are to make in-app purchases. Live operations deliver exciting new content to your game regularly, which increases the shelf-life by ensuring that players still have a reason to play after they have completed all of the game’s original content.
Successful live-ops implementations have helped some of the top games in the industry stay relevant and profitable for years. Because you can adjust the game on the fly, live operations help you respond to user feedback and improve the user experience while also making data-driven changes that improve your key metrics.
All of this translates into higher levels of engagement and retention. This is particularly important for free-to-play games that rely on a large, actively engaged user base for revenue through in-app purchases.
There are a variety of ways you can implement live operations in your game.
New features help prevent the churning of players who are getting tired of the existing gameplay modes. For example, if you released your game as a solo campaign only, you could add a multiplayer mode to revive interest in the game.
You can also use live-ops to add non-gameplay features, such as better support options, that help you respond to problems faster and improve the gameplay experience.
Live events are time-limited promotions, such as leader-board challenges or holiday-themed quests, that give players a reason to play your game. Live events are a good way to motivate players to log in daily and play for longer sessions. They are also an opportunity to test out new game mechanics that you may want to incorporate into the main game if players react to them positively.
Exclusive content can be anything you want to add that rewards players for playing and encourages them to keep playing. Examples include unlockable characters, cosmetic items, and levels.
Bundles combine several types of live-ops. For example, you could sell access to a live event that comes with an exclusive game mode and a unique collectible item.
Building a live operations strategy is a multi-step process.
Live operations provide you with an opportunity to study how players react to changes in your game and use that feedback to make your game better and your content stickier. There are a variety of ways you can evaluate players’ reactions to your live-ops strategies.
Read the reviews and ratings on your game listings. Review player comments on social media and community forums. Analyze your player data. Use what you learn to identify what is and is not working in your game.
Once you have determined what you need to change, identify what resources you need to make those changes. Can you complete the work on your own, or do you need to hire some help? Is it realistic to implement all the changes you want to make, or can you scale the project back and still achieve your key performance indicators?
Ensure you have enough resources to update your current games without sacrificing the development of new games. Tools can help you make this process more efficient; however, do not wait around for access to the right tools to get started.
Use what you have, even if that means you must do some of the work manually. As your game grows, you may need a dedicated live-ops team.
Use A/B testing to test your changes one at a time and then incorporate what you learn into future releases. Make sure you measure how live operations increase retention, engagement, and monetization KPIs. Focus on the changes that make the most impact for the lowest cost.
As your game grows, you may find you lack the resources to fully implement your live operations strategy. Sonamine can help you with this in a variety of ways.
Sonamine can help you brainstorm your event theme and evaluate your user data to determine the best user value proposition. We will then segment users to ensure a match between the reward and user lifecycle stage, help you write the brief, and find an open slot on your calendar for the event.
Based on your brand book and past content, our designers create optimized message artwork for your event and test it to make sure it looks good on all the platforms your game is on. We will also help you craft the optimal number of announcements and do the setup in your CRM and messaging toolset. Finally, we conduct A/B testing to evaluate the effectiveness of different artwork and messaging.
As soon as your first event goes live, Sonamine starts planning the next event. We use what we learn from each event to make the next event better.
Contact us today to get started improving your customer engagement, retention, and monetization through our professional live-ops services.
For a limited time until Dec 31, 2023, Sonamine is offering a 60 day money back guarantee to Braze customers. Come experience the ease and simplicity of the First Time Spender Nudge package and watch your conversions soar.