At White Nights Helsinki 2016, Oscar Clark, Evangelist for Unity Technologies, gave a talk on measuring the player lifecycle.
He started by talking about how developers need to work on building up anticipation for their game, as the barrier to get people to adopt the technology requires a huge amount of interest.
"People lie", he said, saying that you can never be sure on who people are, and that you need to look more on what they actually do, as well as keeping an eye on your own platform and how it might be affecting players.
Failures and drop-outs
You also need to look not just at when players are dropping out, but what the actual cause is, with Clark giving the example of players dropping out after a certain level, but actually having lost interest during an earlier level.
"We don't look at the things we don't know", he added, saying that you need to be careful making assumptions about data, and need to think carefully about your data doesn't show.
"If I sell one in-app purchase, I've failed" said Clark, adding that players only pay for games when they believe they'll get some kind of value in the future, aside from simply being able to play the game through buying more energy and so on.
"We forget that there is real value in people showing what they've got", he said, pointing to super fans who want to show off how much money they've spent in a game in order to show how much they love the game.
Spread the word
On the topic of discovery, Clark said "we should still be thinking about the power of our communication", saying that while having a good user acquisition budget is useful, you're wasting money if it's your only method of getting people to download your game.
If I sell one in-app purchase, I've failed.
You then need to look at how users are learning the game, and making the first time user experience as enjoyable as possible and teaching them how to play the game without boring them or hindering them with ads and IAPs.
"I don't want people to spend too early", Clark said, saying that players should feel comfortable within the game before they spend, in order to encourage them to spend repeatedly.
Finally, Clark says that you need to accept that players will leave your game at points and there's nothing you can do about it.
Or, in his own words, "players churn, get over it."