Comment & Opinion

Network effect: Looking at the impact of social in games

Gamee CEO Bozena Rezab takes a deep dive into the data from her company's gaming platform

Network effect: Looking at the impact of social in games

Bozena Rezab is CEO of Gamee.

Once, video games were thought of as disconnected, solo experience. This is not true anymore. We enjoy more experiences that are shared, and that is super-relevant for games.

With this thought, we are building Gamee as a mobile social gaming platform where the experience with friends is not an add-on, but part of the actual fun and reason to stay, making playing games more enjoyable.

As a social platform, Gamee is centred around the gamer and their persona on the platform. Success in games is a social currency and you can see success of others by following each other's profile.

Visible progress the user makes across different games makes them vested in the platform.

Checking the “social” buzzword

None of that matters if there is no one to share this with. The idea of having friends around should make the motivation to progress and compete stronger.

A lot of work and investment had to be done on the platform to make it social-first. And for that, we had to verify our assumptions and check the data to see how social contributes to user metrics and engagement, and how habits change for those who have active friends on the platform.

We looked into selected smaller markets to get a deeper penetration among young adults. In a sample of 300,000 users within one market, we have seen that the average new user has 21 friends already on Gamee.

We compared engagement of users from this market to the platform average and have seen interesting results:

  • Retention jumped up to from D1 53 per cent platform average to D1 68 per cent across cohorts. That is a big difference!
  • The number of different game titles people played on Gamee within one month jumped from 14 to 21.

We have confirmed that having friends, and an experience designed around social interactions, is a way to make a platform stronger.

The influence of influencers

The next question we asked and wanted to verify: do some users become 'influencers' for others? And how does that happen?

Only a few users reach such a high level on the platform. These are the hardcore fans that have become really good at playing our games, they oftentimes follow each other, watch each other's progress closely and jump on every new gaming challenge we launch on the platform. That is a matter of prestige.

We started looking more closely at how the activity of these gamers influences others. The chart below shows the battle activity of one power user and the impact on time spent on their followers. We have seen the same pattern across all our users.

We have seen celebrities being born this way on Gamee. Gamers that played well and were active started to gather followers over time. They gained the power to shift engagement metrics on our platform, so we started to design features to make this effect stronger.

One of these new features is 'battles', our time-limited tournaments that connect large groups of people. The most successful ones are not those started by our marketing team, but the ones that are led by our power users.

Below is an example of a power user and the growth of their followers over time. Power users gain a following by continuous and long-term activity, not one-off peaks as we know them from influencer marketing campaigns.

We have seen that social-first design on a platform makes a big difference in engagement metrics across a portfolio of games.

Social as an add-on feature cannot deliver the same results. We have learned that to achieve a network effect, social needs to be in the core of the whole experience.

Gamee is a regular at our Pocket Gamer Connects events. The next PGC show takes place in London on January 21st to 22nd. Head over to the website for details. regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.