Live ops can help increase retention and further monetise mobile games after release, without a large update.
Ivanov discussed using different types of events throughout the year to keep players engaged.
In the company’s flagship title, Imperia Online, there are six main events throughout the year, but a couple of minor events each month. These events include achievements, prizes and rewards for players and help maintain and boost retention and monetisation throughout the year.
Ivanov said that holiday events are always a good choice because people gave a lot more free time to spend on the games. When users spend more time in the game they are likely to spend more on in-app purchases too. He said that it is important to have a calendar and stick to it.
Secondly, Ivanov discussed promotions in-game, such as bundles of items or currency or other items that are monetised in the game.
For example, one-time offers that correlate with a specific event or limited time offers can build demand for specific products. Imperia utilise custom promotions for players that purchase higher quantities of in-app purchases for them to unlock even larger things.
Keep it fresh
Adding new content and features, such as new items, units or features, is another important step to maintaining successful live operations. Premium features that can provide an in-game advantage are a good monetisation boost, however, Ivanov warns not to make the game too imbalanced for players who do not spend as much as this can lead to users leaving the game.
New in-game visuals, such as changing the model of a unit, can keep an older game feeling fresh and is really noticeable from a player’s perspective. Ivanov advises not to keep an old art style for too long which can lead it to feel stale.
Community and problem management is another crucial facet to maintaining live ops as it allows the interaction with the player base to resolve issues. Ivanov states that it is very important to have a human touch behind the brand as it resonates with players.
A social media presence is also beneficial as it allows relationships to be built with the fans and you can gain insight and ideas into what they want to see. It is important to set up social media channels yourself so you can actively moderate it as opposed to fans running a channel, such as a Discord server.
An active customer support team can help players with payments, receive feedback from users, such as bugs, and allows gathering feedback from players.
Ivanov said that Imperia offer VIP support to high volume spenders in which they receive faster response times and a more personal touch. This is important as it makes the players feel valued and will keep them spending in-game.
Ivanov summarised that when developing a game always build with a thought for the future. Once the game has been released, understand what the competition is doing as to not fall behind, but also try to bring something new to the table to keep it fresh.
Developers and players each have a common goal and the communication between these parties is essential to creating a well-established community and thigh player retention.
Also speaking at PGC Digital #8, Sunday Games game lead André Noller discussed ideation for hypercasual games and how to stay ahead of the competition.
To keep up to date with all of our coverage, check out the roundups here.