Chartboost University: Building Sustainable Games
On Monday, TinyCo Senior Lead Producer Chelsea Howe spoke to our Chartboost University developers on how to build sustainable games: those titles that get played, engage users, and retain players for both the short and long term. Check out Chelsea’s lecture below!
Chelsea introduces us to four key components that help extend the lifecycle of mobile games and keep them “sustainable”: See it, Get it, Need it, Keep it. “Any game that has remained on the top charts has each of these components,” Chelsea says.
See It. Getting people want to share the experience of playing your game in some way. If you can have some sort of visibility or social/viral feature built into your app, then every single players becomes a potential source of PR, to help spread word-of-mouth news about your game. Viral features also lower the cost per user – organic users don’t cost anything, which provides you a much better chance of being profitable overall. Chelsea shares three different approaches to viral features: Social Surfacing / Gating, Cross-Promotion, and Community.
Get It. Getting people to love your game as fast as possible. People are easily distracted, and with games, we are waiting to be shown that the game is fun, Chelsea says. Blissful productivity mechanics can help achieve this – a satisfying way to interact with the game and the device. She also cautions that players should never have to pay for the core loop in a F2P game – if you want to monetize that then you should go premium.
Need it. These are the open loop and appointment mechanics that increase engagement and retention. Open loop mechanics are when there is some sort of cycle and one part of the cycle takes time or money that the player does not currently have. Appointment mechanics are when the player performs an action and a timer appears, which prevent the player from moving forward for a certain period of time. Push Notifications and Alerts that are personalized and actionable, and a regular Content Cadence that promises fresh new in-game material also fall under this category.
Keep it. This is the reason why players will want to play your game for months and years on end. The longer people play, the more people will be willing to pay. She discusses the importance of developing communities and gives her take on elder game mechanics.