PG Connects Recap: How to Keep Players Coming Back to Your Mobile Game


January 16, 2015


min read

I?ll be back. Not that I?ll be back, but your players will be back. That was the theme of my talk at Pocket Gamer Connects London, which was done in the fast-paced, 20x20 (20 slides for 20 seconds each) format called Pecha Kucha. Below I?ve recapped the story I told that sheds light on vital data to help you understand how to reconnect with your existing players.Every story has a beginning. The same could be said for every amazing mobile game in this industry. Developers pour hours of engineering and creative work into building the best gameplay experiences possible. But a game is nothing without players. The tricky part is facing the market and growing a community of engaged players.Most of the time, we use daily active users (DAUs) to benchmark the success of a game and the size of its community. But this metric doesn?t tell us anything about who our players are and why they play my game.

?To find the right metrics to gauge the success of a game and the size of its community, you have to look within. We have to ask ourselves, why do we play games? We play games because they transport us to worlds we can only imagine in our wildest dreams and capture our emotions. We play because of the challenges that games throw our way along with the satisfaction that follows from completing those mind-bending objectives. Because games make us feel invincible when we beat our friends. Lastly, games have us make choices that tell us more about ourselves.All of these exciting moments make our game unique and engaging. These moments generate events within games that developers need to track and analyze to know more about to make their title better. From all the data a player generates, there are three main metrics that are the basis for everything else:

  • Bootups: How many times do your players open your mobile game
  • Session length: How long a user plays a game per session
  • Transactions: Premium content that players purchase including in-app purchases such as power-ups, boosts, level packs and more

Armed with these three metrics, you can categorize your users and treat them differently. In addition, you can possibly understand the reasons why users left your game. Remember, players will always leave sooner rather than later.The good news is that the journey to fetch churned users still isn?t over. I believe there?s always a reason to come back. Why did a player leave in the first place? Was it because they got stuck for too long (levels need more polishing)? Was it because the game got repetitive? Was it because there were other games pulling the attention away from yours? By gathering player data--bootups, session length and transactions--you can determine what was missing in your game, iterate, and offer something appealing for that specific segment who left.Kabam, for instance, is performing smart retargeting by offering new content releases to players that have been inactive for some time. The options to reconnect with lost players are limitless. You can reconnect with tailored messages such as, ?We miss you, come back and finish Level 3,? or offer a power-up that will help them complete whichever level they were stuck on.In other words, developers should always use data to understand the value that connects them to their players.