Presented by Scopely 

With hundreds of thousands of mobile video games available to consumers at the tap of a button, keeping players engaged, entertained, and connected is a challenge that can keep gamemakers up at night. In fact, a recent study showed that almost 49% of users abandon an app just 24 hours after it’s initially installed. Meanwhile, player loyalty is one of the strongest indicators of a game’s success.

At Scopely, our mission is to inspire play, every day, keeping our “regulars” top of mind as we create ongoing experiences. We see that players who enjoy playing every day also want to invest in the experience, with the majority of our in-app purchase revenue coming from players who play seven days a week. So what makes a loyal player? It all hinges on cultivating a strong sense of community.

Community building is more important than ever in the world of games. Players feel encouraged to invest their time when they feel connected to the experience, meeting new people and playing alongside friends near and far. They can become unique versions of themselves in each game experience they choose, meeting different types of players around the world. Social in-game features, tournament-style play modes, and forging open lines of communication between players are just a few examples of elements that help build and maintain a thriving, positive player community.

We’ve outlined three tips players have told us they value to keep them coming back for more.

1. Build bridges

Adding social elements to your game provides a platform for players to communicate and share their positive experiences to a wider audience. These connections not only drive interactions within your own community, but also serve as a resource to introduce new players to your game. To level up your social engagement, add features such as leaderboards and in-game messaging to encourage community interaction.

Take it a step further by incorporating social media buttons that prompt players to share their high score or latest achievement across their social network. These social features give players a platform in which they can build their own meaningful friendships with like-minded people, creating a stronger sense of community and offering yet another reason to come back and keep playing.

At Scopely, cultivating deep and meaningful relationships with our players, and enabling them to do the same with one another, is extremely important to us. In our puzzle RPG game, “WWE Champions,” fans have sent over 2 million chat messages to other fans around the world, thanks to an in-game feature called Faction Chat. Faction Chat allows players to message other team members for gameplay tips and provides our users a platform to build relationships with one another.

“WWE Champions” has over 40 million players, and one who has embraced his faction shares his experience:

“…[it’s] the connections I’ve made with people that make this game more enjoyable. I enjoy finding out more about them and what they do, as you never know when someone has a skill set or connections that will come in handy when you need it one day.”

These relationships become an important part of players’ lives, turning digital connections into real-world friendships. The “WWE Champions” player continues,

 “…there [have] been a few friendships I’ve made from this game and have even met in-person. United with the common bond of love of the game and wrestling, it’s these folks who have kept me engaged with the game and have even introduced me to a few new things.”

By investing in the social and community aspects of our games, like Faction Chat, we have built an environment that helps foster player-to-player connection.These individuals are making a measurable impact on in-game performance and retention.

2. Remain consistent

As a gamemaker, one of the most valuable tools you have at your disposal is to encourage loyalty through direct engagement with players. Your player base contains both your biggest fans and sometimes harshest critics, and both are integral to fostering a thriving community and keeping a finger on the pulse of what your players want and need from you.

For this reason, it is critical to proactively ask for and respond to feedback at all touch points — including social media, forums, app reviews, and directly in-game. In order to build a deep relationship with your players, they should feel that their comments are recognized. Make a concerted effort to address the most common requests and be as transparent as possible about why you’ve chosen to make specific changes.

At Scopely, we utilize our community news feeds to deliver updates from our community managers, like this one from our mobile and PC 4x strategy title “Star Trek™ Fleet Command,” where almost 80% of players log in seven days a week and spend an average of four hours in-game every day. Consistency is key; we update our players sometimes as often as twice a week. This not only shows your community that their voice matters, but ultimately affects the retention rate of your game.

3. Create player councils

With the proliferation of channels, it can sometimes feel like you’re digging out of an avalanche of feedback. That’s where we’ve found player councils to be one of the most impactful tools for community engagement. These councils offer a consistent forum for feedback, serve as a filter for the most mission-critical updates and provide timely input on any gameplay concerns. These player councils are so impactful because they allow the community to become a part of the development process, building trust between player and gamemakers, not to mention offer more reasons to keep playing.

A “Star Trek Fleet Commandplayer and council member describes,

“We provide immediate feedback and advice on game mechanics, certain events, and we make suggestions on how to make the game better. Several suggestions that have been made by the community have been implemented […] Scopely listens to our feedback and has for over the last 2.5 – 3 years [that I’ve been playing].”

Above: “Star Trek Fleet Command” players working together to create a heart shape.

While community engagement is an imperfect science, our mission on the Scopely player experience team is to ensure all of our games have thriving digital communities, where each player has a sense of belonging. We can only do that by investing in regular, ongoing interaction with our players. While attracting new players to your games is great, fostering relationships with returning players ultimately increases user engagement and cultivates passionate advocates for years to come.

Ccommunity engagement is an imperfect science but each day our mission on the Scopely player experience team is to ensure all of our games have thriving digital communities, where each player has a sense of belonging.

Michelle Dysangco is Vice President of Player Experience at Scopely.

Scopely is one of the leading mobile-first games companies home to many award-winning experiences such as “Star Trek™ Fleet Command,” “Marvel Strike Force,” “WWE Champions,” “Yahtzee® With Buddies,” and more.

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