Top LiveOps Strategies for Free-To-Play Mobile Games
Anyone who’s ever developed a mobile game knows that the game’s launch is only the beginning. After that, the developer team face the near-constant task of updates, troubleshooting, marketing, customer engagement, and LiveOps. LiveOps in particular can determine the longevity of a mobile game, and for F2P (free-to-play) games especially they can offer a whole new dimension for returns. Mobile games need to be constantly tweaked and improved upon to appeal to a changing user base. Here are a few of our top picks for LiveOps strategies for your F2P mobile game.
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LiveOps Strategies for Offers and Promotions
When it comes to F2P games, boosting sales tends to be the #1 goal for LiveOps. This means coming up with offers and promotions for your players that will enhance their experience, outside of standard gameplay. Send players notifications to alert them of new cosmetic add-ons in your shop – if they’re a lapsed player, or a player who rarely spends money, try to woo them back with a 10% discount code. Try to upsell them on currency conversions by informing them of new levels, or extra treasure chests that they can unlock if they buy larger amounts of game currency.
Make sure you convey in your notifications that these add-on purchases, while not necessary for gameplay, offer a premium gaming experience. This could be in terms of aesthetics, character strength or ability, extra time in-game, exclusive levels or puzzles, and so on.
LiveOps for Hosting Community Events
The value LiveOps strategies bring to your mobile game doesn’t always have to be monetary. Limited time events can be an effective way of boosting player engagement, and getting your user base excited. This is a great opportunity to get creative. Ideas for events could include AMAs or interviews with members of the team. Or you could hold a community-wide tournament, where the winners receive some great reward or renown. You could showcase new additions to the wardrobe or armory section of the game. Or host a community-wide game of Assassins, where all players have to hunt down a certain character (who would be played by a member of the team) and battle them.
When hosting events, it’s crucial to build a LiveOps events calendar to track KPIs, both actual and those projected for the future. For example, if you tie a particular event to growth rate or user retention, you can track the event to whether you’re meeting your goals. This could be achieved through seasonal events or storylines that players can unlock only during certain times of the year.
Community Management LiveOps
A mobile game isn’t just an isolated app – between its developing team, community, and partner apps, it becomes an entire ecosystem over its lifespan. Having strong LiveOps strategies for community management is crucial if you want to retain a wide user base. In this sense, LiveOps can encompass customer support, social media interactions, and any other instance where there is two-way interaction between devs and gamers.
This can mean getting out news of events or updates. For example, if you’re offering bounties for gamers who give feedback or report glitches. In this case, push notifications are the perfect, real-time way of communicating this type of information to those users most likely to answer the call to arms.
Use a push notification campaign to hype and raise excitement for a community event weeks ahead of time. Direct your community to the game’s social media pages and forums so they can interact with each other and do your marketing work for you. Similarly, LiveOps can be a fast way of clamping down on toxic members of the community and neutralizing their bad influence.
Keep your players engaged and informed of new content. New content can be a tricky area, and it’s key to make sure you’re rolling out high-quality scripts, narratives, and dialogue. Make sure you have enough to keep your world immersive for all players, but that it’s not costing you more to write and implement than the value it brings in. It’s all a balancing act in this case – new content should be unique and exciting, but also sustainable.
Keep gamers abreast of new content so they’re not missing out on a moment by sending them push notifications. Notifications are an especially versatile form of LiveOps, and with quality writing and rich content (deep links, embedded videos and GIFs, etc.) they can act as an extension of the game itself. Rather than a standard alert of “Your achievements have unlocked Level 19… come check it out,” try getting into the spirit of the game:
LiveOps Strategies for Marketing and Cross-Promotion
LiveOps are the ideal mechanism for marketing and promoting your app, across every stage of the marketing funnel. They can be part of your user acquisition campaign: alert gamers in a push notification that if they recruit five new members to their raiding party, they will get a free upgrade on a premium suit of armor. Draw in lapsed users with VIP access to an exclusive new side quest. Cross-promote another app by tethering certain levels or areas of the game to whether a user has downloaded and installed your partner app.
If your gamers aren’t entirely onboard, you can also send them maps or teaser trailers of what they’re missing in this exclusive levels. It’s important to remember to tailor your LiveOps according to player level. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being gouged. You need to give players a chance to get emotionally invested in your game before asking them to kick that investment up a notch.
LiveOps are the lifeline of F2P games, and are necessary if you want your mobile game to stay relevant and profitable over the long-term. Push notifications are a crucial contributor to LiveOps, and to building a strong relationship with your players overall.
Get in touch with one of our experts to learn about how push notifications can help boost player engagement with your mobile game, and maximize profits overall.
To read more about how to use OpenBack to boost player retention and maximize revenues, download our Case Study: Dreamworks How To Train Your Dragon App, School of Dragons