The last eighteen months have seen many changes in people’s lives including spending far more time at home. Many people now work remotely and their core hours are spent in the home and not the office. Because of the lockdowns and other restrictions, people searched for more online entertainment too.
Streaming sites, online video games, bingo, and casinos, all saw a surge in registrations during the pandemic. Google reported record searches for online casinos in the UK at the start of the lockdown, and Steam saw more than 2,000 extra games released than in 2019. As land-based entertainment venues remained closed, people went online.
Online and offline gaming is a huge business now that is worth billions of dollars a year, and of course, the competition can be fierce. Regardless of the type of game developer, they need players so that they can make money. How do these companies retain current players and entice new ones away from other games?
What types of games have the biggest audiences?
Gaming now encompasses many different platforms and genres. Back in the seventies, games were only available in land-based arcades. Then home computers and consoles made their way into living rooms, basements, and bedrooms across the world.
Nowadays you can play games on mobile devices, laptops, consoles, handheld systems, and even on smartwatches. When it comes to mobile devices, Candy Crush and Angry Birds have enjoyed numerous downloads. Indeed Candy Crush has been downloaded almost enough times to be on the smartphone of every single video gamer in the world.
First-player shooters are also incredibly popular, especially the Battle Royale types. Fortnite, PUBG, Call of Duty, and Counter Strike have huge followings. The pandemic also saw Bingo become much popular with younger audiences, and online casinos took on millions of new players too.
The online gambling market is worth around 60 billion USD, PC gaming is around $37 billion, while the mobile gaming market is worth a staggering $77 billion per year.
How do game developers retain their existing players?
With this much money circulating in the gaming industry, companies are keen to keep hold of their players. Revenue is made from in-game purchases, loot boxes, and advertising. If players migrate to another game, that revenue is lost.
Battle Royale type games are a good place to look for customer, player, retention. They all operate on gaming seasons, which run for a specific period. These seasons will have different gifts available for progressing, and will often have a new map or some new weapons to keep the players’ interest strong.
If you look for new mobile updates for PUBG in 2021, you will see that the developers are planning new weapons, vehicles, play modes, and events. PUBG is typical of this type of game in that although it is a few years old, it is still being updated and keeping core players involved.
If you look at online casinos you will see that they regularly introduce new slots and other games. Virtual games as well as traditional kazino igre are becoming popular, as are live dealer casinos. Loyalty bonuses and free spins are given out to keep players interested.
How do game companies get new players?
The most obvious way that a game company will attract new players is by releasing a new title. If a new FPS hits the market then many fans of this genre will at least take a look, and many will start playing regularly.
However, it isn’t quite as simple as just dropping a new title and selling millions of copies. Game developers will need to advertise their products and develop a solid digital marketing strategy. This may involve some of the following techniques:
- Early access or beta games
- Online reviews
- Social media
- In-game advertising
There are sites dedicated to reviewing games and these are especially important to help with the buzz around a new game. These websites will have reviews of the best and top casino apps, mobile games, console, and PC titles. Influencers can also help build up awareness of a game too.
Online casinos are very clever about offering incentives, and they will usually give free games or a sign-up bonus. Video game developers sometimes offer beta copies to a limited number of players which helps iron out bugs as well as increasing awareness of the game.
What other ways do game developers keep players’ interest?
The list of methods that video game developers keep players coming back is almost endless. From controversial loot boxes in the west to kompu gacha in Japan, developers have ways to get players to part with their cash.
Keeping a player’s interest is vital to a game’s lifespan. Once a game starts being populated by bots instead of real people, more players will depart for another title.
Developers will use the following ways where available:
- Downloadable content – new play modes or maps
- Updated maps
- New weapons
- New vehicles
- Free gold, stars, or whatever in-game currency is used
- Free gifts
- Loot boxes with the promise of rare items
- Free loot boxes for watching adverts
Skins have been a successful way of keeping players interested ever since CS: GO introduced them many years ago. Some of these sell for thousands of dollars and also help to keep sales of loot boxes high, in countries that haven’t banned them.
Online casinos give out free bonuses, bingo gives free cards, and video games will often give free weapons or gold. Downloadable content and new maps are a big way to keep individuals playing a particular game.
Whether it is an online casino, bingo, Candy Crush, or vast open-world RPGs, the purpose of these games is two-fold. They provide entertainment for the player and they also make money for the developers. Without entertainment, there would be no revenue.
Game developers are extremely aware of the importance of customer retention and CS: GO is a true success story. Despite being nearly 9 years old, the game still attracts new players, and between 2016 and 2020, it doubled its active monthly subscribers to 24 million. Game developers that have big hits such as CS: GO do so because they give the player what they want, keep updating, and offer incentives.