How to Retain Players in Mobile Games

How to retain players driven by different motivations? Read our list and find some ways for your game
How to Retain Players in Mobile Games

Take a look at ten best ways of retaining players in mobile games and find the ones that are going to work best for your game!

Let's start with basics. If you ever watched other people play games, you know that they are driven by different motivations — some of them eager to win, some want to destroy the enemies, some prefer to savor the process, and some can’t do without communicating with other gamers. Dr. Richard Bartle in 1990th noticed it too and divided players into so-called achievers, killers, explorers, and socializers.

Basically, it is very hard for a game to appeal to all four categories of gamers. This means that you have to know who your audience are because you can’t use the same means to retain an explorer and a killer (if they are not the same person, of course).

This list is viable for all types of players and all kinds of games. You can choose a couple of ways that suits your product best:

1. Interesting gameplay

For buy2play games
For all players

It goes without saying. If your gameplay is boring, or if the gamers can finish the game for a couple of hours, it’s a failure. It is not just a game loop but an entire story that will glue the game.

2. Win/loss ratio

For all players

This is arguably one of the most important factors. If you start playing but lose over and over again — one time, two times, then after the third time you will most likely drop the game.

3. New content. Hidden content. 

For all players. Must-have for explorers

Games of any size can add some fresh content to make the gamers play longer. People like to see new things and refresh their feelings. So, some games (especially multiplayer games) place you to the maps that you haven’t been before, or add side quests that allow you to play “from scratch” without all your equipment and/or in a completely new location.

If a game is large enough then you can add hidden locations, hidden game elements, etc. Something that can surprise the player.

This is the only way to retain explorers because the only thing that they like is new, diverse(!) and interesting game areas that appear in the game on a regular basis. However, this is time and money consuming and therefore rare.

4. Dominance

For all players but works best for achievers

The player has to have a hope that they will win, become better than the entire score list. So, no need to show them results of the best players. Disclose some information about their closest adversaries only.

5. Friendly support

For some game genres

For all players

If the player was away from the game for some time and then re-entered, you can give them some temporary advantage so that they can recreate that victorious feeling.

6. Multiplayer mode 

For all players but obviously it works best for socializers

Motivate the players to find like-minded people and go to the goal or compete against other groups together. Then the player will feel that other people are waiting for him or her in the game and log in regularly.

7. Short time spans

For all players

A game that takes too much of your attention and does not give you a choice, will inevitably be abandoned. Some people can play it for longer, but others can’t play it more than, let’s say, one hour a day. If you can’t make significant progress by playing just that amount of time, the game will seem like a dull swamp to you.

8. Daily rewards

For f2p games

For all players

Engage the players by giving them a daily reward for logging into your game every day. This is a simple, effective and cost free way of engaging and retaining the users. However, it works only if all other aspects of the game are present (if it’s interesting, well-balanced, etc.)

9. Leveling up system

For all players

Reward the players for moving through the game and for winning battles, solving quests, etc. There can be one-time rewards like in-game money, items, skins, etc. Or they can be cumulative (xp points that lead to leveling up or low-level gems that can be collected and then merged into something more powerful).

This is a very complicated and exciting part of the game that needs a well-balanced approach.

10. Good customer support

For all players

This goes without saying. All questions need to be answered, problems solved, lost rewards returned, etc. In f2p games you are free to prioritize players but in pay2play games you have to treat all users equally.

This is our list of best ways of retaining all four types of players (achievers, killers, explorers, and socializers) in different games. They look obvious and easy but if you implement at least some of them into your game, you’ll be able to gather core users who will stay with your project for many years ahead!

Read more