If you have developed a game and released it chances are you received a good amount of downloads in the first couple of weeks. App Store users are always up for playing a new game. If your user base has stayed consistent or even grown then you may be on your way to a hit but if your daily active users have fallen then it’s time to think about how you can retain your current users to keep them coming back.
Successful games don’t just count the number of total downloads they’ve had, more important than that is the retention of the users for the longevity of the game. If you have promoted your game on one of the many app a day services then you’ve seen a huge influx of users and you can tell how you’re performing. If more than 50% of those users have left your game after the first week then you should think about implementing some of the features below.
1. Game Tutorial / Walk-through
If you don’t currently have a tutorial for new users of your game then maybe they don’t understand the objectives or know how to play your game. Before anyone can play the game on their own you should have a walk-through that shows them the key areas of your game. Included in this tutorial should be steps on how the basic game-play works, what they need to do to complete a level and how to purchase items in your store if you have one. Show them the benefit of collecting coins or objects.
2. Personal Best (High Score)
Users like to keep track on how well they are doing, make sure that their top score is shown to them often, either on the game start screen, during the game or after a game so they can see how they did. Nothing feels better than beating a personal best time or score.
As a user progresses through your game they should be rewarded. Give a reward after the first level so they get a feeling of accomplishment, then present a new achievement for milestones such as best time, best score for a round, etc… You should include a display (i.e. trophy room) of all of the achievements they have won so they feel the emotional connection and then see which ones they still need to get. Finally allow them to share them so they can show them off.
This is a must for any game. One of the main reasons to play a game is beat it or beat the other players. The leaderboard should show where the user ranks compared to all other players and how they are doing against their friends. Nothing is more rewarding than beating a good friend a a game you both love. The easiest way to implement leaderboards into a game is through Game Center.
Similar to achievements, a user should be rewarded for continuing to play your game. Either each day or after a certain amount of levels you should give the user a new special skill or money that will help them get further. If a user knows they are going to get a reward when they open your game next, it’s a huge incentive to come back. If you are going to have daily rewards, make them tiered. This gives an even greater reward to the loyal users who come back every day. The first day give them 50 coins, then 100 the next and 150 the day after that until a maximum is reached. If a user misses a day then they start back at the bottom. It’ll keep them coming back for the big bonuses.
6. Daily Notifications
Use Push Notifications of Local Notifications to remind your users to come back and play your game. The user has the option to turn off these alerts anytime they want (General Settings > Notifications) but you should be sending them to get their attention. When a user comes back to your game from a notification it’s best to reward them with a daily prize.
Keeping your users happy means giving them free stuff to help them get further in your game or beat other players. The happier a player is and the more value you give the more they will come back to play and tell their friends!