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Report: Candy Crush Players are sticky because they’re social
by Dmitri Williams on 06/04/14 02:07:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

While playing video games solo can be fun, playing within a network of other gamers increases customer retention through engagement. This is a key metric for developers, who are looking to further monetize their games.

Traditional engagement through a network of players isn’t a new concept - MMOs (Massively Multiplayer Online games) have been taking advantage of this idea for years. Games like World of Warcraft have created a network of over 7 million players, incentivizing them with real-time multiplayer battles. But with the rise of mobile and social gaming, the landscape has evolved - so when you realize that a solo player has a 65.3% likelihood of quitting vs. 34.8% for players in a small or medium-sized network, you start to take notice.

Armed with this knowledge, game developers and marketers can find ways to narrow the gap between player engagement/retention and player churn. The most obvious takeaway from these findings is that the larger the player network you have in your video game, the less likely your players are to quit, as there is only a 5.7% churn rate of players engaged in the largest networks. Does this mean you should go all out from the start, trying to create the biggest network possible within your game? No, sometimes it’s best to offer both solo and multi-player components.

In the current mobile and social gaming world, Clash of Clans is a great example of a game taking advantage of large player networks while also offering solo components. It promotes and encourages each player to join a “Clan”, thus creating a larger social network within the game, but it also allows players to do things on their own without the help of other friends.

Another way to increase engagement and player retention is to create a network outside of the traditional gameplay experience, by tapping into existing social networks. For example, in the game Candy Crush Saga, a player can ask their Facebook friends for help or to give them power-ups. At least one of their friends is likely to respond to a request, which keeps both people engaged while also increasing customer conversion and visibility of the brand.

Competitive social leaderboards are yet another way to encourage player retention and engagement. Seeing that your friends have a higher score than you on Candy Crush Saga encourages you to beat them and is likely to give you motivation to play.

As social networking and gaming have created the era of “social gaming”, we’re discovering more ways to engage players each day, and combining in-game monetization methods with social elements can yield high ROI for your game if done effectively. What are you doing to socially engage players and encourage a larger network?

 

 


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Comments


Ross Kravitz
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Any details on methodology?

Dmitri Williams
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You need to be able to build the social graph. If you have a data scientist or grad student that's not super difficult to do. The catch is that you need to have instrumented the data to record the pairs of people ("dyads") in the population. So, for example, you may have the concept of a friends list. That may be a table somewhere or be something you could track with an event like "create friend" which has a sender and receiver ID attached to it.

Once you have the network, programs or grad students or scientists can tell you a lot about your players. The graphic above was a very simple calculation once the social graph was ready.

Plan B, if you don't want to deal with any of this, would be an analytics company. We've fully automated what I described above.


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