Loyalty: Splatoon, Console Example

Here’s one way an app, game, or service encourages users to return later.

Console Example:
Splatoon by Nintendo (Wii U)

Nintendo’s Splatoon offers events called “Splatfests”. A Splatfest is an announced, scheduled time where matches determine the winner between two theme choices.

Players choose one of those two playful, region-specific options to determine the team they’ll play for. Examples:

  • Cats vs. Dogs
  • Rollercoasters vs. Water Slides
  • Marshmallows vs. Hot Dogs

Usual game modes are unavailable. After a Splatfest, results are tallied and a winner is declared based on popularity and wins on each side.

Fun titles are earned during Splatfest. Higher titles earn more “Super Sea Snails” rewards. Super Sea Snails empower players’ outfits.

Title examples: “Marshmallow Fiend” or “Hot Dog King” are earned during the Marshmallows vs. Hot Dogs Splatfest.

This method benefits gamers and Nintendo in a low-cost, scalable manner.

  • Nintendo draws gamers back to Splatoon on a predictable, scheduled basis.
  • Gamers enjoy contributing to, and immerse themselves in, a sense of community through their chosen sides and a shared victory or defeat.
  • Gamers earn Super Sea Snails — expensive items which otherwise cost in-game currency.
  • [Unconfirmed] Nintendo can monetize by advertising in a uniquely native manner, as was likely the case with the Transformers Splatfest where the theme was Autobots vs. Decepticons.
Callie and Marie announce the Popularity results during the “What would you rather roast?” Splatfest.

Implementing this method involves at least the following.

  • Design, to define the in-game behavior of the recurring event.
  • Design, to specify the “meta” impact, mitigations on the game. In this case, the game restricts a full day of normal gameplay for users and distributes power-affecting items.
  • Engineering, to create the event functionality.
  • Engineering, to create controls used for organizing, activating events.
  • An “Event Management Team”, to organize and activate the events.
  • Marketing, to capitalize on and reinforce the community’s participation in the events.