Every Player Counts®

Let’s break the casual games retention ceiling!

I have been working on casual mobile games for the past 8 years, and I worked on Nintendo DS & Wii family games beforehand. I realized how player engagement and retention are important for long-term sustainable revenues. Our studio had to spend a lot of time and effort to get our games properly tuned. We had to set up analytics, test and submit, try to make sense of all the metrics we got, update the game, test and submit, update… and repeat.

A retention ceiling

Sure, we can reach good game metrics after all this work. Yet there is a “ceiling” for retention, because game tuning is “global”, meaning it’s the same for all players. And one size does not fit all!

Players are very diverse — especially for casual games.

Some players will churn (leave the game) after level 3 because it’s too hard, and they are frustrated. Others will churn after level 3 because it’s too easy and they are bored. A “global” tuning ignores this and you lose those players.

Even those who enjoy the game do not enjoy it for the same reasons: be it the gameplay, the visuals, the story, the challenge, the pleasure to outpace a friend, to share results… Everybody has a personal experience with a game and there is no easy way to customize each player’s experience using traditional tools. We can code some “tuning rules” for our games but they will be the same for all players.

That’s why a “global” tuning hits a retention ceiling that‘s hard to break.

The benefits of personalized game tuning

As game designers, we want a simple and easy solution to personalize the gameplay and difficulty for each player using our games.

Let’s say I found the right “global” difficulty value for stage 3.

I want to know if I should use this “default” value, or make it “easier” or “harder” for the user currently playing. And this should be requested in-game right before the player starts stage 3, because the situation and context for each player changes all the time.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? You can see how this would increase the number of players enjoying your game, thus playing more, therefore increasing your overall retention and monetization.

Let’s break the retention ceiling!

One year ago, we decided to tackle this problem.

The solution is quite simple in theory: collect players data and learn about the players’ profiles and behaviors; then predict the best tuning data in-game in real-time for each player.

Simple in theory… but complex to implement. Anyway, we decided to do it!

And not just for us, but for all studios enjoying good revenues coming from their casual games, but not wanting to invest hundreds of thousands dollars in a complex data architecture, data scientists and machine-learning experts.

We think that Every Player Counts®

If you also think that player personalization can dramatically improve your game metrics, join the conversation, get involved, we will soon be looking for pre-release testers.