Player Retention: A First Look at How to Get Players Coming Back to Your Game

As we begin to explore the topic of player retention, some of you might be wondering what kinds of tools developers might leverage to get people coming back to their game and to grow their player community. There are loads of tools out there; each developer leverages a different set of tools, communication channels, and tactics to engage players and entice them to return to their games. However, there are many practices that can improve player retention for almost any game!

In the coming weeks, we will learn more about the different tools that developers in our community have used to increase and track player retention. This week, however, we have chosen to release a portion of a game analytics report, which has been generated by Roblox for a handful of games on our platform. We are working to make similar reports available to all developers in the future. Until then, find out what you can learn about player retention and some of these tactics out for your game!

1. First Impressions Matter: Hone your New/First Time User Experience

Hone your New/First Time User Experience to help new players get to the meat of your game quickly and effortlessly.

2. Include Delayed Feedback Loops

Curiosity is a powerful motivator for player retention. Time-delayed mechanics, such as mystery boxes that reward loot after a set period, are a useful way to inspire players to come back. We intuitively design for immediate gratification and feedback in games, but adding delayed reveals into your game can help improve your game’s retention.

3. Create Player Investment

A player’s first purchase can inspire that player’s investment in the game, particularly if that first purchase has a progression or personalization impact on the player’s experience. Gifting a new player with enough currency (premium or otherwise) and motivating them to spend that currency on a premium item serves several purposes:

1. Lowers the barrier to conversion (monetization) by having the player experience the premium item purchase flow and the value of premium items early on.

2. Gives the player a meaningful choice and subsequent reward that deepens their psychological investment in the game.

Remember: investment equals engagement, and engaged players are easier to retain.

4. Think Social, Competitive, and Co-op

We have discussed social features in many articles, interviews, videos and more— such as clans, guilds, leaderboards, player-versus-player (PVP), and social areas — and their importance to building engagement.

On a player-driven platform like Roblox, where social interaction is king, adding social mechanics and features in your game can help improve retention tremendously.

5. Design External Triggers for Maximum Engagement

With the new Game Update Notifications on Roblox, and your social media channels, ask yourself: how do you design an effective trigger to bring players back to your game?

· Urgent– Set a time limit for user response

· Concrete– Make the call to action clear — avoid generic “Play now!” messages

· Motivating– Offer a progression advantage for engaging in the game now, or a progression loss for not engaging in the game now.

Utilize your Game Update Notifications strategically. The once-a-week limit is designed to keep notification engagement high, which benefits all developers by ensuring players don’t become desensitized because of notification spam. Get creative with your 60-character notifications!

Adapted from 5 Ways to Increase User Retention for Games(AppAnnie, November 3, 2015).

Keep an eye out on the Roblox Developer Medium for coming content on developers’ experiences engaging and retaining players! You can follow Roblox Developer Relations on Twitter to stay up to date on future articles coming to the Roblox Developer Medium.

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