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12 Months of LTV Growth with Zombieland: AFK Survival

A real-world case study for building solid Life Time Value in a live service game

Understanding churn in the first time user experience (FTUE)

Early retention is one of the hardest metrics to improve on a live game, and it can be risky, since changes to the early game and FTUE directly impact the rest of the funnel. But it also means that even small changes, especially when based on both qualitative and quantitative insights, can positively impact your whole retention curve.

In-depth feedback from PlaytestCloud shows how testers are interacting with the screen, and includes notes and voice recording.
Updated tutorial, showing players important mechanics and rewarding them for engagement.

Strengthening the metagame to build a content cadence

Players loved the heroes in the game, but the original mechanic of unlocking each hero all at once meant that players were getting through the content far too quickly, which limited the metagame. In order to better manage the cadence, we decided with Metagame to implement a system where players gradually get hero shards and unlock higher rarities with a greater number of stars. This let us better manage the pace at which players unlocked and consumed content, but also increased the value of the hero content itself.

Screenshots: 1) before Squads 2) after Squads 3) task at the bottom of the list using Squads 4) locked hero with 100/160 shards in stock

Tying everything together with events

The addition of Hero Squads allowed us to create what we call Gauntlet events. This set of objectives spanning two weeks requires a variety of not just heroes, but also weapons and other items in order to reach 100% completion and unlock exclusive rewards.

One step at a time

When it comes to improving player LTV, there is typically no single solution that will provide a quick fix for either revenue or retention. The key is often to take a step-by-step approach to examining the full extent of the player experience you have created, and adding improvements which pave the way for others.

  • Strengthen your metagame in a way that gives you full control of your content cadence, allowing for focus on long-term objectives.
  • Build your live-ops strategy around engaging with the full diversity of your content. Appeal to the completionist mindset of your players, and build incentives around unlocking or purchasing rewards they may have missed.

Power up your game

Launching a game is just the beginning for mobile game developers. If you’re building a game and you think we could help you boost its LTV, reach out to us. You can also sign up to the Tilting Point newsletter.



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