Case Study: How to Build Community and Increase User Retention

Fincon-Hello-Hero-Community

Fincon-Hello-Hero-Community

In the Spring of 2014, Fincon, the creators of Hello Hero, came to us with a problem. They had a huge following, but wanted to improve their game community in the United States. Over the course of two months, Latis Global and Fincon teamed up to reinvigorate their state-side community management program with fantastic results.

One of the reasons we started this blog in the first place is to share information with you so that you can make your games more successful, wherever you launch. Today we are happy to share the first of many case studies and e-books with you. All we ask is that you sign-up to our mailing list and we will provide you with a link to our free case study where you can find out how Latis Global and Fincon teamed up and improved user retention rates by nearly 60%.


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Building Community: How to run effective events in Korea

Hello-Hero-Midfielder-David-Event

In game events and promotions are a way for publishers and developers to accomplish two things with their game: to keep their current user base interested and to gain new players to expand the game’s numbers. While it may seem like a straightforward way to gain new players and keep your old ones, there is much more that needs to be done in order to keep your existing audience happy and convince newcomers to download your game. Like nearly every other aspect of selling a successful mobile game in Korea, planning, knowing and respecting your audience are key factors to having in game events and promotions that maintain interest or fall flat on their face.

Selling your event

Along with selling the initial game itself, the right kinds of advertising for in game events requires not only a keen understanding of the game’s audience, but the game itself. It goes without saying that if you’re going to promote for an event for Blade, you’re not going to have cutesy animals dancing all over the screen.  Along with having a promotion that matches the tone of your game, there are also some general things to keep in mind.

Successful advertising for game events and promotions always seem to have these key features:

Humor goes a long way with promoting in Korea. Unlike western audiences, Koreans rarely want a bullet point explanation about each event or item give away. Short, funny promotions using characters from the game or real life celebrities (more on that later) can help grab the attention of Korean gamers.

Promotions also have to be exciting and eye catching almost immediately. Flashy banners with lots of colors and big letter fonts will usually catch the people’s attention. For example, the game Chagu Chagu often features ads with large font, action scenes from the game and an excited announcer. People who play the game are already familiar with how the game works, so focusing on getting to the point quickly makes for more effective advertising than a tepid run down of each promotion or event.

Korea-In-Game-Events

Koreans are crazy for celebrities, and love to see them interacting and using the same things that they do, including playing the same games as them. It’s no secret that attractive and famous people sell products. Often you’ll see games with famous K pop stars and actors playing popular mobile games in an attempt to promote new content. A player beginning to become bored with a title may now have a renewed interest if one of their favorite stars is promoting the game, and showing off new content.

Communication with the player

While a majority of western gamers may find the use of pop ups in games cumbersome and annoying, Korean games tend to be more accepting and receptive towards in game pop ups and pre game screens, reminding of them of the latest event. Using various forms of social media are also effective ways of promoting events and also gaining a look at the amount of interest people are showing as well. Using the example of Chagu Chagu again, the game sends messages and updates to a user’s phone to remind them of events and the amount of time they have to participate.

Plus-Friend-Event-Kakao

Message apps like Kakao also have the ability to add Plus Friends related to games that integrate with your friend’s list and send messages about each game event. Through the seamless merging of games with social platforms, publishers have the power to promote and advertise for their game’s events in a way that a majority of Korean gamers find both useful and un-intrusive in their daily lives.

Worth the time

While savvy marketing and smart integration are important to running successful events, the most fundamental factor in separating successful events from failures comes down to one question: Is it worth the time?

Korean gamers care about the games they invest time into. They care about their time and effort spent playing games and are always looking to feel like their hard work and playtime are rewarded. All mobile games, eventually fall to the point of being too repetitive and simplistic to gamers, who then begin to look elsewhere for a new, exciting experience. The most successful mobile games know this and are always trying to offer new events with different kinds of prizes ranging from in game items that are either rare or exclusive, to real life prizes such as cash and Macbooks to keep people interested.

Events that show up around specific days such as holiday or nation-wide events have shown to be successful. Popular games such as FIFA Online 3 ran a variety of World Cup themed events that proved to be very popular among users. Golf game Golf Star has events that happen during the different seasons and offer different items, avatars and discounts for the summer period.

Cookie-Run-Kakao-Event

For more in depth titles such as MMORPGs, having events is important to convincing players to keep playing. One example is Sunkuk: Rule the World, an MMO that has in game events as a main feature, featuring new events with new items and prizes available everyday rewarding players simply for logging in and participating.

It’s important to note that while in game events may differ across different genres and different publishers, the successful games all share the same thing when it comes to events. Events must quickly catch the attention of the player, offer strong incentives to participate and feature events and timing that coincide with the real world. Gamers are much more likely to remember to participate in events related to real life things rather than try and remember specific time periods.

In game events if created with the user in mind, can provide a way to boost interest in a game and allow a game to continue to be successful by offering players new reasons and most importantly, new interest in a game, potentially allowing a game to thrive in an always competitive and always changing mobile market.

 

profile picKyle Hovanec is a writer currently living and working in South Korea. He writes for several Korean publications including Latis Global Communications. You can contact him at khovanec87@gmail.com 

Lessons From GDC

Game-Developers-Conference-2014

 

With GDC well underway, the Latis team would thought it would be a great time to share some of the lessons we have taken away from the seminars and meetings we have attended.

From Social Whales Understanding and Leveraging a New Kind of Player

  • Customer to Customer marketing involves leveraging your most loyal players as a magnet to your game.
  • C2C strategies are equally as important as B2B, and B2C. Make sure you give them some thought.
  • Focus on keeping your most loyal players happy, and they in turn will make other players in your community happy.

From A Survey of the Modern QA Department

  • External QA service providers can find value in providing usability testing and build testing

From The Future of Localization Testing

  • Give your localization service provider your assets and deliver your files in one batch to increase efficiency.
  • The majority of quality issues are implementation issues (clipped text, overlapping text, corrupted text, untranslated text, wrong language, missing audio, etc.)
  • Non-native localization testers and functional testers were equally good at picking out errors as Native localization testers (except for Asian languages). You can leverage this to keep costs down.

From A Journey to the West: A Chinese Localization Primer

  • To solve UI constraint problems, provide a UI/UX analysis before translation begins and use German as a baseline length limit.
  • If the plot doesn’t appeal to the target culture, consider re-writes using in-house game writers.
  • If you have perpetually changing in-game content, ensure that you have a nimble localization processes.

From You Own the Game but the Community Owns You

  • Don’t reveal time lines. You will probably never be right and ultimately frustrate your audience base. Only reveal when you know you are ready.
  • Use your audience to your advantage and bring them into the creative process. They can help create all manner of promotional material for you (e.g. Kerbal Space Program used a fan to create cinematic trailer for a new release)
  • If you are honest with your fan base, it will pay off in the long run.

From Kickstarting Your Company, Your Game, and Your Community

  • Kickstarter is horrible for raising money, and this should not be your main goal in using it.
  • Most people don’t understand Kickstarter and treat it like it is an amazon store.
  • People expect something in return immediately after giving money to you. Make sure you have some value to give them once they have put money up for the project.
  • Kickstarter is about creating community and buzz around your game. Be sure to engage everyone that participates in your project and find ways to bring them into the process.

We will be updating this blog as GDC continues throughout the week, so please make sure to check back.

What lessons have you learned at GDC? Share them in our comments or tweet @CurtisFile. Remember to follow us on  LinkedIn and share your ideas with us there.