In 2016 45% of the total revenue generated by Apple’s App Store was through gaming apps. While gaming apps contributed 75% of the total revenue for the Google Play store. Games might be a great source of entertainment but the business of games is a very serious thing. It involves billion dollar industries and hours of research and development. The importance of keeping gamers hooked has never been more intrinsic to the survival of Game Developers. But today let’s evaluate what might cause users to switch from one game to another.
The most apparent reason why a user switches from one game to another is simply because they can. Since internet has become the primary medium used, with just a click you can install a game and another click can uninstall one. Users don’t need any technical knowledge or other complicated tools to be able to find or play games of their choice. The sheer number of games available is huge, from the really simple-to-play to the highly specialized games, everyone can choose their pick.
Most gaming apps these days have a very good initial run with their apps going viral and raking in big number of downloads and installs, globally. Users are very open to trying new things but their attention spans are small. They will love what you have to offer for a while, till it keeps them interested, but once boredom or monotony sets in they won’t think twice before uninstalling your app and switching to something else that’s new and exciting.
Most companies monetize this initial virality and then stop innovating or looking for ways to retain users. The key to longevity is increasing customer lifetime value, just acquiring new customers will only serve as a short term benefit.
Users are very picky and extremely sure of what they want. They can’t be swayed easily and hence, if they come across another game that suits their tastes and preferences better they will switch. A game developing company must define their market very clearly and design their product in a way to serve that group of users in the best possible way. The rest of the users may come and go but that core group of loyal users is what will make you go a long way, because these users will make in-app purchases, or buy paid versions of the app or make deposits to play your game. Some users like blowing things up, some might like racing, some might enjoy card games
, some users chase 3d games
, you can not please everyone.
Keeping up with trends
The internet thrives on trends. Gen Y is all about creating new trends. Anything can go viral if it gets enough likes or shares or followers. Influencers such as pop-stars, movie stars, youtube and instagram personalities have huge fan followings and anything they do becomes a trend. Pokemon Go is the biggest example from the recent past. It became the biggest fad all over the world, in only a couple of days. (Pokemon Go made $800 million dollars in 110 days of its release and a total of $950 million in 2016). People conform to trends because they’re fashionable and they make you look cool. Trends like Pokemon Go, Angry Birds, Monument Valley, Candy Crush, Flappy Bird etc., will always be around with users jumping from one to the next.
Software/ Hardware Issues:
Technology is a very important factor nowadays as to why users switch games. For mobile users the one big divide is- iOS and Android. For laptop/ PC users we have Mac and Windows. Certain games work best on a particular hardware and software configuration, if either of those are missing user experience is highly affected. Every couple of days you’ll see pending updates on your phone or PC and if, as a user, you don’t have the latest versions of softwares etc., eventually games will stop working properly and in turn this can cause softwares to go corrupt. Other factors include file size, costs, in-app purchases, gaming paraphernalia such as remotes, VR headsets, headphones etc.
What I have gathered from my bird’s eye view is that, creating great games has enormous potential. However, Game Developers need to find a way to keep gamers hooked past the initial stages. Enhancing user experience is key. If you are unable to achieve that, your beginner’s success will soon fizzle out.