在下文中，我将用“40 – 20 – 10”规则来解决这个问题。规则中的数字表示的是日留存率、周留存率和月留存率。规则所传达的信息如下：如果你想让游戏的DAU超过100万，那么日留存率应该大于40%，周留存率和月留存率分别大于20%和10%。本文第一部分将主要探讨日留存率。
RETENTION IS KING!
Retention is really key to being successful on Facebook, it is not virality or deep pockets for marketing. Many persons and companies in the social games industry rant and rave about how it is impossible to grow on Facebook due to the changes in the platform. My suggestion to them is to stop ranting and make better games instead, games that users want to come back to. Look at wooga (my employer) over doubling the Daily Active Users in the past 6 months now bolsting >4MM Daily users on Facebook. Pretty awesome!
When starting out to make Facebook games in 2007 I found it hard to know what retention metrics to track and which are the benchmark numbers to aim at – there was just a lot of hearsay and very little concrete information available. The publicly available DAU/MAU is a start but not nearly enough to help you make a better game.
Next I will tackle this with what I call the “40 – 20 – 10″ -rule. This rule looks at 1-day Retention, 7-day retention and 30-day retention. The message of the rule is that if you want to create a >1MM DAU game your 1-day retention should be >40% and the 7-day and 30-day rates should be >20% and >10% respectively. Since this blog-post would be pretty long I will in this first part focus on 1-day retention.
1-Day Retention -> Target >40%
This means that out of all players installing your app for the first time and starting to load the Flash file >40% of them should also play the next day. This value can fluctuate quite a bit depending on the source of your traffic to the app and also lifetime, so don’t think the war is won after having 45% a couple of days after launch. If you however have >40% let’s say 1 month after launch with 200-400K DAU you should feel really good. If this value is <20% you will have hard time having any success with your game, ever. So what are the main factors you should consider for maximizing the 1-day retention rate?
Initial Loading Time. The faster the better, if your loading time is over 1min you will be in trouble. However there seems to be a pretty steep cliff the drop-off is not linear, the improvement is not nearly as big when shortening from 50s to 40s as when dropping from 30s to 20s.
Localization. If you have not localized your game a surprisingly high % of for example French players will instantly leave your game when they discover it is in English.
Tutorial. This is one of the most important things. Think about simplicity but in the same time delivering FUN and EMOTION. You must convince the player that your game is worth a while and more fun than others. Do real user testing over and over again to iterate the steps. Be careful not to stare only at the tutorial completion rate when optimizing it, a short tutorial will obviously have great completion rate but might result in poor 1-day or 7-day retention.
Mission System. After completing tutorial user should directly be lead to a fun and engaging mission system. User should never be left with the feeling “what now?”.
Gameplay Loop. Is the main gameplay loop fun and simple to grasp? Does it make sense? Is there something like it in the real world? I can’t stress enough the importance of the loop – it is the game! If it does not work and is not fun 7-day and 30-day retention will be very bad. You can actually get away with a bad gameplay loop and still have good 1-day retention.
“wow” or “emotion” -factor. Does the game deliver any kind of emotion to the user in the first 3 minutes? Is there a nice animation, a cute animal, some nice effects or something the user has not seen before? Watch the faces of the test users, do the smile, laugh or just look like they are bored?
Length of First Session. There should be at least 10minutes of play to hook the player deep enough to the game. Aim at delivering 20minutes before the game stalls and the user has to either wait or spend money.
Appointment gaming. Can user set something to happen for the next day when leaving the game on the first day of playing? There should be some user set reward or action completion waiting. This is not the same as the daily bonus, which has VERY little effect on retention.
Closure. User wants to leave the game after playing for the first time with the feeling that he or she has done everything possible in the game and left it in a “good state”. This means for example that all commerces in Cityville have been supplied with goods and the farms are seeded with 12h or 24h plants. The user will feel like the game is making money even though the user is not playing – amazing feeling! And when coming back the next day there will be all this yummy icons and rewards to click.
Okay, there is obviously dozens of other factors affecting 1-day retention but the listed above are some of the main ones. Stay tuned for the next part where I will tackle 7-day and 30-day retention. (Source: GAMES CHANGED MY LIFE)
Retention is King! (part 2)
In this post I will continue on exploring factors that affect greatly retention in social games. In my previous post: “Retention is King (Part 1) I focused on 1-day retention. In this post I will move on to 7-day and 30-day retention. As you may recall the target ratios for these came from the 40-20-10 rule which said that 7-day retention should be >20% and 30-day retention >10%. I will not distinguish which aspect affect more 7-day or 30-day, just treat the list as things that affect long-term retention. Obviously there are more things than in the list but these are some that came into mind.
Repeatedly Fun Gameplay Loop
The gameplay loop was already mentioned in the my previous post but in can’t be stressed enough. The main gameplay loop must be repeatedly fun and here is stress the word repeatedly. Good example can be found in Cityville where it never seems to stop being fun collecting the income and seeing the rewards pop-out. You can make a very animation heavy gameplay loop with will be slow and maybe very fun 10 times but how about after 100 or 1000s of times? All the slow animations can instead of fun become very annoying and have a huge negative effect on your 7-day and 30-day retention.
Smart-Depth is crucial in the long-term when you want to build strategy on top of the main gameplay loop (Check my previous posts for the definition for Smart-Depth). Even the ‘funnest’ gameplay loop might become boring in the long-term if you don’t have to make any strategic choices or think. Smart-depth will typically have the greatest effect on 30-day retention and not so visible in 7-day retention. The best way to know that your smart-depth works is that you still have very active advanced players even though they have run out of missions/goals to do (since they have the strategic/optimization part to play around with).
With visual expansions I mean areas that the user can see from the start but not yet access. They give long-term objective and desire to the player to continue. The users want to know what you can do in the area with the mountain or the bay in Cityville. The expansions give a natural objective for the player; this combined with curiosity is a powerful driver. Human beings want to conquer/expand to more and more physical space. The more space you have conquered the more attached you are to it and the more you would lose if you stop playing.
Whether you are building a city, restaurant, farm or an island you want each play session to make the object (your space) you are working on look better and bigger. This is what arcade games usually can’t deliver since they are level-based. The user becomes very attached to the space increasing retention. This is why it is very important to have a long enough first session with plenty of cash in a city builder. The user will be able to develop a nice city with many houses and decorations and become attached to it thus returning the next day and later too.
The amount of friends (not so surprisingly) affects the retention of a user but so does what you can do with the friends. I will not go into the social actions in this post but instead talk about social competition. If you manage to create in your game something users in the real world also compete against each other the retention benefit can be great. Here I talk about amount of money, beauty, popularity, speed and similar. If you manage to define a subject of competition like this also reflect that in the High Score List below your game. Don’t list users based on XP level, instead on the amount of this attribute. Good example of this is Millionaire City that lists players based on Net Worth of the player – who is richer?
Requests tied to the main game loop
I know this is not a traditional game design point but on Facebook with the current channels they offer this is very important for retention. The point here is that you have to tie the requests (items needed to finish houses, hire friends to fill positions etc.) to the main game loop. User must be required to do this over and over again as he advances in the game. It is not enough to have a separate item or items that every now and then will require the user to send a couple of requests. Your game must be able to consume hundreds and hundreds requests regardless of the players level (newbie to advanced). If done properly this will also boost your monetization nicely.
Clear long-term Objective
This one is sometimes very easily overlooked. What is the player trying to achieve in the game? Is it clear to him from the first session to 2-3 months into the game? In Cityville I have the desire to become Mayor and occupy the whole map (see the point on visual expansions above), and in Frontierville I want to get married and clear the whole map from woods. Sometimes the objective the users perceive is a bit surprising. When I once asked a test user what is the long-term objective in Frontierville she answered: “To get to the Gold Rush sign-post”. The user thought the “Gold-Rush – Coming soon” post meant that she has to play long enough to get there. The best way to check whether you nailed the long-term objective of the game is to ask a vanilla user who has just played the first 30min of the game to describe the main objective of the game in 10 words. If the user can’t do it or the response is not what you thought in the gameteam you might be in trouble.
Remember, retention is King and the “40-20-10″ -rule is your target! （Source：gameschangedmylife）