While Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki 2023 may be over and our focus moves to Pocket Gamer Connects Jordan 2023 there’s still plenty to share from the show. Back on day one, during the LiveOps Landscapes track, chief business development officer and co-founder of Kinoa, Hen Gelberg, took to the stage to give a talk on live ops titled “Live ops like the pro.”
The talk started with Gelberg commenting that the fielf of live ops is a less understood topic in the gaming market, even though having a successful live ops strategy is often paramount for long-term success in a title.
“One of the main objectives for live ops, and if I were to sum it up in one sentence, I would say live ops activities are about maximising player value. But how? First of all, you want your players to return, and you can do this by running activities and events. Everything you do in your game must have the player wanting to return the next day.”
Core components and knowing your players
Gelberg noted that while passion for the project plays a part in the development of any game, “Passion does not pay salary or development costs, so we need our players to pay in order to keep delivering content and to grow our game.”
“The most important thing about live ops is real-time game management; you want to improve the game experience on the fly, and you need to know your players,” she explained. During the talk, Gelberg showed two examples of players, Bob and Mary. Both are playing the game in a slightly different way, so Gelberg highlighted the importance of tailoring the game experience to each player.
With Bob, for example, you can see he is a non-paying user and isn’t using his tokens, so when he logs into the game, specific events or mini-games will be offered to him. This can offer Bob a personalised experience with rewards that may entice him and act as a way to attempt to convert him into a paying customer.
Mary, however, is already a paying user. “We can see that for Mary, we alter her experience to offer her experiences that grant her boosters because we know this motivates her to play. She’s also a new player, so we’ll notify her when she will unlock something new. She will want to keep playing as she knows she is getting something new soon.”
In addition to tailored events and rewards in the game, push notifications can also be personalised to the player. Rather than giving generic notifications that a player is likely to clear and not click on, tailored notifications can target something the player is interested in.
You want to maximise your player’s value, increasing retention, enhancing the player’s experience and optimising monetisation.
If Mary knows she can clear a level soon and unlock something, she’s more likely to click the notification and jump back into playing, whereas Bob, who is already level 500, may be less incentivised by this. These tailored experiences should also be monitored and changed as time goes on. If Bob is offered the same deals and events each day for weeks, he likely isn’t interested, or he would have made a purchase already; Gelberg noted that it’s essential to trigger new rewards and see if that can convert the user instead.
“To summarise, live ops is not only about executing events and features. It’s about having them running in real-time. You want to maximise your player’s value, increasing retention, enhancing the player’s experience and optimising monetisation. It’s about having the right tools to execute this in real-time, on the fly, to improve your players’ engagement inside the game. This is the real power of live ops.”