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Helpshift’s Review Analytics gives a thorough, actionable breakdown of what people say about your product in the app store. You now have the ability to transform feedback into a solid product development and marketing strategy at scale. Every week we’ll provide data-driven insights for an app based on its publicly available user ratings.

Minecraft: Pocket Edition has a global average review score of 3.5 on iOS, excluding ratings without a review attached. How are the reviews spread throughout the week?

minecraftsentiment

Mojang’s popular adventure game has pretty good sentiment from players. The steady bad reviews indicate a persistent issue, but the overall popularity shows that the game has tons of successful aspects. Both favorable and critical reviews have insights to the benefits of Minecraft’s community. To discover how Minecraft doubled profits, let’s look at what a player thought was a “nice update”:

afewthings

Reviews are a stellar way to identify passionate players in your community that will help you retain others. Observe what happens in this review: not only does the player discourage readers from listening to a bad review, he also tries to help the bad reviewer have a better experience with the game. Nurturing a community is a proven success method that was covered thoroughly at the M.O.R.E. Summit.

This player also downloaded Minecraft because they enjoy the PC version. Cross-platform acquisition is a proven method to increase LTV, and it shows within this review. This is tough to accomplish without a connected game community. A great percentage of PC Minecraft players that purchased the game for $27 also bought the mobile version for $6–increasing LTV by 22%. On the rarer chance that a player discovered Minecraft’s app first (and purchased the PC version after), LTV increases by 450%. This webcast has more detail on using cross-platform to your advantage within a community.

Feedback is the best way to improve your mobile app reliably. This 5-star review is full of ideas that Mojang could use to improve their mobile experience. Providing easy channels for players to reach you is less expensive and more useful than a focus group. Once the product is updated with the things this player asks for, they are guaranteed to spread the word to more potential players.

There are also important lessons from the small amount of bad reviews that Minecraft received. How does Minecraft’s community monetize even the most critical of players? See what happened when a player’s “house disappeared”:

housedissapeared

Minecraft was this player’s favorite game until she encountered a problem and didn’t receive help in the moment of need. The result is that she titled her review “Not my favorite” and then rated the game 2 stars–despite still enjoying the game with her friends. It cannot be stressed enough that community is a powerful force for mobile apps. Despite being so upset that she deleted the game, she returned and bought it twice because she wanted to play with other people.

Tweet this: Minecraft doubles profits by nurturing a player community in-app. See for yourself: http://bit.ly/1HomQbS @helpshift @PE_Mojang #mobiledev

Overall:

  • Minecraft’s price is a deterrent for players used to freemium, and reviews are a huge factor in convincing them to convert. This player’s bad experience made her point out she could find a competitor for “a lot cheaper than $6.99.” Although she has already paid for the game, her bad review likely cost Mojang a good amount of potential players. The only way to avoid this is by utilizing modern mobile options proven to solve bad reviews before they happen.
  • Passionate players are easily identifiable by analyzing your app reviews. Minecraft’s reviews show how players can be your biggest sales advocate when planning an acquisition strategy. They should utilize in-app communication to increase the amount of vocal evangelists in the community, and keep in contact with existing ones.
  • Your community has the power to bring players cross-platform into another product. When planning another product launch or while in partnership with another app, be sure to advertise alternatives when a player is at risk of churning. When you can’t stop a player from leaving, attempt to influence where they go.
  • Community will increase the LTV of players that are churning from the game itself. The increased playtime will also give developers a chance to provide content that keeps them even longer. Minecraft should make it even easier for players to band together within the game–you can see that their existing community is already paying off.

Improving your mobile app reliably is all about data-driven feedback. We’re happy to help. To get a free ratings breakdown, contact me at devin@helpshift.com.

Published March 22, 2015
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