[Key Insights] Mobile Retention and Engagement Summit

Yesterday, I shared with you my personal philosophical take aways from our MORE Summit. I framed it as “a story” to truly capture the essence of the Summit. But today, I want to simply share with you the 5 top points covered by Dean Takahashi during his introductions, followed by the breakdown of 10 key points uncovered in each of our two panels.

Below are 5 Key Take-Aways from Dean’s introduction.

Introduction: 2015 Mobile Industry Predictions

Moderator: Dean Takahashi

  • We will see a $2 billion dollar valuation game.
  • Virtual Reality will officially launch in 2015.
  • Retention and Engagement will count more than ever for a product’s success.
  • Pure competition / darwinian forces for a single game developer are very formidable in mobile. Besides coming up with a hit game, you also have to get noticed & acquire users.
  • Biggest hurdle is shifting strategy from user acquisition to engagement and retention.

Below are 10 Key Take-Aways per Panel. These are the leaders on the front-lines of successful games. They are getting it right.

Panel: User Engagement & Retention


Oliver Miao, PixelBerry Studios
Mario Wynands, PikPok
Christian Calderon, Dots
Simon Hade, Space Ape Games

  • Mobile games are now a living service. Recognize that it’s an ongoing conversation with your customers. Facilitating those conversations will give older games a “longer tail.”
  • Engagement is a summation of events that happen in your game.
  • Measure how many people come back to the game after NOT playing for a certain period of time. It’s more about getting better over time than immediate results.
  • Consider churn over time for a specific group of people that install the game. Retention doesn’t need to be benchmarked against others.
  • Watch the crash rates really closely after an update. Look at early reviews to see if you’ve done something wrong that isn’t obvious.
  • Problems are inevitable. Launch updates in the morning before noon and never on a Friday. Acknowledge problems! Sometimes players just want to hear a statement from the company. It’s as simple as that.
  • Bake community into your game.
  • Create a “VIP Program” for users that reach a certain level or pay a certain amount. Use the community to disseminate information.
  • Make in-game chat a priority.
  • Social channels are not just for community managers. Get your developers involved in the conversation as well. Players love to see team members of all types / talk to all kinds of members, not just community managers.

Panel: The Integral Role of Player Support


Matt Fairchild, TinyCo
David Tamayo, Scopely
Lian Amaris, Glu
Chris Tabasa, GREE

  • You are the advocate for our players. Use support to bolster the stability and efficiency of your product.
  • Hourly reporting after a new launch. Ask yourself: What lessons can we learn right away? How can we react quickly?
  • Make your customer support a value center. How can you connect retention metrics, revenue metrics, and how does CS affect those metrics based on its cost.
  • “The best service is no service.” Create ways to let players self-serve. What can you automate, make more implied UX, provide knowledge on in advance, tutorial, etc.
  • Create an knowledge base before your new content releases. Show those answers to community managers and top players in advance. Educate as much as possible for increase retention.
  • Community is most successfully supported when they move between spaces and go cross-platform.
  • Consider live chat as an experience for top spenders.
  • Understand the difference between challenging and confusing. You should make challenging content, but avoid making confusing content.
  • Create an ecosystem of content creators, and spend a lot of time being present in those fan-run communities. People get really excited just by responding to content–no other companies do this.
  • Don’t be afraid to lose players that are disruptive to others or that take away from the culture of your game and company. It is more damaging to try keeping them than simply letting them go.

If you have any other suggestions/comments/thoughts when it comes to user engagement and retention and the value of community, please share with us your comments.

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