So, why do people stop playing your game? Sure there are real life problems that no one can account for like a player needing to study more for a test, players on a date, player having a new baby, or a player is in the hospital. But for you the game developer, there are many ways to fix your game today to keep retention rates up.
#1 They can’t install your game
This is a problem I have had with a few games myself. The game was downloaded, but it won’t install onto my phone. I try on other phones, and there isn’t any issues at all. Was it something I did? Well, TestBird has done tests on our thousands of phones over 10,000 games. We can say it’s not the players fault. Some games just don’t install correctly. This could be due to the OS, or maybe the phones hardware. The great thing is that when we have shared this issue with companies, it’s a pretty quick fix.
#2 The game crashes
These are more annoying than anything. I cannot describe the anger I get when I’m about to score the winning points and the game crashes to the main screen or just freezes up. Not only does it frustrate me, it makes me feel the developer isn’t that great at making games.
With our research we’ve found that fixing bugs in one device doesn’t mean you are finished. The plethora of devices makes bug squashing very tedious and annoying. That’s why we test games with our automated testing. We can test a game over hundreds of devices at the same time and share awesome logs that describe when the error occurred and how in 24 hours.
#3 The game is slow
If you were able to get the game running and working, that’s great. But having to wait for the next level to load for a minute or having the game stutter due to old hardware can make a gamer just give up on the game all together. Optimization is the next step and TestBird can help you to make sure your optimizing for most of the phones on the game market so you can increase your phone compatibility.
#4 The gameplay is boring
Boring games make for boring experiences and can lead to a lot of uninstalls. Though TestBird can’t test if your gameplay is boring or not, we know that there are a few places to check out how to increase your player retention rates. Check out this presentation from David Piao Chiu of R2 USA on how they increased their retention on Kongregate.
#5 Uses too much of data
In China, some players will never download a game just because of the size of the game. Most are on limited data plans and are very stingy with their downloads. Games that also use too much data for game play can lead to huge problems as well. We test how much data is being used when we test from each device allowing us to know how well it does against the competition.
#6 Uses too much battery
A few weeks ago Lenovo released a phone with a massive 5,000 mAh battery. Most phones come with only a 2,300 – 3,100 mAh of battery inside and the phone is most likely for business users. But Battery life is always the #1 complaint from people. Having your game become the big culprit for battery drain will lead to very quick uninstalls.
#7 Bugs in the game
Issues with the user interface, the game won’t advance to the next level, or some element in the game not working will lead to nasty comments in the app store. Though many of these bugs can be attributed to speed to the market, unknowledgeable development, or more likely a bug in the devices. We do a lot of UI testing for all devices during our testing to make sure that things look great.
#8 Can’t log in
With more games wanting you to connect to Facebook or create a user account for your game, logging in is becoming a necessity. But having a bad server can create havoc. Just look at what happened with a big company like EA and their server issues. We check logins with every phone with our tests.
#9 Free to play feels more like Pay to Win
Microtransactions are a debate that spans multiple conference talks and office rooms. Making your game fun enough to want to pay and want to invest in is worth a lot of study and discussion. Just check out this talk to learn more about the issues.
#10 I finished everything
Always be adding more content. If you are not preparing in advanced what you are doing for your game in the next 6 months, you are already preparing yourself for a quick drop off. Remember, those games with very long tails in development, are the ones grossing the most money.