We are often asked what analytics features and KPIs are vital for the launch of a free to play game. Whilst this is impossible to answer in general terms because each game is unique, one common mistake we see is that developers have a “kitchen sink” attitude to game analytics – as they have little, or no, experience in this area they opt for as many data points and as much information feedback as possible. This is a mistake, especially in the early to mid-stages of running a free to play/live service game.
Unless you are in the fortunate position of being a globally successful super developer or publisher with money to burn, we would expect your objectives when soft launching a new title would look a little like this:
- Soft launch the game
- Attract players
- Find and fix critical bugs and crashes
- Review KPI’s and prioritise changes/additions to the game based on user behaviour feedback
- Rinse and repeat until global launch KPI targets have been achieved whilst staying on budget
The soft launch process outlined above can take anywhere between two weeks to a year depending on the type and complexity of the game in question and in some cases even longer. Our experience shows that games which launch earlier and spend longer in soft launch have a better chance of achieving success, however this adds to the financial burden of development with live service hosting, connected and metrics platforms and data analysts added early. It is therefore vital that your game analytics solution is streamlined, enabling your team to focus on the pertinent information whilst avoiding paying for bank breaking features or infrastructure you won’t need for months – if ever.
When launching a game, you need the standard reporting content to be there from the get go; the KPIs and direct data access you need should just ‘be there’. With this, your data analysts can focus on deep investigative work to test and hone your product, delivering real value.
ChilliConnect delivers in both of these areas. The customisable dashboards facilitate quick reporting with no overheads. Straightforward access to your data via daily SQL and CSV exports mean that your analysts aren’t going to have to re-skill to dive in and find out exactly what’s going on in your game.
The secret to unlocking lasting commercial success in your game will undoubtedly be player retention. There are many well-known techniques to boost ARPDAU, or conversion rates, but there are precious few short cuts to making meaningful improvements to player retention. This is the metric that speaks most about the quality of your game and its accessibility to new players. Our expectation would be that you’ll be spending most of soft launch figuring out how to boost retention! In the trenches of soft launch, advanced features such as predictive analysis are just going to cloud the decision making process and slow down the rate of iteration. At this point you are making substantial changes to your game and expecting large swings in the KPIs as a result, a percent or two swing over a few months isn’t going to make the difference. Trust us, leave this fine-tuning until your game is running smoothly and profitably first!
Our approach to ChilliConnect is to provide you with a package that includes all the game analytics features needed to get you through to the live phase of your game and achieve month to month profitability. All of this with the minimum level of upfront cost, time and hassle. If when you’re making millions a day from your game you wish to do some fine tuning and maximise the potential of your already successful title then we’d be more than happy to recommend a number of advanced solutions that will complement ChilliConnect perfectly. Don’t worry we’ve got your back!