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How can we retain new players? Game designers provide “special care”!

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How to keep new players? The “special care” provided by game designers is very important, and this special care is a new system. This article will take “Cross Fire Mobile Games” as an example to analyze in detail the role of the new system in the game at different stages of the game. (This article was first published in the “EXP Manual”, a monthly magazine of the Tencent Game Academy Expert Group)

Author: Nikola Tencent Game School game planning experts

Since the advent of free mobile games, every user has actually accepted the “special care” provided by game designers from the first second they opened the mobile game. The quality of the special care can directly affect the player’s continuity. The motivation and retention of the game determines the development and even the survival of the game.

And this special care is the new system.

What is the new system?

Let’s briefly define the new system. The new system is the sum of all systems and gameplay content that enable new players to get the best experience and convert to active users.

How to design the new system?

The new system design includes two dimensions: decision-making and content, among which decision-making is the prerequisite of content.

Decision-making means that designers understand and explore the best experience needs of new users through research, interviews, and big data analysis from the three dimensions of market environment, game content, and user attributes. Therefore, decision-making is a dynamic process and will change over time.

Content refers to specific strategies that can optimize new experience and improve retention. In general, there are these points: content is attractive, teaching is effective, processes are smooth, and a sense of purpose is established. The presentation methods include what we often say about newbie guidance and teaching levels, newbie sign-in and growth funds and other new systems, as well as special gameplay designed for new users.

Here, we take “Crossing the Line of Fire: Gun Fight King” (hereinafter referred to as the CF mobile game) as an example to explain in detail how the “new system” is designed. The reason for choosing the CF mobile game is that the CF mobile game is an evergreen product. The “old” mobile game that has been on the line for nearly 5 years has been active and income has been rising steadily; it is precisely the emphasis on the new system and the consistent Implement the new system design that combines decision-making and content to keep the product vigorous.

1. Launch period: loyal to core users

Back to 2015 when the CF mobile game is about to be launched, the FPS shooting mobile game is still in the blue ocean market. Players are still unfamiliar with dual joystick operation and three-dimensional operation, and operation is the basis of the core FPS experience. Therefore, the market environment determines the first need for FPS mobile games. Effective operation teaching.

In the product dimension, CF mobile games adhere to the original concept of restoring IP content and experience. New user experience content must be taken from the core IP gameplay. However, at that time there were many IP gameplays and each type of gameplay had a large number of loyal users. What about prioritizing content? Need to continue to investigate user attributes to answer.

After many market analysis and research, new users have nearly 80% of end-game IP experience users. The characteristics of such core users are: rich experience in gameplay, good operation, quick start, and strong content inclination and exploratory nature. In view of the potential core user experience requirements, the mainstream closed linear guidance at the time was not suitable, and the semi-open innovative guidance of the player’s optional order experience content was more friendly to the players.

Semi-open guidance of players’ choice of experience content

Through the analysis and investigation of market environment, game content, and user attributes, we have determined the expansion design direction with effective operation teaching, optional IP multi-core gameplay, and semi-open guidance as the core.

Effective teaching requires close integration with core gameplay. The FPS operation has many dimensions and high frequency, and the operation teaching needs to be disassembled carefully and gradually. Therefore, the preface created by the CF world view and the carefully created teaching scenes are used for step-by-step teaching; and promoted by the plot, a good teaching effect has been obtained. High-quality game content replaces tedious closed clicks, and the loss rate in the teaching process is lower than other mobile games.



High-quality prologue

The creation of self-selected content guidance for core users has also achieved good results. Nearly 40% of players have preferred the biochemical model with the highest threshold for operation and rule understanding, and the retention rate is the highest among several preferred models, which exceeds the expected low threshold for the mild model Retention will be better. However, the core FPS gameplay is based on single-game experience, and it is difficult to establish player stages and long-term goals. Therefore, a semi-open guidance method is selected. Closed connections can establish the system content of the goal, adjust the player experience rhythm, and establish a stage and long-term sense of goal. Long-term retention has steadily improved.

In the decision to be loyal to the core user experience, design a complete new system. During the test period, over 80% of users were retained for the second time, and the product was awarded a six-star product. After the launch, 70% of the users were retained for the second time, and nearly 50% for the second time, leading the similar products.

2. Rising period: user stratification, precise research and development

As the product has been in operation for nearly half a year, the early dividends have been exhausted. Unfortunately, something has happened. The new retention has been continuously reduced by 10%; exploring the reasons, rapid version content iteration and content updates, has caused the proportion of IP experience users to continue to decrease. There is a clear stratification of new users, and non-IP experienced users have become the mainstream.

With the influx of massive users, the games in the rising period have obvious clustering and stratification of user attributes. The precise design and development of different gameplay and systems for classified users is precisely research and development. In the CF mobile game on the rise, players are divided into IP users and non-IP users based on their IP attributes and user-friendliness, and corresponding gameplay and systems must be precisely developed for non-IP users.

CF mobile game user clustering and stratification

After in-depth research, it is found that non-IP experienced users are a veritable disadvantaged group, with high difficulty in operation and difficulty in understanding gameplay, and the CF mobile game is mainly in a zero-sum competitive mode. In the game of the two types of users, non-IP users are always at a disadvantage Experience.

First, optimize the problem of high threshold for non-IP users to get started. FPS operations are divided into three dimensions: moving, aiming/turning, and firing. The research found that the difficulty for players is to perform simultaneous two-dimensional or three-dimensional operations in a battle, so whether it is possible to design a gameplay that does not require simultaneous multi-dimensional operations to reduce the player’s ability to get started How difficult is the operation? After many explorations, the design uses terrain segmentation to minimize the movement and large steering operations, focusing on the gameplay of aiming and shooting; at the same time, the automatic fire mode is designed, the player only needs to aim at the enemy to shoot automatically, and players with handicapped can experience To the thrill of killing, get a fun game experience.

Gameplay design that does not require simultaneous multi-dimensional operations-automatic fire mode

Secondly, according to the novice guide who dynamically adjusts the content according to the player’s level, the players are scored and grouped by the system according to the game behavior, operation level, mode preference, etc., and the subsequent experience content is assigned, like a student. It is the first to achieve the effect of “teaching in accordance with their aptitude” Game, guide retention to improve effectively.



Dynamic guide flow chart

Finally, the matching rules are refined and the AI ​​logic is upgraded. The AI ​​Warm Game greatly reduces the frustration experience of new players, and can more accurately control the difficulty of the previous experience in a single game while maintaining the flow experience, and the long-term retained data is significantly improved.

In the long-term operation of the game, user portraits will continue to change and become more complicated. Designers need to accurately layer user attributes through data mining and user research, with obvious differences in IP attributes, ease of use, and mode preferences; the experience of new users The content directly determines the retention, and designers are required to layer by layer to create refined new experience content.

3. Platform period: long-term thinking, multi-dimensional design

CF mobile games have been in operation for more than 5 years, and the number of new users and the stability of retention are important factors for maintaining the active and long-term stability of the market.

CF Mobile Games adheres to long-term game design, maintains repetitive playability, while innovating in the game field and integrating with the entertainment industry. If repeat playability is to maintain the stability of active and returning users, then innovation in the game field and integration with the entertainment industry can continue to attract new users.

The influx of new users is accompanied by changes in user attributes and needs, and the new experience of the original design also needs to be adjusted quickly. Designers are required to predict the attributes and needs of new users, and combine multi-dimensional designs such as new guidance, gameplay content, commercialized resources, and market promotion in the new system to boost the game’s activity, expand the business field, and build more reputation for the game. To make contributions.

Share 2 cases of new products through multi-dimensional design:

The influx of new users is accompanied by changes in user attributes and needs, and the new experience of the original design also needs to be adjusted quickly. Designers are required to predict the attributes and needs of new users, and combine multi-dimensional designs such as new guidance, gameplay content, commercialized resources, and market promotion in the new system to boost the game’s activity, expand the business field, and build more reputation for the game. To make contributions.

Share 2 cases of product expansion through multi-dimensional new system design in long-term R&D:

1. In 2017, with the help of tactical competition, around new cloud users, product activity increased by 100%

The CF mobile game was the first to launch the desert island special training mode in 17 years. In response to the problem of a large number of new cloud users’ unclear understanding of the rules of the BR (tactical competition) mode, special guided teaching of the game rules was carried out, and AI was promoted. Game experience for new users. The BR model has a weak sense of long-term goals. The CF mobile game is the first to launch the BR ranking, setting stage and long-term goals, and the retention of new users of the BR attribute is gradually higher than that of the original competitive users. A large number of new users and good new retention have brought nearly 100% user growth to the product.

A large number of trigger teachings for tactical competitive gameplay processes and rules

2. With the help of the hot spots of web dramas, targeted service to new players attracted by web dramas, and breakthroughs in 5-year-old games

In the summer of 2020, the popularity of the “Cross Fire” web series attracted a large number of new users who followed the introduction of the series. Through research, it is found that this type of user has a low level of operation, but has a strong sense of introduction and a strong ability to pay. By introducing the characters and plots of online dramas into the main process content guided by novices, we enhance the immersion of online drama players and reduce the midway churn rate; at the same time, we guide players to experience the low-operation online drama mode to maintain continuous retention; and design star role sales, Attract the attention of plot players and pay stickiness.

New teaching and online drama models for online drama users

From novice teaching to content experience to commercialized content, a set of combos has retained new users of online dramas. Active in the summer With the help of a large number of new online users and stable retention, the activity of the old game that has been in operation for 5 years has once again broken through.

4. Future prospects

With the development of the market, products need to pay more and more attention to the collection and application of data. From scientific data collection and analysis, ABTest, to the application of algorithm models, data has always assisted designers to bring players a better gaming experience.

CF mobile games earlier used the ABtest program to obtain a better design of the new system. Through the construction of ABtest experimental facilities, data-driven design in content delivery, process design, target construction, etc., ensures the rationality of strategic adjustments, and Reduce the risk of strategy modification.

Looking forward to the pan-entertainment industry, Toutiao products rely on algorithm support, and the number of users continues to increase. Douyin’s new arrivals have reached 80%. As a game designer, you should be keenly aware that the algorithm can more efficiently match the interests and needs of each user, and on the basis of high-quality content, give users the best immersive experience. The attributes of users in the Red Sea market are becoming more and more complex, and new algorithms optimize the definition of user needs to achieve a high retention effect that varies from person to person. Although there may not be games on the market that use algorithm-based dynamic novice experience design, it is expected that this feature will inevitably become popular in the near future.

Finally, what we expect is not short-term retention but long-term activeness. The essence of the new system is to enable players to obtain the best gaming experience, keenly observe the changes in the market and user needs, and polish better game content with enthusiasm. Really flourish.

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