There are two kinds of mobile games in general: games built to last only a few months and games built for the long haul. The main difference between the two is in terms of content. Or more specifically, content periodically released after launch, which is otherwise known as post-release content. The former is usually devoid of post-release content, while the latter features a lot of it.
In this article, we’ll talk about why post-release content is an important ingredient to consider when developing a mobile game. We’ll also list down the five types of post-release content typically deployed by many developers, both big-name and indie. We hope by the end of this article, you will have a full grasp on why post-release content should never be ignored.
Why is post-release content important?
IT KEEPS THE GAME INTERESTING: You need to make sure your game doesn’t become stagnant or boring too quickly and fizzle out in just a few months. And the best way to do that is to regularly add new post-release content. Keeping your game interesting is the key to user retention. There are hundreds of games out in the market, one reason why getting your game to the top echelon is difficult in the first place. People won’t hesitate to look into other options if they feel your game no longer has anything to offer.
Of course, the additional content that you put up should be really interesting as well. Don’t include new content just for the sake of adding something. Don’t bank on content rehashes and carbon-copies of previous content to keep things afloat, either. Having new but forgettable content is the same as having no new content at all. Remember, quality over quantity.
IT ADDS LONGEVITY TO THE GAME: This is kind of related to the above point. If you want your game to stay in the spotlight for more than a few months, it needs to have more content for users to enjoy. Even if your game has an incredibly addicting gameplay that can make users go nuts for hours, it’s unlikely to last more than a year if the content is as shallow as someone’s wallet after a week of Steam summer sales. The longer your game can keep users hooked, the better chances you have of earning money from it.
Take Valve’s Team Fortress 2 for example. It was released almost 10 years ago (October 2007). Yet, it still has a very active community and remains a popular title in the first-person shooter genre to this day. A number of factors have contributed to Team Fortress 2’s longevity and one of them is Valve’s continued release of content packs, which come in different sizes.
IT SHOWS THAT YOU STILL CARE: If you completely abandon your game, users will follow suit. No sense in sticking around when the developer no longer cares about the game, right? Regularly added new content is an obvious sign that you’re still concerned about the user experience and that you’re committed to continuous improvement. People invest time in your game. It’s your job to make sure that your game is worth their time or money if your game has a price tag.
One of the best ways to show that you care is by listening and attending to specific requests by users. For example, if users have been asking you to add a new battle arena to your fighting game because the current options have become too repetitive, introduce a couple of new ones. If you want ideas for future content, you can start by checking out the feedback left by users on Google Play or the Apple App Store. Both are great places to look for ideas on how to improve your game in general.
IT BOOSTS YOUR REPUTATION: Adding post-release content works similarly to after-sales customer service. A lot of good products out there get bad reviews and low ratings because of terrible after-sales customer service, which sometimes prompts consumers to return the bought product. That kind of stuff often leads to damaged reputations. The same thing can be said for mobile games.
If you put user experience front and center and regularly add interesting new content to make sure everyone is having fun, people will take notice of your actions. Having a good reputation will be a tremendous help for your future projects. If in the past, you have shown that you’re pretty good at taking care of users and that you’re not just out to make money off your game, people will be more than willing to try out your new game. Which, of course, leads to more success for you.
There are tons of competition in the mobile gaming scene. Getting your name to stand out among hundreds of other developers, big and small, takes a lot of hard work. One good way to get recognition is by taking care of users, which includes adding new content for them to enjoy. So don’t be stingy when it comes to post-release content.
Types of post-release content
In general, there are five ways of approaching post-release content. Let’s take a look at each of them:
FREE CONTENT: This is pretty much self-explanatory, really. Free content is a type of post-release content that doesn’t require users to fork over real-world money. It can come in huge content packs or minor ones. The kind of content included depends on the game. For example, in a racing game, one of the best genres for mobiles, new content typically comes in the form of new vehicles and racetracks. In a fighting game, new fighters, costumes, and battle arenas. And in a role-playing game, new weapons, armor, and even dungeons. Obviously, free content is for everybody.
PAID CONTENT: This is the exact opposite of free content (duh!). Most mobile games nowadays come with in-app purchases, which are usually add-ons that can make things easier in-game. Though many of them are merely cosmetic items that don’t affect the gameplay at all. You can think of post-release content that comes with a price tag as new stocks for your in-game store.
LIMITED-TIME CONTENT: A limited-time post-release content is the combination of the above two types (sort of). Many developers offer new items that can only be achieved within a set time-frame. Oftentimes, they come in limited quantities as well. Users typically get their hands on these limited-time items by completing specific in-game tasks. Once the promo period ends, these items will no longer be available to anyone. Well, that or they head straight to the in-game store and appear as in-app purchases. Adding limited-time content is a good way to excite users.
CONTEST PRIZES: This type of post-release content usually applies to competitive games that feature local and/or online multiplayer. Contest prizes are exactly what they are: items granted to users who participate in a competition and come out either on top or as one of the top (insert number here) performers. Contest prizes are usually exclusive items that can’t be obtained in any other way.
THEMED CONTENT: A themed content is very similar to free content. The only difference is that the content included is based on a specific theme. For example, during Christmas season, many developers launch Christmas-themed items and other free goodies.
You can use one or all of these post-release content types, depending on your game. We recommend using at least two of them. At Forest Interactive, we can help you monetize from your existing mobile subscribers and turn them into active gamers to your portal that we will fully manage. This requires zero effort from your side. Find out more HERE