LiveOps in games as a trend of 2023: expert interview
Our interview today features Michael Khripin, an experienced producer and product owner in the gaming industry for over a decade. Michael has contributed his expertise to such gaming companies as Nexters, Wargaming, and Drimmi, working on social, mobile, and browser games. He specializes in F2P online games with a deep understanding of advanced monetization strategies. he INCYMO.AI team recently had the opportunity to ask Michael about LiveOps, and here’s what he shared with us:
Hi, Misha! Today, I’d like to delve deeper into the topic of LiveOps. It appears to be a trend in 2023, and there’s a sense that mobile game developers will increasingly embrace LiveOps as a standard practice. What do you think about this thesis?
I believe this isn’t just a trend of the current year. In fact, LiveOps has been popular for approximately a 10 years now. Over this time, we’ve witnessed a progression from simplicity to complexity. Nowadays, there’s indeed a greater focus on mechanics and practical implementation. The emergence of new tools has made the process more convenient, efficient, easy and streamlined. It appeared more fresh ideas, practices, and testing, LiveOps is clearly evolving.
LiveOps is more than just a trend. Trends tend to come and go, but LiveOps is poised to become a fundamental aspect of game development, seamlessly integrating into mainstream practices. Its staying power indicates that it’s here to stay, rather than fading away like a typical trend.
Let’s delve deeper into the concept of LiveOps. Could you please explain us the term LiveOps?
LiveOps (short for Live Operations) refers to the ongoing management and maintenance of an already launched game. The term “Live” emphasizes the fact that the game is actively played by users on a daily basis, making it crucial for the game to continuously evolve and adapt. The primary objective of LiveOps is to consistently engage players by demonstrating that the game is alive and constantly evolving.
LiveOps itself is part of the game, as a business, and any business is aimed at making money. It turns out that the elements of LiveOps are primarily geared towards maximizing the game’s revenue. With effective and regular implementation of LiveOps strategies, it’s possible to significantly increase the game’s earnings, often doubling the revenue. However, the extent of this revenue boost depends on the specific game and genre. It’s important to set up LiveOps correctly from the outset and maintain ongoing focus on this aspect to achieve such revenue growth.
And what are the components of LiveOps?
The key component of LiveOps is events. These events are what sets apart this aspect of the game from its daily routine, offering users additional entertainment elements that bring a fresh experience each day.
Events come in various forms, with different plots, themes, visual designs, and storylines. The constant introduction of new events keeps the game dynamic and prevents users from getting bored.
Events have great significance! For example, in the industry, the rule of good form is the creation of events dedicated to global holidays. In addition, the developers separately develop events for every day, and, depending on the production in the game, they create routine events not related to common holidays. In free-to-play games, events are super important: they serve to diversify gameplay and not just generate revenue.
Events can take on different contexts and encompass a range of features. They may involve discounts, sales, competitions, gifts, new story chapters, content presentations, or branching storylines. The choice of event type depends on the game’s mechanics and the variety of resources available to players. For instance, simple discounts on resource purchases can be implemented around specific mechanics and resources.
For example, an effective approach to events involves launching accompanying presentation events whenever new content is introduced in the game. This not only pleases players but also gives the impression of a vibrant, evolving game that cares for its community.
Overall, there can be numerous event types, but it is important that the game developer must correctly arrange them on the calendar – determining the sequence of events, the alternating types of events, and their potential combinations are crucial factors to consider. Sequencing and combining event types can create interesting synergies, where one event complements another.
Another crucial element of LiveOps is community management. Careful preparation and announcements for each event are important, as well as engaging with players, preparing them for the event, and communicating its release.
During the event, the support department must be aware of the launch in order to quickly help the players in case something breaks or goes wrong, or the players have questions.
Following the event, the analytics department enters the picture. The department is responsible for collecting data, analyzing results, and gaining insights into what worked and what didn’t. Based on this analysis, they provide recommendations for future launch.
This cyclical process continues as long as the game is active, making LiveOps an ongoing loop.
Why is LiveOps of great significance then?