Sent on March 18th, 2021.
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The Player ID is an account system that lets you create an account in a game, and then you can sign in and out of a game. With all your game progress tied to that account. Several developers have built these systems, and many have thought about implementing something like that.
In this piece, I want to explore how they seldom talked about the benefit of launching a Player ID system for your game.
The apparent benefits are pretty straightforward.
Your player support team can quickly identify and fix the player’s lost account. At Next Games, there used to be a constant stream of player support tickets about players losing their accounts. Maybe they’d bought a new phone and didn’t know how to get the account they had on their old phone to show up in a freshly installed version of the game.
Since we didn’t have a Player ID system in place, we had to manually hook up the old account to what was running on the player’s new phone. With a Player ID hooked up to the player’s email, we could immediately guide the player on what they had to do or send them to watch a Youtube video that explains the Player ID.
The developer has a direct email communications line with the player. Apple and Google will not share a lot of personal details about the users of their devices, but when you have a Player ID system in place, which requires an email, you will start to amass an extensive email address database.
The benefits of owning a direct relationship with your players, even though their email address, is enormous. Since I started Elite Game Developers in 2019, in the past 2.5 years, I’ve been able to collect over 5,000 email addresses. The open rate is constantly at about 50% when I send out an email. As a game developer, if you want to reactivate your lapsed players with offers or with a new game, an attractive email is a much better line of communication than push notifications.
How about running an IAP store outside of the app? With the Player ID, game developers can launch websites where they sell bundles and virtual goods directly to the players. The key here is that the store sits outside the mobile platform.
The way that the mobile platforms are allowing this activity is still in flux, but things look good for the developers. Supercell has already been running its store for a while now.
But here is a significant benefit that often doesn’t get talked about.
Players can create several accounts at ease. And they want to have several accounts. We’ve seen people playing Pokemon Go with these elaborate rigs where you have several phones running simultaneously.
|Gotta catch them all, on all phones.|
So, why would players want to set up and play several accounts?
1) To “game” the social features. Donate troops to your clanmates, send a daily gift to friends, etc. But instead of sending them to your “real” friends, you are sending them to your other account.
Much guild content requires dozens of active players in guilds to be performing, with a top-notch roster of characters. With multiple accounts, one player can push a guild to success by participating in a guild with all of their accounts.
2) Players who’ve played free-to-play games for months on end know how the long-term grind starts feeling. They can start and experience the early days again with a new account.
3) They can and will buy things with each account. They’ll go through the conversion bundle, the low-tier, the mid-tier, the $50 and $100 offers. This way, they can more quickly gain the benefits mentioned above in point one.
What does this mean to the developers?
You have a single player owning several accounts, but they are increasing LTV on each account, not only one where their progress has stalled. Stacked LTV is a reality.
|LTV looks good when it’s four accounts per player.|
You might wonder how many of your players will go through the process of creating several accounts? I believe it’s big, especially in games where social features like guilds need to have several players playing, with a roster of characters all leveled up, to beat the most demanding boss.
Even if you don’t have elaborate social features, players will be motivated for several reasons, like experiencing the early gaming once more have a chance to beat the manageable levels again. Or they are just playing the game differently.
How will the Player ID benefits relate to the emerging web3 gaming? I can think of two ways:
1) Guilds are becoming a dominant force in web3 gaming. Similarly, a multi-account participant wanting to avoid the limitations of the game (i.e., appointment mechanics, progression per play hour, etc.) will “game” the game with multi-accounts.
2) Sooner or later, CAC to LTV will find its way to web3, and enabling players to form multiple accounts, and experience the early gameplay, will benefit the game developer in its efforts to combat a longer ROAS payback window.
Think about it: what could be a better way to save free-to-play from further and further ROAS paybacks?
I wish I could promote a Player ID provider, offering this tech off the shelf. If you know of one, let me know in a LinkedIn DM 🙂
Get my book, “Long Term Game: How to build a video games company” from Amazon. Available on Kindle, audiobook and paperback. Check it out!
Hugo Obi — Gaming in Africa
In this discussion, we talk about the gaming ecosystem in Africa, how are things developing on the consumer side and the development side. We also talk about Hugo’s founder journey in gaming and what Hugo sees as the next steps in growing the games industry in Africa.
Listen to the full episode by going here.
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- Ask Me Anything #8
- Building games with stellar execution
- Be paranoid and stay in the game
- and more
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+ How to find your zone of genius — “A lot of people find themselves in that very situation, spending their time on tasks that drain their energy, fully convinced that there’s no other way. There is another way: to find your zone of genius, and to progressively move to a job where you spend 80% of your time in it. Hat tip to Matt Mochary who shared this method with me years ago.”
+ Skills vs. Personality — “Personality is the “effectiveness driver” for any team. Hence, from my perspective, the most challenging aspect of a PM’s role has always been driving results through execution. I believe execution most critically relies on specific personality traits.”
+ Great Talks Most People Have Never Heard — “This list is organized by presenter name and then speech topic. Click the links below to jump to a specific speech. On each page, you’ll find a full transcript of the speech as well as some additional background information.”
Quote that I’ve been thinking about
“You can accomplish anything in life, provided that you do not mind who gets the credit.”
— Harry S. Truman
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I hope you have a great weekend!
PS. Come see me in Istanbul at the end of March! https://www.deconstructoroffun.com/istanbul