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Report: State of live gaming in 2021

November 16, 2021 in Games | 5 min. read
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Rolling out fresh and exciting content has become expected for games of all sizes, but do we know if these updates are actually having a serious impact on success?

Studios that develop and manage live games know that deploying post-launch content is essential for long-term success. However, it can be difficult to plan for content that will resonate with players, especially when developers are focused on their game’s launch window. 

In our latest report on the state of live gaming in 2021, we gathered data from experts at Unity and Akamai to determine the impact of new content on player engagement, important growth strategies for studios, and insights on how to develop successful post-launch content. 

Here is a quick round-up of some of our key findings:  

Releasing new content can revitalize your player base

purple bar graph showing IAP impacts

Although it can be difficult for development teams to account for post-launch content planning early in their production cycle, rest assured that the efforts are bound to pay off. 

Our data shows that releasing new content and improving gameplay experience can have a massive impact on in-app purchase (IAP) revenues per player. In the graph above, we can observe that when looking at the timing one week before and after a content drop, mobile game studios can see an increase as high as 86% in IAP revenue and 75% in average revenue per daily active users (ARPDAU).

purple bar graph showing advertising impacts

Similarly, content releases have a positive effect on advertising metrics for mobile games using in-game ads. We observed that advertising revenue can increase by 10% in the week following a new content drop. 

Improving user experience can increase install rates

purple line graph showing install rate by app download size

While deploying new content is important, developers must also consider user experience to ensure that whatever they are shipping to players is being well-received. If players run into blockers before they’ve even accessed game content, they may churn, and developers’ efforts will be wasted. 

In this regard, one important element to consider is the size of content. We have observed that reducing app size can have a significant positive impact on install rates. 

As seen above, our data shows that if the app size balloons upwards of 500 MB, install rates begin to drop significantly and if an app crosses the 1 GB threshold, there is a 10% drop in install rate.

Gathering feedback from players is essential

man sitting at a computer chair looking a mobile phone

In a recent survey conducted by Unity which included respondents from studios of varying sizes developing games for all platforms, we found that the majority of developers think planning for content beyond the launch of their game is highly important. 

To build a successful post-launch content pipeline, most developers surveyed agreed that understanding player patterns and behaviors is crucial. There are three levers that developers could use to achieve this. 

Firstly, player feedback is key. Whether it’s collected through in-game surveys or through conversations with players online, many developers surveyed affirmed that keeping a finger on their community’s pulse is crucial for post-launch content planning. 

Second, maintaining long-term player engagement with regular content updates remains an essential tool for developers. Whether the ideas for this content were planned ahead of launch, determined by player feedback, or based on timely events (like a game’s milestones or public holidays), several developers in our survey agreed that this consistent output creates a virtuous cycle between developers and players. 

Finally, in addition to monitoring player feedback, many developers determined that analytics plays a key role in planning and deploying post-launch content. As one respondent pointed out, if players reach a cap in progression and enjoy their experience, this signals to the development team that these players need added layers of depth in future content updates.

Choosing the right tools can help you achieve your goals

Studios need to allocate the appropriate resources for each stage of the production cycle, and choosing the right third-party tools can greatly benefit team processes and productivity. 

Namely, Unity’s Cloud Content Delivery (CCD) uses cloud storage to alleviate the weight of new content updates intended for players, which in turn reduces app size and may significantly increase install rates. This can allow developers to focus on substance instead of size. 

Unity’s CCD combines cloud storage with powerful asset management and a reliable content delivery network (CDN) to deliver new content to your players as seamlessly as possible, essential for games that release content regularly. 

All of CCD customer content is deployed via Akamai’s CDN, which has an industry-leading number of points of presence (PoP) to guarantee the best possible experience for players. 

Akamai has deployed the most pervasive and high-distributed CDN with approximately 325,000 servers in more than 135 countries and nearly 1,435 networks around the world.

Learn more about the state of live gaming

To learn more about the insights listed above, or to dig deeper into our findings, click here to download the full state of live gaming in 2021 report. 

To learn more about Cloud Content Delivery, you can contact us here.

November 16, 2021 in Games | 5 min. read

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