For the sake of time, I'll only talk about the basics of engagement.
Basically, a live game has a few critical components: Fun, engagement, and monetization. This is the engagement cycle that churns any billion-dollar live game. A game can't be engaging unless it's fun, and it can't be monetized unless it's engaging. And a game certainly can't be monetized properly if it's not fun (looking at you, Fallout 76).
Fun isn't enough, though. Engagement is wholly dependent upon social hooks and online interactions. It's incredibly important the game is designed to allow players to compete, play together, and communicate with each other in key ways--ie voice chatting, typing, teams, clans, etc. That way you can build an organic environment where players bounce off of each other, create memories, and have different experiences that vary, all while making connections, friends, and rivals along the way.
A big part of the engagement strategy is a progression system. It has to be grindy to inspire replayability. The more someone plays something, the more likely they are to embrace social interactions and keep playing. And the more they play, the more likely they are to "complete" the investment by spending money. They've already spent time to unlock characters and gear, so they could spend money to customize their outfits too. This is the monetization aspect that bleeds through, connects, and is dependent upon the other parts in the cycle.
Once the social aspects are designed, the game has to evolve continually. Live games will live or die based on their content updates. It's incredibly important a live game stays moving and doesn't stagnate. Usually, this happens with free updates that are funded by in-game microtransaction purchases. Games will massively expand over time with free content expansions and drops.
As more content drops, players are more likely to keep playing or return to check out the new stuff, kicking off the engagement cycle anew.
This content roadmap is so important that the games are literally built around them. Star Wars marks a fantastic engagement playground thanks to the films, and DICE had plenty of inspiration to grow and evolve Battlefront II. The team released over 25 updates in the last 2.5 years, which is no small feat. But all of that stops with tomorrow's Battle of Scarif update.
This is a big deal because Battlefront II will now effectively break the engagement cycle by stagnating, and runs the risk of losing monetization, visibility, and new engagement cycle triggers.
So...what game is going to take the baton from Battlefront II? Possibly EA Motive's new Star Wars project.
Last updated: May 5, 2020 at 08:13 pm CDT