Creating A Successful MULTI-PLAYER GAME: Lessons From The Top Developers
Online multi-player games are now extremely popular. And each year, the number of players keep increasing, thanks to the widespread adoption of high-speed internet, and availability of smartphones and other electronic devices.
As a result, many of the top online multi-player games, are currently among the biggest revenue generators in the industry. Games like Fortnite, PUBG, and Clash of Clans, are regular names among the top grossing games every year. Some of these games make close to or more than a billion each year.
Creating a successful multi-player game like these games is not easy. There is no success formula or list of steps that aspiring developers can follow to create their own successful multi-player game along these lines.
Developers, however, can learn from the best. By dissecting and analyzing what made the top multi-player games a success, they can get valuable ideas for their own games. In this article, we are going to explore the techniques used by three multi-player games played widely around the world: Fortnite, Clash of Clans, and PUBG.
Players of Varying Skill Levels
Multi-player games will have people with varying skill levels. There will be the newbies, who are just playing the game for the first time. There will be the casual players, who play regularly to pass the time. There will also be experts, who have mastered various techniques within the game and are at the peak of their skill level.
Developers who want to create a successful multi-player game will benefit from keeping all these players in mind, and tailoring the gameplay experience so each type can have a great gameplay experience.
Fortnite, PUBG, and Clash of Clans are three games listed that have got this nailed down.
In all these games, there are players with varying skill levels. There are hordes of newbies who each are trying to build their skills, becoming better at playing the game each day. There are also experts who decimate any newbies they encounter. All three have gone to great lengths to make sure the needs of each type of gamer is taken care of.
One of the ways they do this is through skill-based match making. In Fortnite in particular, when a user starts a multi-player session, the game tries to match them with players of a similar skill level. This ensures that the player has a completive experience with those like them, while at the same time avoiding being dominated by other opponents who are far above their skill level.
The crucial way to monetize a multi-player game is by choosing a monetization strategy that is suitable to the audience. Being among the top earning games in the past few years, we can be assured that monetization is one thing that these three games have nailed down.
Fortnite’s monetization strategy revolves largely around cosmetic skins. Fortnite players can spend in-game money to get skins which change their appearance. The skins include popular superheroes, supervillains, and other well-known characters. Although, these do not add anything to the gameplay other than the visual aesthetic, users seem to love spending money on them.
The game also has in-app purchases in the form of loot boxes. Unlike the loot boxes in many other popular games, the content of the ones in Fortnite can be seen prior to making the purchase. So, users don’t have to take unnecessary risks.
Clash of Clans meanwhile, capitalizes mostly on the impatience of its users. The player sometimes has to wait for a timer to finish before they can proceed further. SuperCell have recognized that people would be willing to pay to remove these timers and have strategically monetized it. In addition to timers, players also spend money to improve their clan offences and defenses.
All three games are successful financially because they have selected a monetization strategy that works well for them, based on their userbase. They have identified their core audiences, what these audiences would be willing to pay for, and successfully monetized it.
The Right Platforms
Just as finding the right ideas and developing the right game, it is also important to find the right platforms to release a multi-player game in. Knowing these platforms (or platform) prior-hand will prove beneficial throughout.
The truth is, not all games will be suitable to be released on smartphones, PCs, and consoles at the same time. These devices and their user behavior vary wildly. So, if one’s multi-player game would work well only on one platform, then it makes sense to go for that platform alone. Afterall, they can be ported in the future if required.
Clash of Clans is an example for this. SuperCell has decided to release their game solely on mobile. They understand that their gameplay is suited more for smartphones and smartphone users. So, they have continued to develop for mobile platforms like Android and iOS, and haven’t ported to any of the others. And so far, it has worked well for them.
Fortnite on the other hand is released on numerous platforms. The battle royale game is currently available in a wide range of platforms ranging from Smartphones to consoles (Epic has even managed to get it released on the Nintendo Switch, something few developers have been able to do.) Their large userbase is precisely because these games are available on numerous platforms.
Either approach works as evident from the success of both games. The key is to find the right platforms that work with the gameplay experience one’s game provides.
Top multi-player games usually have a long shelf life. Their loyal players keep playing these games for a long time. Sometimes even years after the game is released.
In order to keep the players engaged and retain them, the developers must make sure that they continuously improve the game. This can involve optimizing several existing elements as well as adding new content on a periodic basis.
Since its release, Epic has introduced several new features into Fortnite Battle Royale, including skill-based match making and a separate game mode where players can play against computer-controlled bots to improve their gameplay skill. They also continuously add new cosmetic skins as well.
Epic has also announced that they listen to community feedback and analytics to finetune their game. They have reported that if they find that a particular weapon is overpowered for instance, they will finetune in a matter of time.
Clash of Clans and PUBG have also been improved since its release. Take a look at the older versions of these games, and one will see that they have improved and changed a lot since then.
When developing a successful multi-player game, listening to community feedback can be crucial. So, can be in-game analytics. Looking carefully into both will give developers the insights on where they can improve their game. It can give ideas as to which features the users like best and which least.
A Top Game Development Team
What every single one of these games have in common, however, is a top game development team behind their games. All these top game development companies credit their team for the immense success their respective game have received over the years. All these unique ideas and efforts have been thanks to them.
So, the most integral part of developing a successful multi-player game is to have a top game development team working on one’s project. By finding the right team, developers have a chance at creating a successful multi-player game.