It’s a well-established fact by now that games have a defined shelf life. Whether it be based on the fact some are seasonal affairs such as FIFA or on certain occasions where they lose relevance as a result of a social trend, it’s the job of game developers and publishers to keep players interested in as long as they can. Here are some of how it can be done.
One good way of keeping players interested in a respective game is through the usage of seasonal events. For example, a real staple of the shooter genre on PC, Team Fortress 2 has specific events dedicated to times throughout the year such as their Halloween promotion with themed weapons and hats. FIFA’s Ultimate Mode has various promos throughout the year to line up with key dates in the real-life calendar both in and outside of football.
For Halloween, EA usually hosts the ‘Ultimate Scream’ promotion, for Christmas, it’s ‘FUTMAS’ or ‘FUT Freeze’ in the case of FIFA 21. As the year progresses, new events appear such as dedicated events for the birthday of the Ultimate Team game mode. Or a run of special cards for players who’ve done well over the course of the season in the much-revered Team Of The Season promotion.
Involvement Of The Pros
Another way that developers can sustain interest can be through tournaments involving professional players. For example, Counter-Strike’s ESL tournaments can bring popular teams such as Fnatic and Team Liquid together. EA manages to keep players interested when it comes to supporting the associated e-sports tournaments through their gifting of in-game kits and badges that players can use to prove support for their favorite teams. In the case of CS: GO, various skin drops can occur that can keep players playing each week to unlock different skins for their guns.
Good Old Promotional Events
However, one of the best means for developers can be to run promotional events in a similar vein to what EA does with Ultimate Team for FIFA. Another great example of this has been the continued ties of Epic Games’ Fortnite with everything from comic franchises like Marvel and DC to football clubs such as Chelsea and West Ham United. Such tie-ins also broaden the potential player base for such games as it should also draw in supporters of those respective clubs as well as comic book fans too.
When it comes to using promotional events, it’s not only traditional PC and console games that make use of them to keep players interested. Other long-running forms of entertainment such as bingo have undergone forms of reinvention. This has in turn used promotional events for new themes for games to both entice new players and indeed keep those more longstanding ones too.
Bingo is one of those games that as a result of the variety of themes on offer has traditionally been good at keeping players involved, but promotional events are still useful in that regard. On this very point, Harrison Score from WDW Bingo states that “special promotions and spectacular slots competitions are vitally important for bingo operators and slot game providers to stand out in such an incredibly crowded market.”
It’s definitely fair to say that both game developers and publishers have multiple methods of keeping players interested. The employment of such strategies aim to prolong a respective game’s shelf life and can, if done right, be incredibly effective.