How Can a Game Designer Increase User Engagement

We sat down for a quick chat with Goldy (just like Sting or Jamiroquai, he doesn’t have a last name) – co-founder at the Playful Shark game development studio. We wanted to pick his brain to better understand what’s important to game designers (hint: engagement) and what you should give your gamers in order to gain their loyalty.

Hi Goldy, please tell us about Playful Shark
Playful Shark is a game design studio, founded 8 years ago. We create games for brands and companies who wish to create different and interactive channels to their users. Currently we  are proud of over 90 games we have developed for our clients. In addition, I am a founder at GameIS (The Israeli Game Industry Association) and teach game design at Shenkar College of Engineering and Design.

When did you start using Captain Up in your games, and which game? The first app/game I integrated Captain Up into is called “Bulls & Bears.” It’s a gamified course about finance and practical economy. In fact, Captain Up serves as its progression and scoring platform, turning the user experience into something completely different. It upgraded the app from a simple course into a game. Instead of a boring lecture, it turned into a friendly competition and offered the users new rewards and an in-app economy, encouraging them to make progress.

What features have you found most useful?
With “Bulls & Bears” our main focus was mission completion. The Captain Up economy and progression logic helped us lead and motivate the users in the right direction which is course completion. The rewards system and missions made the users discover more content in the app and exposed them to more available options.

Bulls_and_bears_captureCaptain Up provides a set of excellent engagement tools”

In which cases do you recommend integrating Captain Up in games
Well, whenever you want to avoid development tasks such as adding points and leaderboard. Captain Up offers off-the-shelf gamification solutions, enabling game developers to focus on their core specialties rather than spending valuable development time on peripheral tasks.

In your opinion, what is your most valued KPI that Captain Up provided a solution for?
That’s an easy one: retention. Captain Up provides a set of excellent engagement tools, helping game developers guide their players through their content, and encouraging players to discover more of it, by rewarding them. The rest, in my opinion, is a bonus.

From your experience, why is it important to build a community around games?
A social feed makes your game come alive, it creates a competitive atmosphere between the players. They are no longer “alone,” they become a part of something vibrant and dynamic. This aspect alone upscales the game’s appeal and attraction.

[bctt tweet="A social feed makes your game come alive, it creates a  competitive atmosphere between the players."]

What would be your most valued advice for the novice game developers in the audience?
As I see it, the player wants to feel that the developer knows they exist. The community playing the game is looking for the constant connection with the developer, to feel that they care about their creation just like players do when playing it.

Captain Up offers communication tools to let the users know that they are a part of a community, that somebody is thinking about them and delivering. The platform actually lets the developers be present in the game and gives them an in-game communication channel with the players.

Can you sum up for us why a game developer reading this interview should integrate Captain Up in their games?
For a couple of reasons: It offers easy customization on the fly, no coding required; flexibility, no new versions to be released in; and it comes with optimized pre-defined leveling and pacing. For a developer looking to focus on creating the game while still offering players gamification features, this is probably the best solution today.

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