WHO MAKES LIVE SERVICE GAMES RUN?
Updated: Nov 16
Is your team launching a live service game? Or maybe you've played one for a longer time and have occasionally found yourself thinking:
"Wowza! I sure like this game a lot! And it's really big! And there's constant updates and events! How are they pulling this off?"
Maybe you don't talk with that many exclamation points but you get the idea.
No matter the scope of the game, making and running an "LSG" is a colossal undertaking and requires some key players on your team.
These are a few from outside the development team that sometimes might be overlooked:
Your Engagement Manager will develop and implement strategies for how to make players stick around and engage with your game. This could entail both events surrounding the game to increase its lifecycle, or initiatives to make sure the game stays profitable. They can also manage relationships with current and potential new external partners that can help expand the reach of the game.
The Community Manager for a live service game especially is more important than ever, considering that communities for these games tend to grow quite big.
The CM will be crucial for building and maintaining the relationship between developer and player. Interacting with the community through social media, forums, and other platforms is expected, so that players feel listened to when they give feedback. The CM also has to collect this feedback and present it in digestible ways to developers so that your game can be improved in the long run. Should a crisis occur either to the game itself or in the community, the Community Manager should always be on call to inform and address the player base or resolve conflicts when possible.
Chances are your game will live on multiple storefronts, and the Release Manager will make sure these are all running smoothly. They should be communicating and working with platform holders to deliver game builds or assets when necessary, or making sure the presentation of the game is always up-to-date when new updates are pushed. The Release Manager should also relay statistics from the platform holders back to the dev team and Engagement Manager, such as install numbers and player regions. Data Analyst
To get an accurate insight into how your game is actually performing and can be improved, a Data Analyst is indispensable. You might even need two kinds!
They should be keeping tabs on every trackable number possible so their team members have the most accurate data: Login and logout information to see for how long players stick around and what times are most populated, retention time in the store section to see what items are drawing most attention etc.
In an online shooter for example, you will want someone tracking in-game stats for balancing purposes. What game modes, maps or loadouts do players tend to choose Are they offering an unfair advantage you have overlooked? By gathering data on player kills and deaths, you acquire valuable insights for identifying the game's choke points.
While not always necessary depending on whether your game is featuring microtransactions or not, a Monetization Designer can sometimes be the specialist you need. As advertised, they will design the game's microtransaction system, which can include setting prices for items or structuring which and how often rewards are given out. These all depend on platform, budget, player data and other factors.
They also work closely with other members of the development team to make spending money in-game as effortless and enjoyable as possible. As sinister as it may sound, their goal - just like the Engagement Manager - is to make players engage with and spend as much money on the game as possible. This ultimately will involve some degree of sales tactics.
In conclusion, a dedicated crew and teamwork is needed to make sure a live service game runs smoothly If done right however, they give players something really special to keep coming back to for years.
Thanks for reading!