What are live ops and why involving Localization in LiveOps is a good idea
Last Friday returning to Spain I found myself on a 4-hour flight that after having been working on a plane a good while, and then extra time reading, my brain needed to disconnect.
When that happens to me, it's time to take my iPad and start watching some Netflix episode of the different series that I follow, or, play games on my mobile.
When I picked up my iPad I realized that I forgot to download new episodes; so the possibility of watching how the adventures of The Byrdes in Ozark advance (one of the last series that I have begun to follow recently) vanished.
OK, no problem ! I have so many games on my mobile that I'm sure I'll be entertained for the rest of the flight. Well, no!
A lot of the games I usually play they required Internet connection, and after a while of playing games that do not need Internet connection I'm bored again; that's when I realize that games I like the most, are the ones that they have special events, known in the argot as LiveOps; and then it's when I grab the laptop again and start to draft ideas, and I think that at that moment I decide what the topic of my weekly post is 🙂
What are live ops and why involving Localization in live ops is a good idea
First things first; What are LiveOps in video games?
A pretty straightforward definition might be:
The process of making a video game is no longer: develop, then launch and then we are done. Far from it.
The process of creating video games (heavily oversimplified) is as follow; the game team struggles a lot during x months/years to create a video game; but finally, the game is released; and it's a great success, and people love it; and the team gets a few bottles of champagne, and everyone celebrates success; Yay! Happy days!; Thousands of users, no, more, better said millions of players love our game !; they play it every day! ... Until they stop playing it; Suddenly what was playing every day becomes once a week; and then, They do not play anymore; Oops, that hurts! so much effort …and in a few weeks we lost players??? Downloads slow to a trickle and then dry up completely. And what now?
Do we really need to start creating again another game from scratch? There might be a better way, right?
Of course, LiveOps to the rescue!
Live Ops allow making the game as it exists more engaging.
Live Ops are usually events for a limited period of time where we can complete special missions, collect loots or improve our troops by receiving more gold (or any other soft currency) to improve our player profile.
It's all around refreshing the content. That's what LiveOps are.
And what are not lLiveOps? LiveOps are not new games mechanic, it's not new heroes skills, it's not bug fixing and more.
That's not LiveOps, because that would require important game code changes.
Now that we have explained what LiveOps are (and are not) let me cover which are the main benefits of LiveOps
There are many, but for simplicity let's keep it to the magic number 3
1. Player engagement and retention - I get bored when I've been playing the same game for a few weeks, it seems monotonous, LiveOps help precisely that, for people like me who are bored with a game to keep getting hooked, so we can maximize the ROI of the game. I've been playing Clash of Clans for 4 years, a game that makes many LiveOps through the year. If Clash of Clans had not done so many LiveOps, 3.9 years ago I'm sure I would have quitted the game! It is undoubted that the games that have more LiveOps age better.
2.- We can know much better our players. Game analytics provide many metrics to track and analyze
I can track all the actions in a game, those are our metrics and it really helps to monitor players behaviors. This way we are able to use more powerful ideas to target and segment the players, and we can offer custom content later to give them more value.
Maybe we can send a gift to certain players based on the behaviors analyzed? Why not! Sharing is caring! And we'll be able to care more and share relevant stuff once we know more about our players, LiveOps metrics help to that.
3.- Boost monetization - That LiveOps are a very effective way to earn money is something that should not surprise us. LiveOps are a very reliable source when it comes to providing benefits to a company's budget. In some cases, LiveOps can produce up to 50% profit !. More details HERE
And how Localization can help LiveOps with the ultimate goal of Boost Monetization?
Quite "simple" 🙂
Many LiveOps first step is creating a schedule. The foundation of LiveOps start with a calendar that includes particular holidays or events of the year, or something related to a country that is relevant. Different countries have different holidays, and this gives us an excellent opportunity to practice one of the mantras of our industry. Think Global act local.
Game teams engaging with Globalization team can work together to understand which are the most popular festivities around the world and they can craft some campaign just for those targeted countries.
St. Patrick's Day, Golden Week, Oktoberfest, Chinese New Year ... all these events give us an excellent opportunity to Think Global and Act local, remember this when crafting the next LiveOps for your game, your Localization colleagues might help you to boost your metrics!
Before closing this post I want to leave some final comments and some videos that I believe they might help you to get a good grasp and much better understanding of LiveOps.
• Design your game with LiveOps in mind
• Pay attention to the in-currencies prices to make monetization more effective
• Collaborate with marketing teams to expand the reach of the LiveOps campaign (cross promos between games in LiveOps campaigns tend to work smoothly)
The videos to dig deeper
I hope you found this post useful, for me it's been, as time flew writing this post, even when no having new Netflix episodes to watch or new game with LiveOps to play 🙂
Have a great week and as always feel free to leave your comments below!