Jul

8

The 7 Biggest Annoyances for Social Gamers

Mark Stephens

Today it’s time to vent! Admit it, there have been times when you wanted to smash your iPhone or S3 to bits with a claw hammer? It was only the fact that it’s so beautiful (and expensive) that you spared its life. Yep, despite our endless love and devotion to these little darling devices, there are plenty of little annoyances with them and the apps that we run on them. It’s bad enough when we can’t work because email isn’t synching properly. The last thing we need is, while relaxing and kicking back playing a social game or two, a whole new set of grievances bug us. So what are the biggest annoyances for social gamers and what should game developers ensure they DON’T do?

mobile

1. Too Many Ads

Most gamers understand that, if a game is free, there are likely to be some ads; after all, the developers need to make a crust. But one thing that the social media ‘revolution’ doesn’t take kindly to is constantly being bombarded with ‘Buy Me’ messages. Funny, entertaining ads may get a bit more leeway with gamers but, if you’re a developer, over-doing the ads could be gaming suicide.

2. Being Dogged to Buy In-Game Purchases

In-game purchases are fine and, of course, it’s a very accepted way to monetise games. The average revenue per paying user in the US in May 2013 was $12 – and in-game purchases were a big part. However, overdoing it again will drive players away. Creating a good balance between making it easy for potential purchasers to buy and maintaining the pleasure of the gaming experience is the name of the game!

3. Waiting Around – Nobody or No Bot to Play

One of the beauties of social games is that you can ostensibly play anyone, anytime, anywhere. If it feels like you can’t play anybody, anywhere, ever…. then it becomes a bore. Having to wait too long for potential competitors to join the network is a big no-no for players and they will simply move on. New games that haven’t yet built a large network can get around this by offering gameplay against a robot, to kill time as well as practice against an expert.

4. “What Do I Do Next?”

Short attention spans are notorious amongst social gamers. Unless the game is easy to download and the rules are easy to understand then you may be limiting the potential audience; the average mobile and social gamer is not a highly technical gamer who is prepared to read through forum posts to find how to improve their game. Keeping it simple and understandable is a good start.

5. Bad English or Misleading App Descriptions

We have nothing against other languages – Monekybin is Norwegian, after all. But English is the international language of games, so make sure your app descriptions and in-game texts are comprehensible and accurate, even if perfect grammar is not possible. Otherwise they may be misleading. Players hate to download apps only to find that they didn’t get what they were expecting.

6. Freezing

Obviously if your game keeps freezing then it needs attention. Nothing will drive away users quicker than this technical problem so do your testing thoroughly on all the relevant devices before releasing the game and possibly earning a bad reputation.

7. Not Challenging Enough

Simplicity is one thing – and it’s great if your game is easy to follow and to start playing. However, the element of challenge is huge in social gaming, so how do you keep users interested and coming back? You need an active and sustainable network of players, not a great first reaction followed by a gradual drift away because they’ve mastered it. Different levels and new features should be introduced regularly to keep things spicy and challenging.

Any one of the above errors can damage your game. More than one and your game could be in real trouble. Of course you can always improve your game once it’s released – this happens regularly – but make sure that any damage is limited: being the reason why someone took a hammer to their phone is not good advertising.