Why is loyalty higher among mobile RPG and strategy gamers?

Loyalty is challenging to obtain and maintain in the world of mobile games, but a recent report revealed that RPG and strategy games are remarkably good at this. Let’s take a look and attempt to analyze the reasons behind that.

The mobile game industry is usually and widely identified with casual and hyper-casual games, but it has much more to offer than just that. Mobile game devices also go far beyond cell phones. Still, the advancement of cell phones, the most versatile and widely used mobile device, enabled the mobile game industry to expand into other genres that demand more processing power.

The widespread use of advanced mobile devices that can utilize complex graphics and high processing power dramatically extended the reach of the mobile game industry and its potential customer pool. It also lets other companies in the different fields of the industry that focus on more complex games get into the industry. These changes in the industry dynamics introduced a new kind of audience while also changing its statistics and characteristics. 

Now, just like in other fields of the industry, there are casual gamers who don’t intend to invest too much in games, and there are avid, even hardcore gamers who exactly act contrarily. And RPG and strategy gamers come forth when it comes to loyalty. The reason behind that claim is a report by Mistplay. Mistplay is a play-to-earn mobile application that allows users to earn rewards for playing games on their phones. Its “2023 Mobile Gaming Loyalty Report” report reveals interesting and enlightening statistics.

The report depends on data from various sources and the data from millions of app users. Data from a survey of 3000 players accompanies that. In short, it’s a comprehensive report on the subject, but our focus is more on the reasons behind the report’s results. So our ultimate question is: What makes RPG and strategy players more loyal and profitable compared to the audience of other genres?

Beyond Casual: The Rise of Loyal RPG and Strategy Fans in Mobile Gaming

RPGs are renowned for their ability to provide players with profound, immersive experiences. Unlike many other genres, RPGs often go beyond superficial or single-dynamic gameplay, immersing players in rich storylines, complex character development, and expansive virtual worlds. This depth of experience creates a lasting impression on players.

How RPGs and Strategies Hook and Hold Players in Mobile

Beyond their immersive narratives and gameplay, RPGs frequently incorporate robust multiplayer elements, elevating the gaming experience by fostering connections and collaborations in expansive virtual worlds. The inclusion of multiplayer features in RPGs transforms solitary gaming sessions into vibrant social experiences where players can interact, cooperate, and compete with others who share a passion for the game.

Immersive Worlds and Collaborative Spirit in RPGs

Players have the opportunity to form alliances, embark on epic quests as a team, and strategize together to overcome in-game challenges. These collaborative endeavors not only enhance the gameplay but also create a sense of camaraderie among participants. The bonds formed within these virtual communities often exceed the game itself as players share their gaming experiences, strategies, and in-game achievements.

The community and social dynamics embedded in RPGs create an environment where players are active participants in a shared adventure. This social dimension, with its collaborative spirit and shared achievements, plays a pivotal role in establishing a loyal player base within the RPG genre.

Social Drivers of Loyalty in Strategy Games

Strategy games, securing the second position in Mistplay’s Loyalty Index, present a different yet equally compelling appeal for players. The genre’s emphasis on strategic thinking, decision-making, and competitiveness contributes to the dedicated player base that finds fulfillment in the intellectual challenges presented by these games.

At the core of strategy games lies the appeal of strategic thinking and competitiveness. Unlike genres that focus primarily on reflexes or narrative-driven experiences, Strategy games challenge players to plan, make decisions, and outsmart opponents. This intellectual aspect fosters a dedicated player base that revels in the mental stimulation provided by the genre.

Balancing Complexity with Monetization for Long-Term Success

Socialization and customization features drive repeat purchases and average sessions per user. Strategy games, with their strong spending mechanics intertwined with social and customization elements, elevate the overall gaming experience. The ability to customize strategies, units, or even entire virtual realms adds a personalized touch that resonates with players, enhancing their connection with the game.

The Sunk Cost Advantage of RPGs and Strategies

The report reveals distinct behaviors among high-value spenders in Strategy games. Players who invest over $100 in mobile games are 55% more likely to spend money to maintain competitiveness with other players. This highlights the dedication of Strategy gamers to in-game advancement and competition, creating a vibrant and competitive community within the genre.

Strategy games often require long-term planning and decision-making, cultivating a player base that values foresight and strategic prowess. The satisfaction derived from successfully executing a well-thought-out strategy contributes to a sense of accomplishment, encouraging players to return for more strategic challenges.

As it’s clear so far, almost every inherent aspect and dynamic of the RPG and strategy genre needs the players to invest time and effort to play or even start playing the game. This is a known phenomenon called the “sunk cost fallacy” or Concorde fallacy. It’s the opposite of “cutting losses,” and it’s still debated if it’s valid or not, but it goes as follows: If someone invests time and money into something, they are more likely to invest more and less likely to quit. 

RPG and strategy games have so many opportunities to encourage the players to invest time and effort. But there is a pitfall here where so many AAA game developers and publishers fall into: These inherent characteristics of the genre mean that they also need time, effort, and funds to develop. This is why slapping cutting-edge graphics alone won’t make a game in these genres successful. The competitiveness and complexity of these games also allow a mixture of non-intrusive – or less intrusive, at least – monetization methods as long as they don’t step into the boundaries of play-to-win. This increases the average revenue per customer (ARPU) along with loyalty, making them more profitable in the long term.

Above all, they are more fulfilling and satisfying compared to other genres. Casual gamers just play games to chill for a while, maybe a couple of hours, but when gamers invest time above a certain threshold in a game, they seek a greater sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This is one of the reasons why hyper-casual developers are expanding or even switching into the hybrid-casual genre. They struggle to aim the gamers who are willing to invest more time and money into games. 

All in all, these are very enlightening findings for game developers and publishers, but the pros and cons must be carefully considered because these genres demand investment from the developers as they do from the gamers and are more rewarding for both.

NEXT: Voodoo vs. Kwalee on hyper-casual

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