In the highly competitive world of online gaming, developers and publishers must do everything they can to attract players. Once you get their attention, the first 30 minutes are critical to engaging and keeping those players. The following list suggests 10 best practices for improving the online game experience to increase retention rates.

1: Speed-up downloads to get players into the game faster.
Use an online gaming focused CDN (content delivery network) with a faster connection times and higher sustained throughout, optional P2P (peer-to-peer) technology, and an advanced download manager to increase the speed of the game download and reduce abandonment.

2: Engage players during initial download.
Create a branded download experience that includes character development, storytelling, weapon selection and other content so players are engaged during the download and wont leave before they play the game.

3: Improve the point of play experience.
Use a full featured game launcher to offer updates, new content, keep players informed, and monetize free to play games with advertising or special offers. Each time the player launches the game you have an opportunity to improve their experience.

4: Keep all players on the current version.
No patch, no play. Use an advanced game updater and patching solution to publish new versions and add additional game content efficiently.  By selecting a full-featured solution you can also perform byte level and non-linear patching.

5: Measure twice, reconfigure once.
Making changes to the game experience should not be guesswork.  Advanced delivery analytics enable you to test completion ratios, download speeds, regional delivery data and more.  By testing and retesting to the results you can make changes to the game download experience that will effect player acquisition, retention and monetization.

6: Secure your game, while making approved access simple.
You’ve invested heavily in your online game, so protecting it is paramount. Doing so at the CDN level allows you to keep unauthorized players out without making it difficult for your approved players to play.

7: Monetize in ways that add value for the player.
Make online game play more affordable and accessible by implementing creative monetization strategies. By providing gamers with incentives to view advertising such as content, weapons, virtual currency, etc., you enhance the game while also creating a new revenue stream.

8: Improve satisfaction by connection players to the best server.
Make online games more responsive by leveraging real user measurement (RUM) to connect individual players to the game server with the best connectivity. Happy gamers spend more time and more money.

9: Shine during your game launch.
Nothing is more important than the initial launch of your game.  Lean on the experience of a gaming focused content delivery provider to plan and execute a global launch that guarantees server up-time, avoids bottlenecks, includes regional focused capacity planning and more.

10: Save money and reinvest in the game.
Don’t get caught up in managing infrastructure, monitoring servers and developing complicated download, update and patching solutions.  By outsourcing these tasks you not ony save money, you free up developer resources to focus on creating new game, adding content to existing games and ultimately adding value for your company.

Top 10 Ways to Improve the Online Game Experience

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By Barry Whitley, Director of Solutions Architecture
Barry Whitley