Adding Live Events to Your Game
Live events encourage player engagement by offering new ways of interacting with your game and receiving rewards. Learn how to plan, present, and promote live events in your game to help grow your business.
A live event introduces a new way for players to interact with your game and receive rewards for a specific period of time. This is part of a larger live operations strategy to keep the game fresh with timely enhancements, such as new content or limited-time offers. Hosting live events in your game encourages players to engage more deeply with new challenges and incentives related to core gameplay, which helps support other goals such as retention, re-engagement, feature adoption, and increased in-app purchases.
Live events can fit into at least one of the following categories. Each event can be one-time or recurring, and take place at various times, such as weekday evenings or weekends.
Events based on winning a contest — for example, placing first in a tournament against other players, winning a certain number of battles, or scoring a certain number of points during a match.
Events based on a topic — for example, a season, holiday, character, item, or feature.
Events that build on each other or follow a sequence. The reward usually increases as the series progresses — for example, when a player completes a certain live event they become eligible for the next live event in the series that has a higher reward.
Creating and Supporting Your Live Events
Before adding live events to your game, make sure you have the proper resources to develop, monitor, and analyze them. You can then plan each event and review your strategy to ensure it’s comprehensive.
Define Event Goals and Parameters
Start by choosing your business goals for each event. Your primary goal might be for players to engage with your game more often, and secondary goals might be improving retention or encouraging in-app purchases. Then you can create each event’s parameters — the objectives, timeline, and reward — to support these goals. Depending on what best suits your players and game, live events can have multiple objectives and rewards, or an indefinite timeline for completion.
Determine which player groups or levels will be eligible for the event based on the event’s target metrics and the experience you want to provide. For example, an event meant to engage new players might ask them to complete a certain number of levels to win in-game currency that they can use to buy items, while an event for experienced players might ask them to level up a certain number of characters within a timeframe to earn a bundle of rare items.
Look at Your Overall Strategy
Once you’ve planned each live event, make sure that together, they vary in terms of audience, objective, and reward. Depending on your game’s design and economy, you can have multiple live events active simultaneously. Consider how many live events are available to a player at any given time to keep the balance between core gameplay and events.
Monitor to Ensure Balance
Maintaining gameplay balance and properly weighting your rewards, resources, and degree of challenge is vital to the overall health of your game. Be sure any rewards obtained from your live events do not make gameplay too easy or difficult. If your rewards are too generous, it may make your game too easy, which can decrease engagement, retention, or billings. Monitor in real time so you can quickly make adjustments if you discover an imbalance that needs correcting.
Promoting Your Live Events
To maximize player awareness and engagement, consider promoting your live events in your app and through your external marketing channels.
Drive Awareness Within Your Game
Make it easy for players to discover live events in your game so they can decide whether they’d like to participate. Once a player starts an event, help them keep track of their progress and time left to complete the required objective. Consider designing an area in your game where players can easily see current live events along with details about objectives, rewards, and progress. Your onboarding experience can point out this area and explain the value of live events. You can also present live events at relevant points in your game — for example, when a player visits a specific area or reaches a certain level. Another way to promote this content is through push notifications, such as letting users know about a special sale timed with a live event. Note that users must first explicitly opt in to receiving marketing push notifications via a method within your app that includes consent language and a clear way of opting out.
Share Your Live Events Externally
Reach new, inactive, and churned players by promoting your live events through outside marketing channels, such as your social media accounts. You can also mention live events on your product page if they are a core feature of your game.
Evaluating Your Live Events
Set up your live events so you can measure their success. Monitor engagement metrics before, during, and after to find any positive or negative effects. You can also look at the impact of your live events over time to help you optimize effectiveness. For example, if an event you’ve run multiple times generates positive impact, you can expand the event or make it recurring. Consider using automation to save time and resources, and make sure the event continues to maintain balance and supplement core gameplay.
You can use App Analytics in App Store Connect to view user engagement metrics such as number of sessions, active devices, and retention to get an idea of how players respond to your live events. You can also see how many paying users you have in a day so you’ll know whether your live events encourage in-app purchases.