Don’t let it die: keeping your game alive post-launch

So you’ve built and launched your game. Now what?

One of the most important things to do after launching your game is to keep it going; a lot of the bigger games out there(Kingdom of Loathing, UrbanDead, etc.) have been running for years – and the fact that they’ve been running for so long is part of their staying power. After over 5 years of building content, Kingdom of Loathing is extremely well established; it would be difficult for a new game to compete with them without providing a different gameplay format to entice players with.

With that being said, there are a few small, easy things that you can do to make sure that your game never seems ‘dead’:

  • Update your game

    Just like Evil Trout said in his post-mortem for Forumwarz, “the job is never quite done”. There will always be a part of your game that needs work; maybe the design needs cleaning up, or there are bugs to be fixed, or there’s a new feature that you’d like to add. Whatever it is, there’s always something you can do with your game – so do it! If you can commit to updating even just once a week, it will show players that you’re dedicated to your game – and their confidence in your game’s staying power will grow.

  • Tell people you updated your game

    Updates are good, but they’re not going to show users that you’re actually working on your game if they have no idea they’re happening. If most of your updates are content additions and features, you may want to start up a development blog – if the changes and tweaks you’re making to your game are primarily smaller(like balance adjustments and bugfixes), you may want to stick with something like Twitter. Whatever you do, you need to come up with a way to show users that your game is still actively growing and changing.

  • Advertise

    This suggestion might sound a little weird, but think about it: when have you ever seen a dead game in an ad? By keeping your game ‘out there’, you’ll keep attracting new players – and it’s the community that will keep you motivated to work on your game, even when you don’t really want to.

  • Respond to all e-mails promptly

    This is something that I’ve been neglecting with Building Browsergames lately – but an important(and easy) way to keep players from thinking that your game has died. Have you ever e-mailed someone, waited two weeks, and still not gotten a response? It’s hard to tell whether they even got your e-mail!

    When an e-mail comes to you, respond to it as promptly as possible. If a user e-mails you with a question(or a bug report) and gets a response within half an hour, they know that your game isn’t dead – and they know that you’re listening.

What do you do, to make sure your game doesn’t die? Is there anything on this list you’re not doing?

Wish there was more?

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Luke is the primary editor of Building Browsergames, and has written a large portion of the articles that you read here. He generally has no idea what to say when asked to write about himself in the third person.

Thursday, March 5th, 2009 misc
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Building Browsergames is a blog about browsergames(also known as PBBG's). It's geared towards the beginner to intermediate developer who has an interest in building their own browsergame.

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