Given recent reports on the growth of smartphone sales and social networks, it's no surprise that social mobile gaming has been a faster growing industry in recent years.
Did you know that by 2024, the mobile gaming industry is expected to reach $99 billion in revenue? With this tremendous growth, developers around the world are focused on developing mobile games with a variety of social features to increase user engagement.
According to Forbes, the best games only manage a 4.5% user retention rate after 30 days. But research shows that social features in games can help keep players engaged. Nonetheless, what exactly is a social mobile game?
What is a social mobile games?
A social mobile game is a mobile game that includes social features that allow players to interact with each other through messaging and integrated social media during gameplay. Game developers and marketers benefit from the ability of social mobile games to build communities and keep users engaged for longer periods of time, thereby increasing advertising revenue and ROAS.
You may have played some social mobile games such as Fortnite, Clash of Clans, Call of Duty, PUBG Mobile, etc. where you can communicate and compete with your friends and other players in tournaments. These social features of competition, collaboration and communication have made these games popular and played by millions of users worldwide.
Key social features help mobile games attract targeted users
1. In-game chat
When I think of in-game social, my mind goes straight to chat. In-game chat is a platform that allows players to communicate in one place (your game). You can add text chat, where players can communicate using text messages and emoticons. Or you can make it more personal by adding a live voice chat feature.
Whatever you do, in-game chat can help players collaborate or simply connect and socialize with other players. New players often use it to make friends and ask simple questions. Experienced players use it to show off in front of others and even build real friendships. Hardcore players can use it to share strategies and coordinate with other players.
Having a chat feature can increase player engagement and help you create a strong in-game community. In addition, if your players have a place to communicate, they are less likely to switch to other messaging applications. This reduces the need for players to leave the game.
In-game chat in PUBG Mobile
This popular first-person shooter has two types of chat: a voice chat and a quick text chat. Players can use both to communicate with teammates during combat. Quick chat consists of generic messages such as "enemy", "help", and "open voice chat". This allows players to communicate quickly without losing focus on the game.
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2. Social media connection
Today, when you launch almost any game, you have the option to connect your account to social media networks. For example, continue to play games as a guest using Facebook, Google, Apple or - for example. By connecting to social media, players can track their friends' progress, invite them to join the game, share game content, and more.
In many cases, players are rewarded in some way when they choose to connect with social media. This is called an incentivized social media connection. If they decide to remain as a guest, the game usually does not give up on them easily. From time to time, players will be reminded that they can connect to social media.
3. Send/Seek help
When players are stuck in a game, they don't always need to make in-app purchases or watch ads. Sometimes, they can ask other players for help.
The game can offer different types of mutual help. For example, players can send each other:
- Game coins
- Land units
- Items or characters
Gift giving is widely used in games integrated into social networks, such as asking friends for lives, in-game virtual items or help, as a means of gaining more users. In addition, gift giving can be used as part of your monetization strategy. You can always let players buy in-game items for friends or other members who play the game.
The send/seek help feature in Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go introduced this social feature in 2018, two years after its initial release. In the game, players can trade Pokemon and give them to players from their "friends list".
The game has a special gift system. While playing the game, players will pick up "gifts". They can't open them themselves, they can only send them to other people. In this way, the game encourages them to become more social. When they do so, they build friendships with other players. More precisely, they go through the four stages of friendship - from "good" to "best" friends.
If your game has any competitive elements, it is best to include leaderboards. Leaderboards are a ranking system that ranks players based on their achievements in the game. There are different types of leaderboards that you can have in your game. For example
- Global leaderboards
- Country leaderboards
- Event leaderboards
- Guild leaderboards
- Player and friend leaderboards
Whether it's with friends or others, competition is human. If your players are competing, they will spend more time (and perhaps money) climbing the ladder.
Leaderboard feature of June's Journey
This hidden object game is mainly about solving puzzles. Nevertheless, it is also offered to a competitive group of players.
After completing a hidden object scenario, players can see the PvP leaderboard. In it, they can see how fast they solved the problem compared to other players. However, this does not affect their progress in any way. However, I believe this feature has many players playing Journey to June.
This social feature was first seen in multiplayer midcore games. However, in the past few years, guilds have become a common feature in the casual category as well.
According to GameRefinery, 61% of the 100 highest-grossing games on iOS include guilds. In the last two years, that number has increased by 20%. Guilds are in-game communities that bring like-minded players together. These players are often united by similar interests, involvement and gaming styles.
When a game features a guild, it encourages players to join them. Often, it offers in-game currency as a welcome gift. In these communities, players can exchange resources, compete in groups, collaborate, work towards a common goal, and more. They really need to be there for their guild members.
Guild feature in Lords Mobile
In this strategy game, players can team up with others by creating or joining a guild. This comes with a welcome bonus - 400 gems, which is very generous.
Guild allies are supposed to help each other with building and research. They can also participate in different guild events and help each other every day. Being part of a guild also includes chatting with guild members. In fact, the game encourages players to keep the chat active. For example, sending emoticons to the guild chat can bring them rewards.
6. Cooperative mode
Playing alone can feel lonely and boring. On the other hand, playing with other people can keep players entertained and engaged for longer. So if you can add some kind of cooperative teamwork to your game, go for it.
Coop mode in Clash of Clans
The game's famous "Clash of Clans" is considered a competitive cooperative game. During the two-day event, tribes compete against each other and the tribe with the most stars wins. What motivates players to participate in the event? If they successfully complete an attack, they will receive a reward that will make their base stronger.
7. PvP mode
Player vs. player battles are one of the most exciting types of social interaction. Depending on the game type, PvP matches can be synchronous or asynchronous. In other words, they can happen in real time or in turns.
In synchronous PvP matches, players compete against each other in real time.
In an asynchronous PvP match, players also face other players. The only difference is that this does not happen in real time.
PvP mode in Clash Royale
Clash Royale is all about winning in exciting player-versus-player battles. These clashes mainly take place in arenas, where players fight in real-time. Thus, the game's PvP mode is synchronized. In this mode, the game determines the player's opponent. In addition, players can choose from three other PvP modes. These include friendly matches, matches with entrance fees, and custom matches.
8. Social currency
If social features are extremely important to your game, you can create a special social currency. Social currency can be earned through certain social activities (e.g. participating in social events, helping guild members, playing PvP mode).
This feature is aimed at players who are already very involved in the game. If they want to earn this currency, they will need to interact more with other players. If this works, you should see better engagement and retention rates.
Social currency in Summoner Wars
In this RPG, players have access to a social currency with a very simple name - Social Points. There are a couple of ways players can earn foreign currency. They can get it as a gift from a friend, lend their monsters to a friend, or invite a friend. Players need the currency to summon monsters, so it can't be ignored. This will motivate players to add others as friends and interact with active players. It also encourages dropping inactive players.
9. Spectator mode
For hardcore gamers, watching other people play can be very exciting.
If this wasn't true, Twitch wouldn't be so important. Spectator mode enables this in mobile games. It allows players to watch other people play games from a third-person or first-person perspective.
Sometimes they get tired of constantly losing and want to see how the player who beat them plays. On the other hand, some players use this feature as a streaming platform and watch it for fun. Or they are waiting for their friends to finish the game so they can watch them too. There are many reasons for this, but one thing is for sure - it's a cool feature that allows players to stay in your game longer.
Spectator mode in Call of Duty: Mobile
In this first-person shooter, players can enter spectator mode. However, the feature is not available in all modes. Players can only watch Multiplayer Core, Battle Royale, Ranked Multiplayer, and Custom Rooms. In addition, they cannot just spectate anyone. They can only watch the players in their "friends" list.
10. Push notifications
In mobile games where social is important, players can get social push notifications.
For example, they can be notified when someone talks to them in chat, when they start playing a game, when someone asks them for help, etc. Regardless of their content, social push notifications can be a great re-engagement tool. For example, if a player has been away for a while and they see that their friends are still playing, they may want to get back in the game.
However, you should be careful with this feature. While social interactions are unlimited, not every social interaction should come in the form of a push notification.
Social push notifications in AFK Arena
In addition to the other push notifications in AFK Arena, the game also sends out guild chat notifications. Guilds are very important in this RPG. If players want to get rewards from daily quests and guild wars - they need to be part of a guild. Naturally, hardcore players will find these notifications most relevant. On the other hand, less involved players may find them annoying.