Logging in and off to “our” precious Powersoccer website, I couldn’t help but notice that the number of new teams created AND the number of games played are increasing exponentially. Here are just some observations from yesterday’s growth:
00:02 : 3 new users
00:38 : 438 new users
10:00 : 3874 new users
13:00 : 5678 new users
15:00: 7890 new users
17:00 : 9143 new users
19:00 : 10956 new users
21:00 : 13531 new users
23:00 : 17654 new users
The correlation between the number of games played and the news teams is, even without a statistically based analysis, clear. More teams are created, leading to more played games. A quick browse through the forum and a quick browse through the gamerooms, the latter strictly speaking against my religion – for a substantiated article, I am prepared to go at great length – I however notice that most of the players there are not the new players but mostly the old members, who have been around for weeks, months and in some cases even years. Could we conclude that the retention of new users is high, even too high?
Surely it cannot be linked to appalling gameplay because that is not the case. It can not even be linked to the fact that you only have a 24 hour “free trial” period, because the basics of this game are completely free, at all times. Perhaps an explanation is that users are perhaps overwhelmed by the beauty of the game but feel a bit lost: nobody to talk to, just all alone in a room. If that were the case, the following recommendations could help:
1) Create a “new user” forum section
It is hard for new users to immediately jump in the forum of the big boys. Some are probably scared by the details of the discussion or unaware of all the events that preceded their arrival and they hastily conclude: this is not me! This is not where I belong!
In nearly all of these cases they are probably right. It must not be joyful if you, as a new member, have to engage in discussions you basically have no clue what they are about. Who on earth is Sipwell? And why is everybody happy that Powdersnow returned? What is a token and why is everybody so fixated on badges?
You might be seen as a noob, a fool even and quickly abandon the game altogether.
A solution might be to have a “new user” forum section – albeit with a more appealing name – which would be limited to all the low levels. No big boy should enter their secret kingdom (apart from Forum Admins obviously), where they can exchange experiences about their first days here, ask questions to new users or look for new friends. There is nothing more fun then growing in level with somebody else. All of us have, in the strife to be level 99, had different competitions to reach level 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, … up to level 99 (cf. infra). I lost my race to be the first Belgian level 99 with only a few weeks yet I had beaten that particular user in our race to level 80 and 90 (I was the first Belgian to accomplish that).
A “new user” forum section could create a sense of belonging and an important impetus to stay and to spend tokens on this fabulous game
2) Who are my peers?
Looking for friends in an environment where you cannot have personal contact at first is rather scary. How do you go about? What do you do? Do you step up to someone and start to talk? But who? And why him and not that other user? So far the community fails to foster “relationships”. All of us had to find our own way into this game… and most of us ended up talking to an admin and becoming friends with one (no surprise, then, that admins have the largest collection of friends). It takes some dedication and something nerve to make friends here in this game… Perhaps only the real “pushers” stay and those naturally a bit shy – yet completely into the game – leave.
Why not create a low level pool of users where you can see who also recently joined this game and who might interest you? Based on location (country), age and team name. If you have changed your team name to “Chelsea”, it would be nice to see who else has named his team “Chelsea” and who is fairly close to your own level. You at least have one opening line: “It was a good game of Chelsea, the other day, wasn’t it? My name is John, by the way.” It would be nice to see which countrymen also joined and perhaps start talking in your mother tongue about the game…
The internet is abundant with fora on one specific theme or a general one. Friendship is fostered there. People who only have met online start to engage more frequently with each other, start to feel at home… and want to stay and enjoy all the perks of this game. Powersoccer should take that step too.
Building on that idea: why not creating a pool of users (of the same country or region) to start a race to a specific target? Be it level 20, 100 goals or 15 victories. No strings – or prizes – attached but just giving users the possibility to engage with somebody they did not know before. Friendship might come to be established or it might not. At least the users have set their first footsteps in this game accompanied by someone else. It surely leads to friendly competition and is less distant than the current official matches where you are paired up with a for you unknown user.
If we are somewhere new, we are looking for easy markers and things we feel at home in immediately. Something distant, neutral and impersonal – although it becomes very attractive and very personal later on in the game – as official matches probably aren’t the best way to keep users here. You don’t ask from little babies to run a marathon minutes after they set their first steps, do you?
The idea of races, where you are paired with a fixed (or perhaps a number of fixed) users – not that you necessarily only can play games against him or her, but that you can keep track of that user during your first days around – might be a more starter-friendly deal. The career mode has so far proven its absolute qualities and it is a fabulous way to adapt to the game. The official matches however plunge you into a reality you aren’t adjusted to at first.
These came out of the top of my head. Probably there is more but duty calls