4 Ways to Improve Player Engagement with Real-Time Data

Player engagement is the number one priority for game companies. The gaming industry is fiercely competitive and it’s sink or swim. To keep your head above the water and overtake your competition, it’s crucial that you optimize all areas of performance to keep players tethered to your game.

The smallest deficiency in your game is enough to snap users out of focus and create tension. Players are brutal in their expectations and won’t stomach any shortcomings, and if they do they’ll simply switch to a game that can meet their demands.

Real-time data is essential for player engagement

A seamless playing experience is dependent on your ability to power your game’s features with real-time data. Leaderboards, game inventories, personalization, and smart matchmaking are all crucial elements that require real-time data processing to eliminate lags and provide instantaneous responses, both of which ultimately sky-rocket engagement. 

Without real-time data, games are exposed to the crippling effects of lags that pulverize the playing experience. This can kickstart a toxic spree of events that lead to a drop in DAUs, bad publicity, and an eroding brand reputation—all of which will plummet profits. 

Player engagement is the lifeblood of any game. To maximize it, you’ll need a database that can elevate all areas of performance with real-time data.

1. Build strong communities with smart matchmaking

Gaming Matchmaking Screenshot

A strong online community is the beating heart of any successful game. It’s also the cash cow that places you in a golden situation where players will naturally gravitate towards your brand and spark a chain of events that accelerate growth. 

But a strong community starts with maximizing engagement. This often hinges on a game’s ability to carry out the matchmaking process with lightning speed. Matchmaking is all about setting players up with others of a similar skill level to optimize the playing experience. 

Novices pitted against elite performers are likely to suffer heavy consecutive defeats, which will kill motivation to pick up the controller again. After all, nobody likes losing all the time. But neither do they enjoy victories that come too easy since competition is what gets the adrenaline pumping. 

For matchmaking to meet industry standards, it needs to be fast, consistent, and accurate. Clunky databases with weak processing power make matchmaking slow and laborious, forcing players to wait impatiently in lobbies until they’re matched with the right opponents. Today’s standards are so high that players expect seamless responsiveness and will jump if they experience long loading times. 

This is where real-time matchmaking comes in. It identifies the right connections between data with hyper-efficiency, backfills players to the right server spots based on their preference, and fires through the matchmaking queue so fast that players don’t even notice. 

2. Give players what they need with game inventories

Gaming Inventory Screenshot

Inventories are a crucial component of gaming. Games today are flooded with millions of inventories for weapons, equipment, swag, currencies, and more.

Databases are drowning in the data demands required to provide players seamless access to inventories with no lags, no delays, and no freezes whatsoever. At any given moment, a database may have to process millions of queries at lightning speed with impeccable consistency. Any failures will harm the playing experience and hamper player engagement levels.

First-person shooter games are a perfect example. These are wildly intense, and fast reaction times give any player the upper hand. Players need to juggle between inventories and select weapons that are most optimal for unique situations. Lags occurring from database deficiencies hinder players’ ability to compete, potentially robbing them of a victory. This is incredibly frustrating and will only create tension between the player and the game, eventually encouraging players to turn to one that can meet their demands. 

Real-time data processing removes these deficiencies and creates a more immersive experience that maximizes player engagement and pulls them deeper into the game. The secret to achieving this is through a real-time database so its low latency and lightning-quick data processing abilities guarantee instant game-inventory responsiveness.

3. Mold the game to players with personalization

Gaming Personalization Screenshot

Personalization is the magic that allows players to blend their tastes, preferences, and styles in with the playing experience. It’s a powerful component of gaming that can make gameplay truly immersive. 

You don’t have to dig deep to find out why personalization is a crucial engagement factor. The more personal an experience is, the more attached we feel. Personalization entwines players more deeply into the playing experience and is part of a winning formula that creates a loyal, actively-engaged player base with high retention. 

This level of attachment propels engagement levels to a place where players will resist any reason to put the controller down. But personalization comes with skyscraper expectations. From start to finish, the entire process must be seamless with no lags. And players just won’t tolerate a jarring playing experience. 

Databases must meet the demands of each personalization type to maximize engagement. These include:

Any hiccups will allow lags to bombard the personalization process and frustrate players, which will only hamper engagement levels. But whether it’s game-led or player-led personalization, databases have to process a colossal amount of data—and the amount of data involved is increasing significantly. 

The reality is, players expect real-time responsiveness and nothing else. They want the entire personalization process to be both effortless and seamless, something that can only be achieved through a real-time database.

4. Tap Into the Competitive Spirit with Leaderboards

Leaderboards are more sophisticated than ever. With potentially millions of players logging in around the globe, databases have a phenomenal amount of data to process to meet player expectations. Modern multiplayer games are now expected to provide leaderboards for different leagues, player rankings, locations and more. 

It’s all about breaking everything down into granular detail and tailoring everything to the player. A racing game, for example, may have a dedicated leaderboard to measure the performance of different player levels.  This can be taken one step further by segmenting leaderboards based on the racing track that players are competing on and by the cars they’re racing with. As a result, players are provided with leaderboards that allow them to measure their performance only with those on a similar level to them. 

Breaking down leaderboards into such granular detail preserves the competitive spirit by preventing players from comparing their rankings against a field of millions, which they’ll have no chance of coming out on top. Creating a more level playing field where victory seems attainable is fundamental to boosting player engagement since it incentivizes players to keep competing. 

And now we have to pivot to another complexity that comes with leaderboards – identifying cheats. Not having a firm grip on this area allows bad actors to gain an unfair advantage and dominate rankings, spoiling all the fun for others. Players who feel cheated will lose all trust and won’t hesitate to walk away from the game – this is a sure way to lose members fast. 

Leaderboards often have special cheating analytics engines or checks built into their rankings to detect patterns that indicate cheating. These are crucial to keeping the game fair but they also increase the complexity of the leaderboard service. 

Being able to personalize leaderboards and optimize cheat analytics requires the integration of complex architectures of services and technologies. Leaderboards have to be capable of processing millions of queries for millions of users simultaneously to meet industry standards.

Final thoughts: Real-time data is what supercharges engagement

The bar has been set and it’s sky-high: players demand real-time responsiveness in all aspects of gaming. Whether it’s game inventory, smart matchmaking, personalization or leaderboards, players won’t stomach any lags in performance and will turn to other games that can meet their demands. 

Real-time data processing is the aim of the game for any developer looking to maximize player engagement. But real-time data requires a real-time database, which can be challenging. A real-time database has to meet a long list of technical requirements for it to be able to supply all game features with real-time data. 

If you want to discover what these are and come one step closer to enjoying the benefits of real time data, then make sure to download our free e-book below.