While most game companies talk cross-platform, they really mean putting their product on multiple platforms rather than optimizing play for customers who want to play on different devices at different times. They are missing an important opportunity, or alienating their users, by not focusing more effort on creating a great experience across platforms. I came across an article on Adweek’s SocialTimes, Study: Customers (Especially Millenials) Hate When You Fail To Deliver Cross-Platform Experiences, that provided great data on what happens when you do not have a good cross-platform user journey.
Surprisingly strong activity across devices
More than half users switch devices mid-activity. The number is highest for Millennials, where 90 percent switch devices mid-activity. With GenXers, it falls to 76 percent and with those 55 or older, it is 58 percent. What is striking in these numbers is that even with the lowest number, more than 50 percent still switch devices mid-activity.
When it comes to playing games, the number falls but is still quite significant. 14 percent of all US customers change devices mid-activity. 25 percent of US Millennials change devices mid-activity while playing games.
What it means for messaging
You thus need to craft messaging that is relevant for a player or user who started on one device and is now playing your game or shopping on your site on a different device. The article quotes an Adobe analyst as saying, “that means digital marketers have a unique challenge of being able to really understand that a Web visitor who shows up on a smartphone is the same customer four hours later on a tablet, or seven hours later on a desktop. They have to piece that experience together in order to craft a consistent message to that one consumer, regardless of which device they use.”
What it means for games
While many games now allow you to share your balance across devices, there is an opportunity to please better your players be integrating further. There are several steps a game company can make to create a great cross-device experience.
- A player should be able to pick up a game in the exact same place on a new device simply by opening the app. If they are in a tournament or raiding another player, they should pick up that raid as if they were on their original device.
- When they first install on the other device, the journey to synching their accounts should be seamless and as few steps as possible.
- The interfaces should be optimized for each device (let’s not make an inferior product in the drive for standardization) but consistent and familiar for players moving from other devices.
- Players on one device should not have a gameplay advantage (or disadvantage) on different platforms.
- Ensure your CRM is consistent across devices and not redundant (do not hit someone with the same message three times when they use three different devices in a short time period).
The benefits are worth it
I have written many times about satisfying your customer and catering to their multi-device activity is one of these instances. If you do not create a great experience, a competitor will and you will start losing players. Moreover, these are probably your most engaged customers, so the cost of replacing them is even greater.
- More than 50 percent of all users change devices mid-activity, with this number increasing to 90 percent for Millenials. With those playing games, 14 percent change devices mid-activity, rising to 25 percent for Millenials.
- To leverage this situation, you should build your game so it is easy to play across multiple devices, keeping a familiar interface, sharing a wallet and keeping the game fair.
- Your CRM also should reinforce a consistent message across devices without the messages stepping on each other.
One thought on “You need to create a great cross-platform experience”
I agree that there is a chance to stand out here and that trends are pointing toward this being important. But regarding games specifically, I actually somewhat regret jumping on this early.
My team has included game transfer functionality in our apps for 5 years. It has consistently been the most challenging feature to design, implement, test, and maintain – as well as the most underused feature of our games.
It was 3+ years and $1B+ before Rovio bothered with it for Angry Birds. But times change so I’m not really disagreeing…