Why In-App Gaming Support is the Key to a Great Player Experience

Written by Emily Peck on Apr 9, 2021

Mobile has democratized gaming and created an enormous opportunity in the industry. Gamers used to be the players who would spend hours playing high-tech games at home, but now, thanks to mobile gaming, nearly everyone is a gamer.

The competition for user engagement is fierce. To attract players and keep them engaged, game studios and publishers need to prioritize customer support, a part of the experience that has long been ignored. Mobile gamers expect fast and effortless in-app support when an issue arises. And if their expectations are not met, research shows that they are quick to abandon a game for a competitor. 

Mobile gaming is thriving, but so is churn  

It’s the gaming era. According to Deloitte’s Digital Media Trends Survey, 30% of US consumers pay for a gaming subscription service and 41% play video games at least weekly1. Increasingly, these consumers are shifting from traditional video game platforms like PCs and consoles to mobile (phone and tablet) and app-based games. In 2015, 77% of gamers played on PCs (laptop and desktop computers), which has since declined to 48%. Conversely, people who play on mobile devices grew from 70% in 2015 to around 80% in 20181.  

In another signal of the burgeoning popularity of gaming apps, games make up 72% of all app store spend, surpassing $100B in 2020. Mobile games saw 25% more spend than all other gaming combined2.

Mobile gaming is a big business. And where the money is, competition follows. In the Apple Store alone, there were 957,390 gaming apps in 20203. With this abundance of gaming apps, it’s easier for gamers to switch than ever before. A competitor is simply a tile away. 

As a result of this ease of switching, gaming has one of the highest abandonment rates of any industry. In fact, in some segments of the mobile gaming industry, the average for 1st-day churn hovers at a staggering 70%4. Only the top games achieve Day 1 retention rates of 35% or 11% for Day 75

The recipe for good gaming CX: In-App, Native Support 

Mobile consumers are impatient. If demands for speed, convenience and efficiency are not met, they react.  Issues spread like wildfire in the gaming community. Bugs, outages and complaints are heard loud. It’s not uncommon for a person to use a game once, have a bad experience and post a negative app store review or complain on sites like Reddit. 

While churn is inevitable, gaming companies can mitigate this by providing an incredible in-app experience when an issue or question arises. While developers and publishers focus on creating super engaging content and games, post-launch support is often ignored. Publishers have disjointed experiences, taking players out of the app and directing them to live chat on a website or email.  Self-service and knowledge bases are also common support strategies, but 70% of the time, gamers can’t find the answer they need in these channels6

If you’re in an app, you want to stay in the app. Switching to another channel is daunting. Instead, publishers need to keep everything within the app itself. If you divert to other channels, you open the door for a person to get distracted with another task like checking the weather or opening a social app, or even worse, go to a competitor. 

Providing in-app support can be much more intuitive and frictionless. Companies already have access to contextual factors like device type, browser, operating system, version of the app the person is using, and even their recent history and behavior. This can eliminate the need to ask the player for this information, removing the burden from the customer to look up or communicate this to an agent. 

Classic gaming platform Solitaired.com offers a good example of the importance of on-demand customer support in a game. When they tested offering live support for their solitaire games, they saw their customer satisfaction score improve by 22%. Moreover, as a result, they saw overall retention and revenue improve as a result.

There are a few key strategies when building out an in-app support function:

  • Build a native experience: Build the AI customer experience for the mobile interface and ensure navigation is easy. Don’t simply bring a Web chat or knowledge base to an app, but make sure it is optimized for every screen size, operating system and orientation. 
  • Offer automated support when possible: The popularity of a game or app can change suddenly and massive unexpected spikes are common and can come in waves. With a global customer base in different time zones that speak different languages, leveraging an AI-powered customer support chatbot to automate resolutions to common FAQs and issues is the only way to scale the instant, personal support that a global customer base expects. 
  • Offer easy human escalation: Even when you leverage an AI-powered chatbot to resolve basic FAQs, there will always be more complex, new or sensitive issues that require a human agent. Offer escalation to human agents within the same chat interface. 
  • Support both asynchronous and synchronous messaging: When possible, an AI-powered chatbot or human agent should engage in real-time, synchronous conversation responding to an issue instantly. Offering an in-app messaging feed, though, also lets gaming companies provide asynchronous messaging. So, if a question can’t be answered right away, a gamer can check back when it’s convenient for them.  

Discover the key questions to ask when scheduling a chatbot demo.

Gaming in and of itself is an emotional experience. When an issue or question arises, players expect quick, effortless responses. As competition for consumer attention heats up, the ability to capture long-term player engagement is going to be as much about the care someone receives as the content of a game itself. To compete on CX, publishers need to meet customers within the app to provide seamless support. 

Want to see how well gaming companies are providing customer support today? We studied over 2,000 gaming companies worldwide to find the winners and losers.   Download our report today .