So you've decided on the type of game you want to create, your gameplay, how you plan to market it and even your revenue model. (And if you haven't, check out Tips to Successfully Break into the Mobile Gaming Industry and 3 Things to Consider When Building Mobile Games.)

However, once you've got your audience playing, how do you keep them hooked? Even if your game is addictive, it's a good idea to think about aspects other than just gameplay to keep your players involved and increase the life of your mobile game.

GET SOCIAL

Some mobile games include a social aspect to keep players interested, especially games that frequently have a short playing time. Some allow in-game friends to exchange game items or boosts; others require friends' assistance to move past certain blocks. For example, a game may require a 72-hour wait -- unless you get a boost from three friends to erase that time -- every 15 levels.

Many of the top grossing mobile games have built-in chat systems that allow players to communicate with each other. Relationships made in the game are a great incentive for players to log in every day and talk with their friends. This can help increase competitiveness, in-app spending and can even help to increase the number of players using your game, as current players invite their real-life friends to join.

OFFER A CHALLENGE

One common attribute of all the top grossing mobile games is their challenging nature. This is in part due to the competitive nature of human beings. If something is easy, we tend to become bored very quickly and then move on to something new. A challenging game can benefit developers not just by holding players' interest, but also by increasing revenue, at least for games with in-app spending models. Users hooked on a game but stumped by a challenging level -- or stuck behind their friends -- are more likely to spend a little cash to get past a roadblock.

Making a game challenging enough is important, but it is important to balance the difficulty. Build up to more challenging levels, and be sure to vary the difficulty level so that not every level is extremely hard. If the game becomes too difficult, players can become frustrated. While some may pay to pass certain levels, others will simply quit. A pay-to-win game will have a very short lifespan.

Another option is letting players compete against their friends, either by allowing them to challenge each other through in-game player vs. player areas or by tracking levels and allowing them to view where friends are in the game. That way, they set their difficulty.

COUNT ON CUSTOMER INTERACTION

A mobile game is going to have occasional technical issues regardless of how well it is designed and developed. With this in mind, it is imperative to have a good support structure to help players if they have an issue in the game. The greatest games on the market will fail if customers are upset due to poor support. Automated responses to support tickets can be harmful and should be avoided in most cases -- unless they're only to reassure players that their ticket was received, and a human will be contacting them shortly.

Human interaction doesn't begin and end with customer support, either. A good, responsive social media presence will go a long way toward keeping players happy and involved in the game. Out-of-game activities like art, story or costume contests with in-game prizes are another possibility to get players invested in your game -- and hook the friends who see their work.

The bottom line is, your game can just be a game or it can be a social experience that helps players form new friendships, develop new hobbies, and interact with the world while still coming back a few times a day to play. Not every user looks for a social experience, but those who do will enjoy a game with social aspects built in, and it's those connections that will keep them coming back for more.

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