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RoCitizens Case Study: Improving Player Retention

August 23, 2016

by YoSoyTofu


Thank you, Jake “Firebrand1” Brandt, for helping contribute to this blog post.

One of the most exciting and unique aspects of Roblox is being able to earn real-world cash for building awesome experiences that are adored by the community. Since we launched the Developer Exchange program in late 2013, we’ve enjoyed reading tons of great stories about how immensely talented up-and-coming developers have used the money they’ve received to pay off their college tuition or advance their careers in video game development. Anecdotes like these are inspiring builders to invest more time and effort into their projects to create fantastic experiences that will endure and flourish on top of the Roblox charts for months and even years on end.    

Monetization is an extremely important aspect of modern-day game development to keep players, well, playing. We wanted to share how Jake “Firebrand1” Brandt, creator of RoCitizens, used a specific monetization strategy to boost player retention and engagement, especially among new users. If you need some development inspiration or want some insights into monetization, keep on reading!

RoCitizens is one of Roblox’s most popular 3D life simulation experiences. Players can customize their avatar, hang out with their friends, explore different career paths, buy a house or a car, and travel across an entire city brimming with things to do and see. Because of the way it’s monetized, RoCitizens is a great example of a game that immediately provides value to players who are just starting their journey towards fame and fortune in RoCity.

For a limited time only, new and existing users are presented with an option to purchase a Starter Pack. This item is stocked with helpful essentials to give newcomers an incentive to play and keep coming back, while also giving experienced players a small, but valuable boost if they need it. The Starter Pack specifically targets new players to encourage them to participate in the game’s economy, while also keeping them engaged and committed to the experience over time.

Starter Pack Analysis

The Starter Pack excels at improving player retention. It aids new users by providing them with a compelling offer that contains a house blueprint, a coat of paint for their car, and $10,000 in-game money, but it doesn’t alienate existing players who may not find these particular items desirable because they’re already prosperous or otherwise successful in the game.

There’s four fundamental reasons why the Starter Pack is so appealing:

  • It’s easily accessible through a persistent, easily identifiable on-screen shortcut.
  • It conveys urgency with a dynamic timer.
  • It clearly shows the benefits of the offer by showing players how much they save, and which high-value items are included.
  • Items are immediately gifted so players feel instant gratification.

Here’s a more in-depth breakdown showing you what the Starter Pack does right to entice new users. As you can see, every element on the information page has some sort of purpose that either demonstrates value or reminds players that it’s a limited time deal only.

Here’s the results…

Building a high-value item specifically aimed at new users has significantly driven player retention and monetization. The results speak for themselves:

After only taking less than two days to implement, the Starter Pack…

  • …became the most popular early game item.
  • …increased item revenue by 62 percent and total revenue by 11 percent.
  • …accounts for 39 percent of revenue from new player items and 10 percent of overall item purchases.

“The performance of the Beginner’s Offer has been everything I expected [and] it exceeded my expectations for the first couple days when it outsold every other product.” – Jake “Firebrand1” Brandt, RoCitizens Creator

Keep in mind that certain monetization methods, like the one used in this particular case study, are not one size fits all. So, if you do decide to try monetizing your game, know that the effectiveness of certain strategies depends on the type of experience, the game mechanics/items, and how it’s implemented.