What is Live Ops: An Introduction to the Basics of Live Game Operations

Having a strong Live Ops solution is essential for game publishers looking for insights into their players' behavior and manage their games.
Chike Agbai
March 22, 2024
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Live Game Operations is an exciting field in the gaming industry that focuses on delivering high-quality, entertaining experiences for players of all kinds. It involves everything from designing awesome events and tournaments to creating interactive leaderboards and engaging gaming communities with incentives, activities, and campaigns.

Live Ops has become an essential part of any successful game development and production process. It involves a variety of activities designed to continuously monitor, engage with, and improve the gaming experience for players. In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics of Live Ops and how you can use them to create a better gaming experience.

What Is Live Game Operations

Live Ops describes the ongoing management of a game once it is launched. It centers around managing the life-cycle of players - from their initial discovery of the game, right through to when they may decide to churn and leave it. Today there are six main components of live ops: events, promotions, new content, new features, community management and problem management.

Each component works with the others to achieve key aims such as monetizing the existing players base, growing the player base and ensuring overall health of the game - keeping it fresh, interesting and popular.

Core Components to a live game operations solutions (Live Ops)

  • Event and promotions management
  • New content development
  • Customer Segmentation and Analytics
  • A/B Testing
  • Community management
  • Customer care problem management.

In order to effectively execute live ops you need a team with a very clear understanding of what is in scope for each game within its market. This means that being able to produce a good result in live ops also requires having an intuitive grasp on certain KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) which may differ dramatically from game to game depending on the story-line of the published game.

The development effort to realize the promise of Live Ops can be far ranging and may typically stretch beyond the capabilities or interests of your core game development team.  For example, if you’re working on retaining or engaging existing players and then developing strategies that incentivize them on different platforms (such as discounts or exclusive fan clubs on social media), you may want to wire or create responsive features and integrations to those platforms.

Similarly if your goal is more focused on user acquisition and then running campaigns across different online channels – you may want to create unique game play features that drop the user directly into the advertised environment to give them a sense of how the game plays and provide you valuable insight on the gamers journey in your game.

This leads of course to advanced techniques like A/B testing so you can fully understand how your efforts are materially impacting each segment of your gaming audience over time.  

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Benefits of Live Ops

The term ‘Live Ops’ refers to activities related to game operations during the life of a game – from launch to retirement. These activities involve everything from monitoring player engagement to collecting feedback on game mechanics and content. It is also used as an umbrella term for activities such as running promotions, developing incentives, managing social media channels, hosting tournaments, supporting in-game user customer-care issues, and more.

Increased Player Engagement

One of the biggest goals of Live Ops is to increase player engagement through various activities such as running promotions and developing incentives. This can help ensure that players remain interested in your game and come back for more. It also helps build loyalty among existing players.

Live Ops Improves Quality of Service

Live Ops also includes managing social media channels, customer support issues, hosting tournaments and more - all with the aim of providing quality service to your customers. This allows you to actively engage with gamers and provide timely responses to their queries or feedback. Having a proactive approach towards customer care can help improve user retention while also positioning your brand positively in the minds of potential customers.

Live Ops improves handling customer support

Live Ops can be a powerful tool when it comes to customer support issues. It allows you to quickly identify and address any issues or problems that players may have with your game in real-time. This not only helps improve user experiences but also reduces the chances of negative reviews and attrition rates. Moreover, Live Ops can help you track customer feedback and act on it, allowing you to continually refine and improve your game. This can help ensure that players remain engaged for longer periods of time.

A good Live Ops solution present a unified picture for managing all customer issues or queries, as well as automating certain aspects of the support process such as ticket routing, triaging of requests, or automated responses.

This approach creates greater insight into customer behavior, such as identifying areas of friction within the game or understanding what types of issues customers are having. With this data in hand, teams can better anticipate customer needs and provide more tailored support solutions.

Collecting Useful Data for Live Ops

Another advantage of Live Ops is the ability it gives you to collect valuable data about your users’ behaviors, preferences, and interests. This data can then be used by developers and producers when making decisions about future content updates or features for games - all with the aim of making sure that their games remain fresh, interesting, and relevant for longer periods of time.

With the collect data, you do A/B testing to effectively game out game play enhancements and make more informed decisions about how best to move forward with future updates or expansions.

Before you release new bundles, roll out new game-play content, do promotions or hold events you should A/B test the idea.  This is because, as with anything else, it’s impossible to know how players will respond unless you test. With A/B testing you can compare the performance of two versions of a game feature or content update and measure which one performs better.

Having accurate data from Live Ops helps developers understand where they need to make adjustments or improvements, allowing them to quickly and effectively respond to customer feedback. This can be invaluable in maximizing the success of their game.

Customer Segmentation in Live Ops

In our view having a strong customer segmentation approach leads to improved services and happier gamers. This is because segmenting gamers by profile, preferences and behavior ensures that customer support teams can quickly identify customers’ needs and provide tailored solutions.

It also allows you to target specific types of players with content updates or special offers - giving you the opportunity to tailor your game experience based on different customer profiles. This can be particularly useful when it comes to driving traffic to your app store page or website, as well as increasing sales of in-app purchases.

Develop a software solution for Live Ops

Developing a software solution for Live Ops requires an understanding of both the business needs and technical requirements associated with managing and executing live game operations. To start, you will need to identify what specific activities need to be managed through the software, such as creating events, launching promotions, pushing out updates or new content, engaging with the gaming community, and handling customer support requests.

Once the scope of activities is defined, you can then develop a software solution that meets those needs. This could involve using third-party platforms like Twitch or Discord for community engagement, custom built tools for launching events or promotions, and analytics solutions to measure the impact of your efforts. Depending on your specific goals, you may need to integrate with other game systems and platforms such as mobile stores (e.g., Apple's App Store or Google Play) or social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

From our experience video game developers have limited interest in building the back-office web applications that help manage and improve game. In general the skillsets for building and improving the game itself can be radically different than the knowledge and knowhow and interest in connecting backend services to third-party tools, designing and creating desktop user interfaces, and building analytics based solutions. And of course point game developer time toward these needed efforts may not be as budget friendly as outsourcing to expert team like Azumo.

Live Ops is Growing

The idea of Live Ops is relatively new and more features are being added to encompass Live Ops. A good Live Ops platform analyzes, measures, supports, and responds to player behavior in order to optimize the gaming experience. This includes things like gathering data on player activity and performance, analyzing that data to identify areas of opportunity or improvement, running tests and experiments to test different ideas, implementing changes based on those tests and experiments, support in-game play, and monitoring results over time.

Live Ops helps developers understand what players are doing in their games so they can make better design decisions. It allows developers to respond quickly and effectively when issues arise or opportunities present themselves.

Build Live Ops

As you can see, the scope of Live Ops can be quite broad but very useful to the game developer. By regularly monitoring player behavior in-game, developers can identify areas where improvements can be made before they become major issues. If the game is suffering from low retention rates due to certain features being too difficult for new players or not engaging enough for existing players then Live Ops can help identify these problems before they spiral out of control by providing real-time data on how people are playing the game.

Live Ops also helps developers monetize their games more effectively by providing insights into what players are willing to pay for and why. This data can be used to create better in-app purchase offers, optimize ad campaigns, or drive user engagement with special events or promotions.

Overall, Live Ops is an invaluable tool for game developers as it helps them understand their players better and make informed decisions about how to grow and improve their games. By leveraging the insights that Live Ops provides, developers can create more engaging experiences for their players, generate more revenue from in-app purchases, and keep their games highly competitive in an ever-changing marketplace.  

This is why Azumo is focused on helping video game developers achieve their Live Ops goals. We have worked with several market leaders building Live Ops solutions for their online games and we are committed to helping you maximize the value that games can bring to players and developers alike with our innovative creative solutions. Contact us today to see how we can help you build your live gaming operations!

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