Running a mobile game live for more than five years is definitely a challenge. You have to stay creative and innovative to come up with new ideas all the time to keep the game interesting and players engaged. But it can also be fun because you always have to find new approaches to make a thing that is already loved by a lot of people even better. One of these success stories is Idle Miner Tycoon. Since launching in 2016, the game has been downloaded over 100 million times globally, and it keeps attracting new players, as well as engaging long-term fans.
Bruno Patatas, Product Director of IMT, is the expert on why IMT stands out from the overwhelming market of mobile games. What makes it successful? What are his tips for other game creators to keep their games running for several years?
Let’s hear from Bruno himself:
A STRONG CORE MEETS LIVEOPS
The strength of IMT is definitely its simple but very satisfying core loop. It allows for fast progression but remains easy to understand for new users. That’s why the tutorial stays mostly the same after five years. Players very easily get what the game is about and find fun in it early on. The complexity comes with progression as you unlock not only new mines but discover the meta game like collecting super managers or going on expeditions with friends.
The winning formula for keeping players engaged for months and even years lies in our Live Ops. IMT would not be as successful in the long-term without the consistent utilization and further development of Live Ops. Our updates and event mines keep the game interesting and engaging for players in the long run because there is always something new to discover or another challenge to tackle. If it’s a seasonal holiday-themed event or something like the cross-promotion with Assassin’s Creed, players can be certain that there is always something new awaiting them when they log in.
Read about our recent Assassin’s Creed cross promo on IMT here
THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY FEEDBACK AND DATA
With a team of 42, IMT is by far our largest game team. It’s a lot of fun to work with such talented and passionate people, as well as communicating with our players. I always say, “IMT belongs to the team” – in the way that everyone’s ideas are important and everybody can contribute to making IMT the best game it can possibly be. But not only internal feedback plays a big role in coming up with new ideas and making IMT the winning game it is.
I check our Discord and Reddit channels every day to read the feedback from the community. Also, the community management team compiles and presents player feedback they are receiving on a weekly basis. This plays a big role in our ideation process for new features and updates. It’s not only players reporting what’s not working or needs improvement, but also what they wish for in the game. We have a whole backlog of ideas from players. One thing that we implemented which came from the community were the rewards for the season pass so that it’s more rewarding to complete a whole season of event mines.
The data we collect helps us to support the feedback from the community. We are especially looking at our north star KPIs like daily active users and monthly active users to measure the average number of players. This way, we can check on our existing player base, measure if it’s staying constant, decreasing or increasing (while our goal, of course, is an increase). Day 1, Day 7 and Day 30 retention are important indicators for us as well to see if the game is fun for new players and if they keep coming back to it.
If you want to know more about how to measure player engagement and the success of your game, click here.
THE FUTURE OF IMT
It’s definitely challenging to run a mobile game this long, and it’s rare to be this successful after five years. Not only the production values of mobile games, but also player expectations are rising, and we have to match them. The market is very fast-paced, so we have to be quick on our feet and always strive to improve the game.
One feature, we just recently launched, is the super manager equipment: It gives the game a new meta where you not only collect super managers but can equip them with a variety of accessories to boost different skills. Super managers are one of the most popular features of IMT that add a strategic element to the core. We are also working on expanding the meta game also in the way of more social features, so stay tuned for that.
SOME TIPS FROM BRUNO
Now you know how we are setting up IMT for a successful future. But what does this mean for mobile game development in general? Here are some tips:
Always have your competitors in mind
Observe the market and get inspired – not only by your competitors but also by other developers. This way, you will arrive at new ideas to make your own game even better.
Pay attention to the community
Your players are your most valuable resource for new and successful ideas – listen to them!
Always keep learning
There is always something new to learn! Some books I can recommend include “Atomic Habits” by James Clear for personal development, “The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries for setting agile environments, and “The Art of Game Design Cards” by Jesse Schell. These are great tools for creative brainstorming.
All in all, there is no guarantee that your game will be successful for years to come, but by keeping these tips in mind, your chances of creating the next IMT might be just on the horizon.
If you want to work on a successful game such as IMT and bring it to the next level, join our team and apply for one of the open positions below: