A study (published yesterday) from the University at Buffalo School of Management, which followed 173 players who were part of a large MMORPG community to figure out strategies in which to increase player loyalty/retention, concluded with what everyone who has actively played Ultima Online and/or Star Wars Galaxies (and/or MUDs) have known for (a) decade(s) or longer:
“It [the study] examined whether two different game-playing strategies were successful in producing loyal players.
One strategy found that giving players more control and ownership of their character increased loyalty. The second strategy showed that gamers who played cooperatively and worked with other gamers in “guilds” built loyalty and social identity.
“To build a player’s feeling of ownership towards its character, game makers should provide equal opportunities for any character to win a battle,” says Sanders. “They should also build more selective or elaborate chat rooms and guild features to help players socialize.”
It doesn’t take a brain-surgeon to figure out that this isn’t rocket-science:
- Ownership is, has been and will continue to be a key ingredient to player retention.