Multiplayer and post-launch content engage gamers, Unity reports show

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Unity today released two new reports on gaming — one on multiplayer and one on post-launch content for live-service games. On the surface, they don’t seem very similar, but together they paint a larger picture.

The first report is a cross-platform and multiplayer study. The key findings of this report include the fact that over half (56%) of Americans surveyed have played multiplayer games. Large percentages of young players (82%) and console gamers (61%) played a multiplayer game recently — or play multiplayer games regularly.

This report also has findings about cross-platform multiplayer. A large percentage of users who play multiplayer games (87%) have played a game with cross-platform support. Of the players that Unity surveyed, 43% said they would like more games with cross-platform multiplayer.

According to the report’s key finding: “People want to be able to play with their friends on the devices they have access to. Games that don’t fulfill this need risk being disregarded as an option for groups of highly engaged players – the kind of audience that should form the bedrock of a strong online community for a live title.”

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Felix The, Unity’s VP of product management, said in a statement to GamesBeat: “If the demand of the market is there, if the players are ready to connect and have a higher level of engagement when they’re playing a multiplayer game, then I think the incentive for you to consider a multiplayer game is higher. There’s a higher chance of success with having a multiplayer component, that’s what this report will tell you.”

The second report is about live service gaming and post-launch content. This report concludes from data sourced from Unity’s own platform that the launch of post-launch content can significantly increase user engagement with a title. Within the window of a content drop, game developers can see a significant increase in revenue from their game, both in general revenue and in in-app purchase revenue. Though there are limits — the report notes that apps larger than 500MB have lower install rates — users engage more with games that release post-launch content.

The conclusion from both of these reports concern what game developers can best do to keep gamers engaged with their content for as long as possible. That seems to be to move toward a live service model and to support cross-platform multiplayer development.

Unity recently rolled out its gaming services to unify several of its tools into one development solution that includes support for live-service and cross-platform multiplayer. As Ingrid Lestiyo, Unity’s senior VP of its Operate Solutions, said to GamesBeat at the time, “Games in the past couple of years have been moving from static to live games… What this means is that a game developer has to produce new content on their existing games continuously to keep the players engaged.”

Unity seems to conclude that game developers interested in creating a lucrative game should consider a multiplayer or social component to their titles, as well as cross-platform support.

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