Mobile gaming is a vibrant and rapidly changing industry. Not only did it alter the way we play games, but it has also revolutionized the way games are developed. Historically, games used to have big initial releases with no further development or updates, confined to one cartridge or disk, and no chance to fix bugs or problems after the game was out on the market. But with modern mobile games, it’s possible to continuously improve the gaming experience.
Understanding games not as a fixed product but as a service has given us the opportunity to provide new content and updates to players after the release. It has also made it possible for developers to listen to what players want and need, and to implement their ideas into the game. One of the top buzzwords in this context is LiveOps. But what does it mean?
Christian, our Head of DevOps at Kolibri Games, is leading the development of our new LiveOps platform and offers a look into this project:
In a nutshell, LiveOps means operating a game after it has been published. Instead of developing, releasing a game, and moving on to the next project, doing “live operations” on it, enables us to continually enhance the gaming experience. By improving the game, updating it, introducing new features, and even live events to it, the game keeps evolving long after the release. Doing LiveOps literally means keeping a game alive!
From weekly updates to live events
We strive to make our games better and more engaging, listening to the player’s feedback and data we gather to become the most player-centric company in the world. We introduce new features and bug fixes on a weekly basis ensuring a continuous evolution of our apps. So far we are using LiveOps to ship regular updates, run basic time-limited events, and conduct A/B tests.
From the data we gather, we decide on what new content we want to implement:
We develop the assets, create the code, and release an update, informing our players of special events through push notifications. The players then have to update the game to access the new content. This process, of course, takes time and, when a feature is shipped, it’s out there and only reversible or fixable with another update.
We’ve realized that there are a few problems with this release schedule: Even though we are absolute pros at shipping updates, the adoption of a new feature takes a lot of time – and time is one of the most valuable resources in mobile game development. From development over roll-out to complete integration, the release cycle is taking at least three weeks. In a dynamic and competitive market as mobile games, this is a long time.
Take a look at the creative process behind our infamous cheese mine right here