What If is a cool daring game that can spike some interesting conversations when played with others and some self reflection when played alone. The game is available for both iOS and Android and can be downloaded from the app stores.
Gameplay is a series of questions
While playing this game users are being asked one question each time and all questions follow this format: What if <something good happened> but <something bad happened>
. These type of questions become interesting where:
- The good thing happens to you and the bad thing happen to someone else
- The good thing is materialistic and the bad thing is related to morality
- Sex is involved
- Money is involved
User engagement and retention
Being very simple and daring the game has an instant appeal and is engaging very early on. The challenge here is to turn early engagement into long term retention. Other game, use different game progression schemes like levels or missions in addition to an in-game economy to get the user invested in the game and keep them coming back. This type of game is not set up to do that. There are two things I would have tried here:
- Adding some limits to continuous game play. By doing this users will end the session because they are limited and not because they got bored so they are more likely to come back.
- When played by one person (rather than a group) break the flow of questions with short series of questions on the same theme and label the person at the end of them based on the responses. In other words – give users a sense of completing something every now and then.
Natively asking for rating and sharing in the game
“What if” is using a clever way of asking users to rate and share their game. It is done natively in the game by asking the user a tailored question on the subject: “What if you could make three kind app developers very happy but you had to give their app high rating”. While this is a nice way to get a smile on the users’ face, it seems like the results are lacking at least in terms of ratings and the app only has 201 ratings (all versions). You could easily calculate that the app had over 100,000 installs and with more than 50% answering “yes” to that question you could expect 50K ratings! It might be a good idea to add some logic that keeps asking users who said “yes” to live up to their word. [Correction]
I received a note from the developers that most of the users are actually in Google Play where the number of rating is 10,875!!!. That changes the picture. The why What If asks users to rate the game is not only cool – it also works! Good job guys.
Economy of incentives
Game economies work well when the user can earn coins in the game. This type of gameplay doesn’t really allow it. However, “What If” does a good job in creating an economy that is based on incentivizing the users to take desirable actions. User can earn coins in multiple ways:
- Showing up repeatedly
- Connecting on facebook
- Spreading the word
- Watching videos
- Trying other apps
The problem is that even after making significant effort to collect in game coins, there is not a whole lot you can do with them. My advice here is to try and create some lower cost consumables. Instead of selling the different game modes as lifetime goods, the game could rent them for 1 hour and lower the price to 25 coins.