NeatoCode Techniques
Rewarding Users With Real Goods: Is it Worth the Retention Increase?

The Lock n Roll dice puzzle game I work on just got an awesome new update where you earn credit from playing to get real goods: things from Starbucks gift cards, to music, to even an Xbox. We’re working with Pocket Change, who you can read about on TNW.

This is exciting as a game developer because normally we can only give our users intangible things like points, status, ranking above others, momentary enjoyment and relaxation, virtual goods and game play bonuses that let them proceed faster, etc.. This is something real.

For a user, earning credit looks like this:

Full size screenshot available here.

A dialog letting them know they earned reward credit and an option to close and continue or check out the shop for what they can get with it.

The code for your app to do this looks like this:

Intent rewardIntent = PocketChange.getDisplayRewardIntent();
if (rewardIntent != null) {
    return true;

The library decides when a reward is available for each user and that’s when you get a result other than null. Your app decides when to check for and offer rewards.

The store looks like this:

Full size screenshot available here.

There’s some setup code needed as well. Your Android activity class needs to do this:


Any you need the PocketChange project set as a library project. I set the AndroidManifest.xml entries it needs in the library project itself and use Android’s manifest merging capabilities to bring them into the app’s manifest. This keeps the app’s manifest smaller and easier to maintain and understand. So I have these lines in the library AndroidManifest.xml and put this line in the project properties:


Future Outlook

I’m really excited to see how this change affects our user retention. Previously, in the free version of the game on Google Play we were showing AppFlood at the end of every game if a cached AppFlood game recommendation was available. This brought in five install credits per day. For the past week 150/users have started playing per day, however, so improved retention should be able to do better than an extra 5 installs per day.

I’m looking forward to improvements in the Pocket Change library itself as well. Right now the areas around the reward dialog can be grayed out if the game behind it is using hardware acceleration. Also the store forces portrait orientation, which is bad for users playing in landscape who have to rotate their device. I don’t think these problems are show stoppers, however, and am looking forward to tracking the performance of the new change. Pocket Change has been doing very well as a startup, securing funding from companies like Google, although they have some upcoming competition that just launched called gogaminggo.

Check out the new changes in the game. Right now the code checks for a reward to give you each time you finish a game, and users generally get a reward each day!

  1. neatocode posted this
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