Rift has been the great (read: only) new subscription MMO success story of the decade, launching in 2011 to applause and a flood of direct debit details. But by mid-2012 subscriber numbers had begun to wane. In October Trion Worlds launched a new initiative with gaming social network Raptr to draw in fresh meat. In essence, the initiative saw players bribed with in-game items to keep playing. The result? The planes of Telara ran red with metaphorical new blood, and players began to play for longer too.
Rift’s first, huge expansion Storm Legion also launched in November, but Raptr reckon that their Rewards system was single-handedly responsible for a 2.3 hour rise in the number of hours existing players sank into their sessions per day between November 13 and January 31.
The initiative had two aims: to bring more new players to Rift, and to ensure existing players stick around for longer.
The first was achieved via giveaway ‘rewards’. Raptr users are given ranks in each of the games they play. In October, users with an ‘Experienced’ rank in Skyrim, WoW or Torchlight 2 were offered access to a month’s free subscription to Rift. The move saw a 470% increase in Rift players on Raptr during the promotional period.
Once players were in the game, Raptr offered prizes for achieving ‘Newbie’, ‘Elite’ and ‘Experienced’ ranks for Rift when playing via the social network’s desktop app. The rewards were in-game items, including the Smithy Goggles, the Exotic Spider Mount Spindrel, and an Arbiter’s Helm.
And it worked. By January 31, average playtime had increased by 58% per player.
“Rift’s Raptr Rewards program helped Trion Worlds accomplish both of its major goals,” wrote Raptr’s Tom Curtis. “The campaign helped attract new active users and drove up player activity across the board, and all Trion Worlds had to do was offer some tangible incentives to reward community participation.
“In the course of just a few weeks, Trion Worlds was able to grow Rift’s audience and give the game a significant boost.”
All of which is great for Rift, but to be honest we’re left a little baffled by the whole affair. How long have you sunk into games in pursuit of promotional gifts?