Microsoft Game Studios: TURNING GAMERS
INTO LOYAL SOLDIERS

How we used multi-screen experiences to drive DLC and level up player loyalty between releases.

SUMMARY

Getting gamers excited for a franchise game launch is easy. But keeping them engaged during the typical two-year window before the next launch in the face of big, competing titles that are arriving right on its heels? That’s a lot tougher. Yet, that’s exactly the challenge Microsoft laid before us.

Here’s how we powered up gamer devotion for the two most successful gaming franchises Microsoft’s history and kept fans playing longer.

OUR ROLES

  • Digital Product Strategy
  • Social Media Strategy
  • UX & Multi-Screen Design
  • Content Strategy
  • Web & Mobile Development
  • Native App Development

CHALLENGE

Microsoft asked us: How can we prevent fans from defecting to other titles and keep them playing HALO and Gears of War longer?

INSIGHTS

Gamers who compete successfully against other gamers tend to play a title longer, spend more on downloadable content and are less likely to abandon the game. This told us that an engaged, game-centric community would be highly sustainable for future releases.

 

HELP NOOBS PLAY BETTER

In established franchises, new players encounter a steep learning curve, taught brutally at the hands of their opponents.

 

KEEP GAMERS PLAYING TOGETHER

Gamers will play titles that they play together as a group for longer periods than those they play alone.

 

MAKE THINGS INTERESTING

Meta-game competition drives repeat use, with a vengeance.

SOLUTION

CULTIVATING COMMUNITY & SUSTAINING ENGAGEMENT

We developed Halo: Waypoint and Gears of War: War Journal, connected interactive destinations that fostered and sustained multiplayer communities across a spectrum of touch points by rewarding loyalty, longevity and skill.

We also created companion experiences, applications and destinations to help gamers play better and reach the highest levels of satisfaction.

Halo: Waypoint Cultivating Life Beyond Launch

Launched to coincide with the release of Halo: Reach, Waypoint was developed to sustain player engagement for several years, across multiple Halo releases.

Connecting Beyond The Console

Players spend console time playing the game itself, but Microsoft needed a broader strategy to help keep fans engaged beyond the Xbox.

The Halo Waypoint website destination made the vast universe of Halocontent accessible off-console, from videos, Machinima and motion comics, to interviews, podcasts forums and – most importantly – in-game stats.

Making of Halo: Waypoint

The Halo: Waypoint website destination made the vast universe of Halocontent accessible off-console, from videos, Machinima and motion comics, to interviews, podcasts forums and – most importantly – in-game stats.

Xbox Kinect Experience

With the launch of Xbox Kinect, Halo: Waypoint was updated to include features that harnessed the platform’s groundbreaking technology.

Halo: Waypoint Community

The destination also features Halo Bulletin, blog posts, polls and forum posts. Additional links provide easy access to the player’s user profile as well as archived Bulletins and blog posts. A unique Calendar feature provides information on upcoming events.

Screenshot of Waypoint Community

Halo: Waypoint Mobile App: The Always-On Grunt’s Eye View

We developed a multi-screen strategy, implementing seamless, always-on touch points between gameplay and Halo: Waypoint to give users a whole new immersive social experience across mobile, console, tablet and the web.

While the console experience offered more of an admiral’s level overview of broad topics, the mobile app was akin to a foot soldier’s sidearm – always at the ready, quick to utilize and highly functional.

Mobile screens of the Waypoint Mobile App

ATLAS Product Family: Customized Strategic DLC

We conceptualized ATLAS, the official, multiplayer companion to Halo, which serves up chapter-level strategy guides for purchase, based on an individual’s unique gameplay.

Halo: Waypoint Challenges:

Built-in challenge functionality enabled gamers to test compete directly against friends and rivals in specific in-game situations.

Desktop views of the Waypoint Site

Gears of War Journal Destination: Sharpening Skills& Counting Kills

Like Halo: Waypoint, War Journal was an interactive section that pulled stats directly from the game, allowing gamers to easily access them and interact with friends.

War Journal allowed players to track single and multiplayer achievements, along with 41 “collectible” items, to add depth to the game’s story

War Journal also provided players with insights from their stats data, such as which weapon they used most effectively and what areas of their gameplay needed improvement.

Desktop screenshots of the Gears of War WarJournal
Desktop View of Gears of War WarJournal

In both experiences, we amplified the most enjoyable aspects of each game: personal achievement in Halo multiplayer play, and the one-on-one challenge in Gears of War’s new arcade mode.

ECOSYSTEM

PLATFORM PLANNING

To implement this platform we prioritized journey touch points, established channel roles and focused resources where Halo and Gears of War could achieve their greatest impact.

Diagram of Platform Planning for Halo and Gears Of War

Engaging the Fan Base

Halo: Waypoint and Gears of War: War Journal are built around the most positive elements of the Halo and GoWcommunities.

Multi-Screen Digital Products

Connect like-minded gamers and provide opportunities for taunts and challenges between friends.

Results

Our digital products helped players improve their skills through statistics-based analysis to retain higher levels of multi-player engagement and make the Halo and Gears of War title launches the most successful in their respective franchise histories to date.

Stats

+ DLC

Purchases Searched Between Releases

+ 4 Star

Top 10 Windows Phone App

Find out how we can put solutions like these to work for you.

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