On this week’s episode of IndieGameBusiness™ podcast Jim Mulford from acQyr eXchange was on the show to discuss the rising prominence of loyalty programs within the video game industry. In this short summary we’ll be going over the topics covered from the origin of these programs and where they are now. 

As Jay mentioned in the podcast this idea of loyalty to a brand truly began when Microsoft introduced the Gamerscore system at E3 2005. It created a market in which specific people would go out and specifically buy games just for the ability to improve their gamerscore easily. As the achievement systems were limited at the time of what could even be considered an achievement it is a very different system to the modern console generations version of achievements. This shift in how achievements were handled eliminated this unintentional market but showed companies that a sort of system could be profitable leading to the current loyalty programs we have today. 

If you are a consumer of any sort of video game media you have come into contact with one of the many loyalty programs present in the industry. Playstation has PS Plus for online play with free games offered every month as long as you continue to pay for the service, Microsoft has a rewards program alongside Gamepass to promote free products to their consumer, Nintendo has My Nintendo where consumers earn silver and gold coins to use on discounts for games as well exclusive physical merchandise. These are only a few examples as companies such as EA, Ubisoft, Razer, etc. all have programs as well. 

Jim mentions that the downfall of a lot of these programs are that they offer too little of a reward or incentive for members to care. He states that the goal of these programs should help provide retention to consumers but many of these programs do not have cross initiatives and only cater to their exclusive audiences rather than offering some sort of partnership with other companies. Loyalty programs can be a great way to keep gamers engaged but many companies have to adapt to the changing ways in which consumers expect certain things from their loyalty services. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Achievements in a way served the groundwork for the way companies now have established loyalty programs starting in 2005.
  • Loyalty programs are seen throughout the industry with almost every major developer having some form of loyalty rewards for their frequent customers. 
  • Loyalty programs are used to promote retention for the companies as consumers will associate programs with their respective developer. 
  • These programs need to adapt to the industry and begin offering partnerships as many of these programs are too monopolized for consumers to be truly invested. 

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