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The Concept You Must Know to be Successful in Mobile Gaming

In today's dynamic world of mobile gaming, the speed of iteration and adaptation is paramount. For product managers, studio executives, and live-ops teams aiming for the pinnacle of success, a mid-20th-century concept developed by US Air Force Colonel John Boyd might hold the key: The OODA loop. Standing for Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, this model can greatly enhance a team's agility, enabling quicker responses to user behaviors and market shifts.

What is the OODA Loop

The essence of the OODA loop is continuous feedback and adaptation.

  • Observe: Recognize changes in player behaviors, preferences, and market trends.
  • Orient: Analyze the observations, aligning them with the game's objectives, and understanding the implications.
  • Decide: Make informed decisions based on the orientation, whether it's introducing a new feature, tweaking an existing one, or launching a marketing campaign.
  • Act: Implement the decisions and observe the results, thus restarting the loop.

This model's brilliance lies in its cyclical nature—by the time one loop is completed, the next has already begun, ensuring the game stays relevant and captivating.

Applying the OODA Loop to Mobile Gaming

Imagine a scenario where a new RPG mobile game experiences a sudden drop in player engagement during its third level.

  • Observe: Analytics tools indicate players are abandoning the game at a specific stage.
  • Orient: The live-ops team hypothesizes that the level's difficulty spike could be the culprit, deterring players from progressing further.
  • Decide: The team decides to tweak the level's difficulty and introduce a mini-tutorial.
  • Act: Using a tool like Joystick, these changes can be implemented and AB tested in minutes, rather than waiting days or week for a software update. Using remote config is like having a live-ops cheat code.

After these changes, player retention past the third level improves dramatically, validating the team's hypothesis.

The Power of Dynamic Remote Config in Accelerating the OODA Loop

While the OODA loop is a powerful model, its effectiveness in mobile gaming hinges on the tools at our disposal. Joystick stands out as a tool perfectly aligned with the OODA loop principles. It decentralizes decision-making, empowering team members closest to the players—those who observe and understand player behaviors firsthand—to make quick changes. No longer does one need to wait for a tedious code deploy; with Joystick, decisions can be oriented and acted upon in real-time, making the game's evolution truly dynamic.

The Strategic Significance of Remote Config in Mobile Gaming

Choosing to integrate remote config tools like Joystick isn't just a tactical move—it's a strategic. Such tools don't just make life easier for developers; they redefine the entire game's life cycle. The increased agility they offer can significantly enhance user engagement, as changes based on player feedback can be rolled out almost instantaneously.

What's the Take Away?

For those in the mobile gaming industry, the OODA loop offers a blueprint for sustained success. By continuously observing, orienting, deciding, and acting, games can remain fresh, engaging, and profitable. However, all too often, the gap between "Decide" and "Act" is too long: days to weeks, or even months. With remote configuration tooling like Joystick, the gap is shorten to hours or even minutes. Embracing the OODA loop by integrating remote config is a strategic decision that will pay dividends, setting the stage for a game that evolves in-step with its players and the market.

Further Reading

Here are three great resources (that we have personally read) for learning more about the OODA loop.