Match experiences affect interest: Impacts of matchmaking and performance on churn in a competitive game

Hyunjae Kang, Changwoo Suh, Huy Kang Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study assessed how matchmaking and match results affect player churn in a multiplayer competitive game. In competitive games, matchmaking is crucial in gathering players with similar skills and creating balanced player-versus-player matches. Players are highly motivated when they win matches, whereas losing matches is demotivating, leading to churn. We performed a two-way fixed effects estimation using our panel data to analyze the relationship between players' churn and match experience. The panel data retrieved 42 days of server-side in-game logs, comprising approximately six million matches played by more than 262k players in the casual commercial game “Everybody's Marble.” The experimental results indicate that churn is positively influenced by being matched with stronger opponents. Interestingly, being matched with weaker opponents decreases the possibility of churn more than fair matches (being matched with equally skilled opponents). Furthermore, large differences in opponents' skill levels positively influence churn, while more frequent and consecutive wins negatively influence it. The results also reveal that consecutive losses can affect churn differently, depending on the players' level. This study provides theoretical and practical implications for researchers who want to understand the factors that affect user churn and game developers who want to maximize user retention rates in commercial games.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24891
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2024 Feb 15

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Author(s)


  • Competitive game
  • Matchmaking
  • Player churn
  • Player experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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