I have to make a signup form for a mobile web based game. I want to make is simple. I'm going to request an username and password from the player. May I request an e-mail, and send an activation mail for her, or it is ok to hide it from the signup process?

If I hide it, the signup is faster, but it allows for users to easily create more accounts, what is not so good in the game. Ok, he can register multiple accounts even with e-mail requirement, but it will be harder with e-mail activation process every time.

If I require the email at signup, I'll make the process longer and more complicated.

The e-mail is required only for password recovery, but if the player skips to save his email address, he can't recover his password later.

It is good idea to ask the user to add his email later? For example, if he reaches some level in game?

3 Answers 3


I would argue for a "late onboarding" approach, where you don't ask the user to set up an account until you absolutely have to.

I do believe that asking users for any signup information prematurely will compromise conversion. The idea is to let the user try out your game, have a blast and realize what level of value playing the game might mean to him before asking him to sign up. Once he has completed a couple of levels or made a highscore he will sign up if he is planning to come back.

Whether you ask for username or email really depends on what your expectations are in terms of being able to uniquely identify users. If it is a simple singleplayer game with a leaderboard, maybe, signing him up with username is fine. If he chooses to sign up again with another username it is his own problem - he'd just lose his progress in the game. If it is a social game, on the other hand, where users are able to chat and there is some sort of mutual trust involved, authenticating users indentity might be more crucial.

Also, users email addresses are commonly used to send notifications to users that something is going on in the game, once they have not been active for a while. Whether that is a good idea is another discussion, but obviously requires you to get their email address.

  • Thank you, it's a social game and its problematic to track everything while the user isn't logged in.
    – user51865
    Jul 19, 2014 at 18:09
  • How about using social connect to ease the pain of signup, then? FB-login, twitter, Linkedin etc. Possibly paired with an old-school signup as a fall-back.
    – zkwsk
    Jul 19, 2014 at 18:26

What you're probably looking for is a solution that has the best of both for your users.

Asking for an email address at signup is a requirement on most websites these days, and users are going to expect it. I wouldn't expect adding this requirement to drive users away, and realistically it's not going to add that much to the time needed to sign up. It has the added advantage of verifying accounts in a similar way to CAPTCHA.

However, if you do decide not to include it, it may be a good idea to keep the field for an email address there. That way, you can have it as optional, while stressing the benefits of adding your email address (i.e. password recovery). You can then have another option to add the email address in the user's settings page. I would not forcing the user to add an email address after a certain point: that's too much like a 'trial' version for me. It's like saying 'you can use this, but only until X point unless you give us an email address'. That's going to give users the impression that you haven't got their experience first, and thus drive them away. You can always use a little popup that asks them to add an email, but don't force them to.

  • Thank you! Yes, it can be seen as a trial version of a game, but in this context is not a bad thing. He can play the game before the actiation process.
    – user51865
    Jul 19, 2014 at 18:08
  • I like the idea to ask them to add an email, but if he doesn't save his email and he forgot his password, that will be a problem.
    – user51865
    Jul 19, 2014 at 18:17

I read somewhere recently (and I maybe wrong) that in Germany double opt-in is mandated under law now as it stops nefarious activities by others. This also limits risks to your servers from hackers attempting to register millions of users all at once :)

Requesting and email address and verification also confirms that the email provided is legitimate so if you want to contact users in the future for other reasons (and marketing consent is agreed to by the user) this could be a valuable commodity for the business.

I agree with funkylaundry that postponing sign up as late as possible is often a good decision as users will become familiar and engaged with the product and see eventual sign up as less of a barrier; but how different is this from a trial?

One solution (that i think Myfitnesspal use) is to let the user sign up very simple (Username & Password) and have full access to the site but regularly remind the user to provide and verify an email (potentially with a 'do not ask me again' option). This presents a fairly non intrusive solution.

  • "in Germany double opt-in is mandated under law now " I live in Germany and never heard of that. But we have an unclear situation regarding the Terms of Use checkbox... Jul 21, 2014 at 15:52
  • I read an article that referenced: Section 7 of the German Law against Unfair Competition, and seems to describe any Unconscionable Marketing as pestering. Slightly different to requiring double-opt in for user registration, but as i stated it has other benefits, it really depends on whether you consider contact information of your customer valuable to the business.
    – OpenTage
    Jul 21, 2014 at 16:04
  • 1
    The unfair competition law is about that you have to provide a checkbox "yes, send me a newsletter". It says nothing about an email verification process. Email verification is not mandatory by any german law. Jul 22, 2014 at 8:04

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