Paying to win

I was 9 hours into playing a mobile, free-to-play, build and battle game when I made the decision. I was going to pay to win. Not necessarily because I was loving the game so much as I thought it would be interesting to document. If I spent $100 on in-game currency, how far would my money go? Was it enough to ascend to the highest levels of that week’s PvP tournament leaderboard? The tournament was […]

Understanding F2P with the four pleasures model

This microtalk was originally presented at Unknown Worlds’ monthly Postmortem meetup in San Francisco. In the talk, I explain the 4 pleasures model, a mental framework I use to aid hesitant developers in better understanding F2P players. This model, presented by anthropologist Lionel Tiger in his book The Pursuit of Pleasure, explains 4 different types of pleasure: Physio – pleasures of the body and derived from the sensory organs. Socio – the enjoyment derived from relationships with others. Psycho […]

Designing for monetization from day one

As more mobile game developers move into the F2P space or integrate IAP into their premium game, a common set of problems occur around process (or lack thereof) when it comes to designing for monetization. Many game teams I talk to or work with in my role as a monetization design consultant are working in F2P begrudgingly. They distrust the business model and this sentiment bleeds through to the game’s implementation, limiting their chance for success. In […]

Bruce Wayne’s millions can’t buy F2P success

This article originally appeared on GamesIndustry.biz When it comes to superheroes and intellectual properties in general, there is no name bigger than Batman. Thanks to Robert Downey Jr’s charisma and Jon Favreau’s directing, Iron Man is having an incredible resurgence over the past few years. But in terms of perennial, world-wide appeal Bruce Wayne is right up there with Michael Jordan and Star Wars in the pantheon of intellectual properties. The fact that NetherRealm’s free-to-play […]

Making purchases present

Over the past year and a half as a monetization design consultant, one of my core tenets is to make purchasing present. Perhaps the biggest missteps I see in games with IAP is that the developer appears like they are doing everything possible to obscure the fact that a player can spend money within the game. When I get in front of audiences at GDC and other events, I coach that IAP are like banner ads: one must […]

Game Design is Business Design – GDC 2013 Edition

I presented this latest version of my game monetization lecture – Game Design is Business Design – at the 2013 Game Developer’s Conference as part of the Free to Play Design and Business Summit. In the talk, I mention some tools and templates in the lecture that you can find at the following links: Monetization Philosophy (template) Feature Brief (template) Game Treatment (template) Business Model Canvas (template)

5 UI/UX tricks behind CSR Racing’s $12 million month

Back in August, Natural Motion made big headlines when it was reported that their hit game, CSR Racing, had surpassed $12 million in monthly revenue. The drag racer spent most of the month of July dominating the iOS top grossing chart and enjoys a position in the top 25 on both iPhone and iPad today. Based on my model for iPhone/iPad revenue, I estimate that CSR Racing has generated a little over $5 million in worldwide sales in the […]

The Simpsons Tapped Out: Why EA doesn’t need new ip

In last Tuesday’s quarterly earnings report, EA touted the success of the freemium Simpson’s Tapped Out for iOS as one of the stand out successes of the past few months. EA’s Frank Gibeau was quoted as saying “another breakout hit in the fiscal quarter was The Simpsons: Tapped Out, a free-to-play mobile title which launched in August and was the #1 grossing game on iOS for most of the last 4 weeks” (via Games Industry International).  […]