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FREEMIUM GAME DESIGN
Social Games and Free2play Games

Prepared by:
Fawzi Mesmar
ABOUT ME
A passionate game designer with over 10 years of
experience in the industry, I worked on multiple
platforms (PC, ...
FUNDAMENTALS OF F2P
DESIGN
Basic components of Free to play games
GAME LOOP
Successful free 2 play design employs infinite
loops of gameplay
Get
Pony

Assign
to shop

MLP GAME LOOP
-

-

Collect
Reward

wait

The game’s main focus is the
collection of ponies, so ...
Plow
land

Plant
crop

FARMVILLE GAME
LOOP
-

-

Sell
crop

wait

The trend setter of modern
freemium game design
The infi...
CONTROLLED SESSIONS
Limiting users from burning through your content
ENERGY SYSTEM
-

Definition: giving a limited
number of resources that refill
slowly over time.

-

Great for creating sch...
WAITING TIMES
-

An absolute time that you need
to wait for a certain element in
which you progress.

-

Has complete cont...
SUBSCRIPTION BASED
-

A prepaid amount for a certain
time of gameplay.

-

Unsuccessful in most cases
except for rare few ...
PROGRESSION GATING
Intentional grinding segments to hinder player
progress
300000

250000

200000

150000

Series1

100000

50000

0

1

3

5

7

9

11

13

15

17

19

21

23

25

27

29

31

33

...
HOOK PHASE
-

Insure that the player is
introduced correctly the
game’s mechanics

-

PAY WALLS
-

Once the player is fami...
SOCIAL GATING
-

Some games value user
acquisition just as much as
monetization

-

Can be a double edged
sword, but great...
SOCIAL DESIGN
Games that go viral are more likely to succeed
SOCIAL COMPONENTS
-

Freemium games are also
known as social games for a
reason

-

Gifts

-

Visiting

-

Help your frien...
VIRAL FEATURES
-

The use of social networks is
essentials for free to play games
to succeed

-

Facebook

-

Game Centre
...
ASYNCHRONOUS
SOCIAL DESIGN
-

Creating multiplayer
experiences without having 2
players online at the same time

-

Study ...
REAL TIME SOCIAL
DESIGN
-

Two players playing with or
against each other at the same
time

-

Directly affect both player...
RETENTION
Getting the users to play the game, then
wanting to come back for more
DECAY COMPONENTS
-

Creating game mechanics that
cause the user to come back to
the game

-

Elements can go broken or
was...
WAITING TIMES
-

Among perfect example of
features that would cause the
player to constantly check on
their game
DAILY REWARDS
-

Similar to coffee cards the
object of those features is to
create gaming habits as well as
retention
MONETIZATION
The concept of making money in a free to play
game
HARD/PREMIUM
CURRENCY
-

The player’s concept of what
they’re spending is usually
masked by having another
currency layer
...
PREMIUM ITEMS
-

Items that you can’t have in
any other way than direct
purchase. Usually used to
complete a collection or...
CONSUMABLE
STRATEGY
-

Items that are sold to aid in your
game but for one time use only

-

Power ups

-

Revives

-

Ext...
SHORTCUTS
-

Help the player skip the
otherwise boring parts of the
game

-

Those boring parts are
intentionally placed a...
VANITY ITEMS
-

Its very important to capitalize
on the players desire of self
expression

-

Those items do not serve
gam...
ANALYTICS
The game of numbers beyond the game itself
DESIGN ON DEMAND

►

UPDATING A GAME THAT’S ALREADY RELEASED

By Data Mining, the designer now has instant access to what ...
WHAT TO TRACK

►

USE THE GAME LOOP TO IDENTIFY THE GAMES MAIN
FEATURES AND TRACK THOSE FIRST

You need to keep track of u...
DAU, MAU AND PAU

►

NOT EVERYONE THAT DOWNLOAD THE GAME COUNT

The initial download number of your game is a good indicat...
CONVERSION AND RETENTION RATES

►

ITS IMPORTANT TO FIND WAYS TO TURN DAU INTO PAU

Having a massively successful game tha...
LIVE OPS
Maintaining freemium games after release
IMPACT OF UPDATES
ON GAME ANALYTICS
-

Updates are important to return
interest of users to the game

-

More content

-

...
TIME LIMITED EVENTS
AND ITEMS
-

Running server side events great
help interaction with the game
and the audience

-

Grea...
THANK YOU
Fawzi.mesmar@gameloft.com
fawzi-games.blogspot.com
+64 21 077 8587
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Freemium gamedesign

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Part of a work shop I did in the Media Design School regarding Freemium game design, industry trends and best practices.

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Transcript of "Freemium gamedesign"

  1. 1. FREEMIUM GAME DESIGN Social Games and Free2play Games Prepared by: Fawzi Mesmar
  2. 2. ABOUT ME A passionate game designer with over 10 years of experience in the industry, I worked on multiple platforms (PC, Xbox360, XBLA, GBA, Facebook, iOS and Android). Projects I worked on includes My Little pony Friendship is magic, My Littlest Pet shop, Persona 3 Social and many others. Currently I’m the Principal game designer of Gameloft NZ
  3. 3. FUNDAMENTALS OF F2P DESIGN Basic components of Free to play games
  4. 4. GAME LOOP Successful free 2 play design employs infinite loops of gameplay
  5. 5. Get Pony Assign to shop MLP GAME LOOP - - Collect Reward wait The game’s main focus is the collection of ponies, so the loop has to be designed around that Ponies have to be the deciding factor around giving the player the available resources to get more ponies and so on
  6. 6. Plow land Plant crop FARMVILLE GAME LOOP - - Sell crop wait The trend setter of modern freemium game design The infinite loop provides monetization opportunities on each step which makes it successful.
  7. 7. CONTROLLED SESSIONS Limiting users from burning through your content
  8. 8. ENERGY SYSTEM - Definition: giving a limited number of resources that refill slowly over time. - Great for creating scheduled user behaviour not so good for users with easy access.
  9. 9. WAITING TIMES - An absolute time that you need to wait for a certain element in which you progress. - Has complete control on average playing sessions for players - Strong monetization
  10. 10. SUBSCRIPTION BASED - A prepaid amount for a certain time of gameplay. - Unsuccessful in most cases except for rare few game genres.
  11. 11. PROGRESSION GATING Intentional grinding segments to hinder player progress
  12. 12. 300000 250000 200000 150000 Series1 100000 50000 0 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 SAMPLE PROGRESSION CHART 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61 63 65 67 69
  13. 13. HOOK PHASE - Insure that the player is introduced correctly the game’s mechanics - PAY WALLS - Once the player is familiar with gameplay introduce grind mechanics Have a taste of premium gameplay - Those mechanics become progressively harder to achieve - Rapid progression - - Strong tutorial Pay walls should be masked to be a natural part of the game to avoid frustration
  14. 14. SOCIAL GATING - Some games value user acquisition just as much as monetization - Can be a double edged sword, but great way to viralize the game - Has to be timed correctly
  15. 15. SOCIAL DESIGN Games that go viral are more likely to succeed
  16. 16. SOCIAL COMPONENTS - Freemium games are also known as social games for a reason - Gifts - Visiting - Help your friend
  17. 17. VIRAL FEATURES - The use of social networks is essentials for free to play games to succeed - Facebook - Game Centre - Steam
  18. 18. ASYNCHRONOUS SOCIAL DESIGN - Creating multiplayer experiences without having 2 players online at the same time - Study social interactions - Data transfer - AI supported
  19. 19. REAL TIME SOCIAL DESIGN - Two players playing with or against each other at the same time - Directly affect both players games in real time - Demands more of the players - Harder to pull off
  20. 20. RETENTION Getting the users to play the game, then wanting to come back for more
  21. 21. DECAY COMPONENTS - Creating game mechanics that cause the user to come back to the game - Elements can go broken or wasted if the player doesn’t check in regularly
  22. 22. WAITING TIMES - Among perfect example of features that would cause the player to constantly check on their game
  23. 23. DAILY REWARDS - Similar to coffee cards the object of those features is to create gaming habits as well as retention
  24. 24. MONETIZATION The concept of making money in a free to play game
  25. 25. HARD/PREMIUM CURRENCY - The player’s concept of what they’re spending is usually masked by having another currency layer - The player identifies that whatever is purchased with that currency is valuable, including time
  26. 26. PREMIUM ITEMS - Items that you can’t have in any other way than direct purchase. Usually used to complete a collection or for bragging rights.
  27. 27. CONSUMABLE STRATEGY - Items that are sold to aid in your game but for one time use only - Power ups - Revives - Extra lives
  28. 28. SHORTCUTS - Help the player skip the otherwise boring parts of the game - Those boring parts are intentionally placed as well
  29. 29. VANITY ITEMS - Its very important to capitalize on the players desire of self expression - Those items do not serve gameplay purposes but they look cool, and delivers a certain message to other players.
  30. 30. ANALYTICS The game of numbers beyond the game itself
  31. 31. DESIGN ON DEMAND ► UPDATING A GAME THAT’S ALREADY RELEASED By Data Mining, the designer now has instant access to what features are working and what aren’t; the ability to fix them on the spot and test different markets Soft Launch
  32. 32. WHAT TO TRACK ► USE THE GAME LOOP TO IDENTIFY THE GAMES MAIN FEATURES AND TRACK THOSE FIRST You need to keep track of user purchases of all items, how often any of those features are used, and A-B test the UI to find out what’s really working
  33. 33. DAU, MAU AND PAU ► NOT EVERYONE THAT DOWNLOAD THE GAME COUNT The initial download number of your game is a good indication of how successful the title is, however there are other metrics to measure how much REVENUE its likely to produce
  34. 34. CONVERSION AND RETENTION RATES ► ITS IMPORTANT TO FIND WAYS TO TURN DAU INTO PAU Having a massively successful game that’s not getting income means that you won’t be able to sustain it for long. You need to know why you’re losing users if you were and how to convert to paying users if you can.
  35. 35. LIVE OPS Maintaining freemium games after release
  36. 36. IMPACT OF UPDATES ON GAME ANALYTICS - Updates are important to return interest of users to the game - More content - New features - Bug Fixes
  37. 37. TIME LIMITED EVENTS AND ITEMS - Running server side events great help interaction with the game and the audience - Great source of income - Massively successful
  38. 38. THANK YOU Fawzi.mesmar@gameloft.com fawzi-games.blogspot.com +64 21 077 8587
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