Game Development Reference
In the next chapter, we discuss microtransactions in far greater detail, ana-
lyzing the types of virtual goods that can be sold and how they affect game
design. First, though, let's check in with one of gaming's top creative designers
to hear his thoughts on social gaming.
Interview with Ryan Cleven: Social Platforms
Ryan Cleven has been making games
since 1997. He has worked as a software
developer, CG supervisor, game designer,
and producer at companies like Radical,
Mainframe, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft.
He is currently a game director with Big
Park Studios in Vancouver.
Q: Tell us who you are and what you do.
A: My name is Ryan Cleven. I'm a Creative
Director at Microsoft's BigPark studio. I've
been making games professionally for
about fourteen years and unprofessionally
for another seven or so before that. I've made various racing games, from
snowmobile racing games, snowboard racing games, basketball games, and
sports games to more driving games. They've been mostly console games.
Around 2008 I started working on the only free-to-play console game I
know of on the Xbox that aimed to make money off of microtransactions.
Q: It seems to me that Xbox Live is very much a social platform. What sort
of features do console platforms offer that could help make games more
A: Xbox Live is definitely a social platform. It has users who have friends, who
are connected to each other. One thing that more console games could leverage
better is the connectivity information on Live to communicate with users who
have been playing the game recently. The consoles communicate who is online
at a given point, yes, but when you go to play any Facebook game, there it is,
front and center, who among your friends play this game. With most console