Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
We'll spend time demystifying the alphabet soup of industry terms that
have sprouted up around social game design and monetization like brambles
around a castle; we'll teach you how to cut through the jargon to reach the
treasures that await within. Confused by DAU, MAU, ARPU, PCU, ARPPU, and
the rest? By the time you finish reading this topic, you won't be. Would you like
to know what social game designers mean when they talk about “whales” or
“gold sinks”? We'll teach you. Whether you're a game designer trying to beat
out Farmville, a studio manager looking to take your company in a new direc-
tion, or an investor who wants to better understand the financial opportunities
in this brave new space, we'll better prepare you to navigate the maze.
Next, we'll dive deep into the different strategies for monetizing games.
This isn't a book about how to make “great” games; this is a book about how
to make money through brilliant design, flawless execution, and painstaking
iteration. As such, we'll spend a lot of time visiting the different mechanisms
for giving users the types of experiences they're willing to pay for. Different
approaches can vary in effectiveness for different genres of games, so we'll
look at a number of common types of games, both those that treat games as
a service and more traditional, one-time purchase products. (If you're still in
the console biz, there are ways to further monetize your retail customers … if
you're clever!) We'll talk through episodic content, advertainment, and optional
subscription models.
The sale of virtual goods made more than $7.4 billion dollars in 2010. Yeah,
that was billion with a “b.” So we'll spend a lot of time studying how your
game can get a piece of that pie from markets in Europe, North America, Asia,
and even in emerging markets like Russia, Brazil, and Turkey. We'll talk about
how to combat the illegal sale of virtual goods that you don't want freely traded
and how to charge for those you do , either with single, dual, or more complex
currency systems. Finally, we'll talk about some of the more interesting balanc-
ing issues associated with managing game economies.
Along the way, we'll consult industry thought leaders—those who design
and produce the games, run the shops, analyze the metrics, and make the deals
that motivate these exciting new sectors of the market. Each of these luminaries
will discuss one of the previously mentioned topics in a Q&A interview format.
At the end of this wild ride, you will know the history of game monetiza-
tion, from the first cartridge-based games sold through retail in 1981 to the
most innovative online social game monetization tricks from 2011. You'll have
a superb working knowledge of industry terminology, both for retail products
and for the new-language jargon of MMO and social game metrics and user-
tracking data. You'll have learned how more than 50 different games fit into the
tapestry of the marketplace, how the companies that create and publish them
have sought to innovate, and which have won (and lost) in this high-stakes
business. You'll understand the overlap between console, mobile, handheld,
PC, MMO, and social games, and how to evaluate success in each of these mar-
ket segments. You'll also understand the ways in which the lines can be blurred
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