Adrian Walton – Senior Games Designer at DR Studios

Adrian Walton

Adrian Walton, a senior games designer at DR Studios, visited us at the University of Bolton to give us a lecture about his experience within the industry and techniques he has learnt along the way. The topic that caught my attention the most was ‘monetization’.

Microtransactions are the main way freemium and a few premium games get money. Some games cover this really well by allowing the player to not spend money but earn it, however, other games don’t allow you to earn it sucking you in to purchasing it. From (Jacob, 2015) online article titled ‘Gamers are spending thousands of dollars a year on this ‘free’ video game’, statistics show that around ‘$7-$8 billion in iOS revenue’ has been made through ‘in-app purchases’. He then goes on to mention that ‘it isn’t limited to mobile, either’. This just goes to show that it’s very easy for us as gamers to spend that money to get more from the game, and the fact that the game can be free, can in return make us spend more money than a game we would buy.

Showing App sales compared to Hollywood Box Office taken from, (Curtis, 2015)

Pay-to-win is another method companies use in order to monetize their games. These days a lot of gamers despise this method as it takes away playing the game because you can skip most of it using this method. This can be seen as unfair to the players that don’t want to use pay-to-win. From (Knudson, 2015) online blog titled ‘Five Design Strategies for Effective Midcore Monetization’ he goes onto mention that ‘any game that uses a free-to-play economy should allow non-paying users to unlock and progress to the point of any paying players’. This makes the game fair for everyone as nobody has an advantage over others because they will be on similar playing fields.

Pay-to-win taken from, (Splechta, 2013)

With free-to-play mobile games, a lot of developers go down the route of using advertisements within their game. Over the past few years, we have come to accept these as in return, we get a free game from it. However, for the developer they may find it hard to make a living with this method. From the (Luban, 2012) online blog titled ‘The Design of Free-to-Play Games’ he goes onto mention that ‘advertising only has a marginal share in F2P revenues: between 0 and 20 percent’. In terms of money, this is not a great option at all so another monetization method might be used along with this one.

To conclude, I feel that monetization is a huge deal when it comes to both freemium and premium games. For free games, I feel that the developer shouldn’t rely just on advertisements unless they plan to attract a huge audience, instead they should think of an alternate or an extra way to do this such as microtransactions.

Bibliography

Jacobs, H., 2015. Gamers are spending thousands of dollars a year on this ‘free’ video game. [Online]
Available from: http://uk.businessinsider.com/redditors-explain-how-they-spent-thousands-of-dollars-league-of-legends-2015-3?r=US&IR=T
[Accessed 05 May 2016].

Knudson, P., 2015. Five Design Strategies for Effective Midcore Monetization. [Online]
Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/PeterKnudson/20150727/249513/Five_Design_Strategies_for_Effective_Midcore_Monetization.php
[Accessed 05 May 2016].

Luban, P., 2012. The Design of Free-to-Play Games. [Online]
Available from: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/134959/the_design_of_freetoplay_games_.php
[Accessed 05 May 2016].

Curtis, S., 2015. Apple’s apps economy ‘as big as Hollywood’. [Online image].
Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/11362562/Apples-apps-economy-as-big-as-Hollywood.html
[Accessed 08 May 2016].

Splechta, M., 2013. Are we becoming the “Pay-to-Win” generation?. [Online image].
Available from: http://blog.games.com/2013/01/28/are-we-becoming-the-pay-to-win-generation/
[Accessed 08 May 2016].

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