A New Model for Free-to-Play Games Design

Matthew Warneford

Our friends over at GamesBrief have been working on hard on creating a graphic to represent a new model for creating great free-to-play games. As free-to-play has turned games design on its head it’s no wonder that GamesBrief has opted to use a funnel to represent the business of free-to-play and a pyramid to represent the game.

Nicholas Lovell, the founder of GamesBrief, explains: “It is very useful to think of your business as a funnel: you are acquiring users for your game, trying to retain them by offering them a fun experience they want to return to, and making it easy for a willing portion of users to spend money. But thinking of the game itself as a funnel can be wrongheaded: people can read into the funnel metaphor the misconception that non-paying users should be ‘filtered out’. That’s against the spirit of allowing players to enjoy your game for free forever, and it risks sacrificing the strong, long-term relationships players could have with your brand.

“…The pyramid is a design model that benefits the funnel, but it challenges developers to move away from ‘whale hunting’ and towards delighting super-fans. It’s a simple idea, but it has the power to subtly transform the way that free-to-play games are designed.”

For more on games design and business models check out the rest of our blog.

You can download a high-res version of the this illustration over at the GamesBrief Store.

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