Game talk

This is the catch-all category for stuff about games and game design. It easily makes up the vast majority of the site’s content. If you are looking for something specific, I highly recommend looking into the tags used on the site instead. They can narrow down the hunt immensely.

Designing for Social Play

 Posted by (Visited 206 times)  Game talk
Apr 092021
 

Oops, I forgot to post about this yesterday when it went up!
I wrote about designing for social play for the Playable Worlds website. As you can see, I’m doing an article a week for now… that will probably change once we get more folks writing about what we are doing and inch ever closer to an actual reveal of what we are making.

In the end, good social design is about good society design. That’s what underlies the buzzword, and why it’s so sad that the word “social” gets reduced to mindless clicking or dark patterns on a social media site.

Diversity of people and of play makes for a more robust society, a more enduring community, in every way. That’s good for us as a business. More importantly, it’s better for players. It makes for an online world that doesn’t chase you out or make you feel insignificant or unwanted. A world where you can pursue your own dream.

From up close, from where we stand, we cannot see the shape of the whole. My hope is that by playing in a world like this, players come to realize the interconnectedness of all things.

If the ideas discussed there sound of interest to you, and you are a game dev — you might want to check out our jobs page — we’re hiring for a bunch of roles!

 

Player-driven economies

 Posted by (Visited 705 times)  Game talk
Apr 012021
 

I’ve got a new blog post up on the Playable Worlds site, this time talking about the value of economies driven by players, and what that really means.

This often all gets boiled down to the phrase “a player-driven economy.” And people think it means revenue models and monetization. Maybe, if they are savvier about online worlds, they think it means players make the items that other players play with – and that’s true, they can and do and should! But even that is still a reductionist way to think of it.

A player-driven economy isn’t about the money. It’s about having every way to play the game serve a role in the ecosystem. It’s about all the wonderful and weird ways we choose to live and play, and how we find out that our silly hobbies are vital necessities to someone else.

In the end, it’s about making everyone important. Because we all are. Important. Plumbers, baristas, roleplayers and raiders.

Check it out here!

The Future of Online Worlds

 Posted by (Visited 621 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Mar 252021
 
Colorful blue and green background with geometric shapes and lines. On the left: a circular picture of Playable Worlds CEO Raph Koster at a speaking event. On the right: large white text reads "The Future of Online Worlds".

We are starting to open up a bit about what we are doing here at Playable Worlds!

I am going to tell you that yes, worlds can feel alive, like real places. Places where you can stake out your virtual homestead, and leave your mark in a lasting way. Online worlds can be dynamic, fully persistent, and modifiable by players, and not just unchanging cardboard set pieces an inch deep and monetized a mile wide.

We have the technology: cloud computing power lets us do things with simulation and AI that once seemed impossible. This dream can come true.

To read more, head on over to the Playable Worlds website for the full article!

Feb 112019
 

I’ve written endless words on this in the past, but sometimes you just need a cheat sheet. Particularly these days when people who aren’t community professionals find themselves on the front lines out of business necessity or just because of the nature of social media. So here’s just a quick set of advice for those who find themselves speaking to members of their user community.

Always be honest. Honesty and straightforwardness buys goodwill for when you screw up. Lies buy ill will. And screw ups will happen.

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What drives retention

 Posted by (Visited 10927 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jan 302019
 
The difference in active users between 100% and 10% churn shows a huge increase under the curve for the lower churn rate.

For better or worse, much of the games market is moving to games-as-a-service. Once upon a time, this was known as the MMO business model, because all MMOs were games-as-a-service, and virtually nothing else was.

Obviously, a lot of GaaS games won’t be MMOs. Candy Crush Saga is a service, but it’s not an MMO. Nor does GaaS mean the game has to be free to play with upsells via microtransactions. GaaS is a business strategy, and F2P is a revenue model.

In the past we’ve seen services of all sorts drive revenue in lots of ways:

  • free sampling to get you in the door, supported by other revenue streams such as other paying members subsidizing free users, or advertising
  • a la carte offerings which let you dip into a service without an ongoing commitment
  • periodic upgrade offers to take you from that free tier to something with recurring payments
  • subscription tiers — a low basic offering and a few richer ones catered to specific demos, which retain the ability to a la carte for specific features
  • individual one off upsells for special events that are never covered by the sub tier

In fact, cable companies and phone service both do just about all of the above at once. So there’s lots of ways to make money, if you have a service, and arguably, mature service businesses use as many of them as they can.

But underneath it all is one inevitable underlying truth.

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