Desirable Free-to-Play Game Design

Current market’s Free-to-Play(F2P) game usually has at least one of these design traits that players universally don’t like:

  1. Less return: Cash to in-game return is less than expected.
  2. Pay-wall: Forcing to convert via disruptive spike in the progression balancing.
  3. Repeating content: Forcing to grind a content that player is no longer engaged(because of there is nothing new).
  4. Pay-to-Play-More(In quantity, not in quality): Player pays to progress more in progression but in a specific limited quantity without being any better in quality.

How can a developer make F2P game without heavily relying on those obvious monetization mechanics to generate revenue?

Focus on Desirable F2P Game Design.

Desirable F2P Game Design focuses on 1 Goal: Maximize player satisfaction and can use these general rules below.

  1. Player must be able to engage the content deeply
    • Create sense of connection through narrative properties. IP works the best with this.
    • Competition or social pressure is another reason.
  2. Player must be able to show amount of love through their investment in the game.
    • Give freedom to choose degree of investment.
  3. Player must be able to save their time through investment in quality, not quantity.
    • Increase efficiency in time instead of buying more time from infinite time sink. Works especially well in competitive games.
    • Incentivize longterm retention.
  4. Player must feel that they’ve made a good decision at & after the point of purchase.
    • Until next time player wants to make a purchase, player must feel like they’ve made a worthy investment hence the Return of Investment from player’s perspective.
    • This will mainly drive chance of repurchase.
  5. Can be gifted
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