This will be the first of a series of posts about the new objectives of game designers.
Today, in fact, social-game designers have to consider revenue issues and business models since the beginning of their creative processes.
Games are one of the main reasons why people visit Facebook. In fact, it is estimated that about 40% of users are online to play social games. This means that more than two hundred million people enjoy playing on Facebook every month, and that the top ten titles on social network can boast over twelve million users each.
In the same way as the entertainment industry is rapidly moving toward online business models, for example cloud gaming, digital delivery and social gaming, so game designers need to adapt to this situation too. They have to develop their technical-cultural knowledge in order to link creativity with market laws, which have to be more and more aggressive and innovative; so, today, game designers have to find the perfect mix between fun factors and revenues.
This does not imply a leveling of gameplay in favor of monetizing for its own sake: in fact, gameplay is gaining importance even more than before, because of the fierce competition and the staggering growth of the sector. However, gameplay is increasingly focused on simplicity and on the emotional stimulus rather than on actions to do or on th aesthetic depth of the ludic architecture.
Anyway, we can see this needed evolution of the game design’s role as a return to his origins: if we just look back to 20 years ago, for example, arcade games had been expressly designed to “tap” users for money – they were led to insert more and more coins into the machine in order to keep on playing; this means that design was built around the game platform. That is to say, the business model was evident from the beginning; surely it was implemented inside the creative process as initial basis for the decisions to be made in the production phase.
For a game designer, the business model and the working platform may represent boundaries or limits. However, it is within such constraints that creativity has to be pushed to its limit and it can give the best results, particularly in revenues, thanks to the adoption of those mechanics that have to be fun in their simplicity. The simplicity, in fact, is needed to create addiction in the users.