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What I read in April–Nicholas Lovell

By on May 4, 2016



I’m trying a new idea of listing the articles and books that I found interesting in April. If you think this is a good initiative, perhaps you can let me know in the comments or by replying to the email, so I know if it is worth keeping it up.



  • 7 quick ASO actions to improve your app’s downloads today, Gamasutra: Quick thoughts on how to improve your Appstore search expertise. A short read
  • Microsoft Post Mortems: Microsoft’s research team trawl Gamasutra’s archive of post-mortems for lessons learned. Includes gems such as using Peter Molyneux as an example of mis-scheduling “I have a reputation for being, shall we say, optimistic about when the projects I’m working on will be completed.”  (Note, click on the tiny little pdf icon by the headline to get the report. Usability remains Microsoft’s weakpoint). A long read.
  • Why Rocket League blew up (and its predecessor didn’t), Eurogamer: Shows how, yet again, overnight success didn’t come overnight. A short read.
  • Eve: The most thrilling boring game in the universe, Polygon:  Lengthy article on the enduring popularity of Eve Online. A long read.
  • On your marks. Get set. Go. The fourth Facebook goldrush just started, Medium: not about games, but about how live video and chatbots are an opportunity for growth-focused hackers. A short read.
  • Emoji users twice as likely to have sex as non emoji users (and Emoji is the fastest growing new language ever), London Review of Books: Fascinating look at the emergence of a completely new language. Read it, or be left behind. Smile A long read.
  • As Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation, Quantic Foundry: What is it that people like playing? In particular, it emphasises that players associate less with the Bartle “Killer” archetype as they age, but strategy remains of consistent appeal. A short read.

  • Buzzfeed has 45 distribution channels, Navtev: Buzzfeed is a post website, post-app media business, but how does it reach its audience? 45 different ways is the answer. A short read.

  • Fallen London, courteous free to play and the dangers of the monoculture – Q and A with Failbetter Games, MGF: a fascinating interview with a team making successful narrative-driven F2P games. A long read.
  • A brief history of the fireball in fantasy games, Gamasutra: I love that our industry has matured to the stage where someone can write a serious article analysing the history of the fireball. A short read.



  • Yes! 50 Secrets from the Science of Persuasion, by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini. A followup to Influence, this is a collection of 50 ethical ways that you can use to persuade people to do what you want. Very useful for anyone designing F2P games.
  • Eisenhower in War and Peace, an excellent biography covering everything from D-Day to Presidency, Ike’s early life and his wartime affair. Makes you wish for a Republican who believed in progress, civil rights, and that the best way to win a war is to avoid starting one. Fascinating, inspiring and a stark contrast to the pathetic posturing of the current Republican candidates.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: