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Words to ban #4: Tutorial

By on April 30, 2019

Whether you call it the FTUE, initial experience or onboarding, the first experience a player has with your game is a crucial part of your retention, particularly in a F2P game. If the game is paid, players have already made a $60 commitment to the game; they are prepared to invest some additional time to learn the ropes. The same is not true of free players.

If a team is asked to create a tutorial, the team members will think about the meaning of the word: A tutorial’s job is to teach. They will identify all the things that the player might need to learn and try to teach them that in an efficient, fun way.

But the purpose of the FTUE is not teach; it is to demonstrate the fun of the game to players who may not yet be engaged. Demonstrating the fun might include learning—as Raph Koster argues in A Theory of Fun, fun = learning; learning = fun—but learning is not the purpose. The Plants vs. Zombies campaign is a great example.

Ban the word Tutorial and focus on delivering the fun to earn the next 30 seconds of Playtime, and the next, and the next.

This is an extract from Nicholas’s new book, The Pyramid of Game Design – get your copy here!

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: