Don't miss
  • 2,232
  • 6,844
  • 6097
  • 134

Latest Articles


Retention Layers in Board Games

I’ve focused on the Retention Layer in video games, but we are also seeing it emerge in board games. Beasts of Balance is a hybrid digital/ physical game. The physical game is a “balance things on top of other things” game, a variant of Jenga with odd-shaped animal objects. Each object contains a radio frequency...

Read More

Robert Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence

Robert Cialdini is professor of Marketing and professor of Psychology at Arizona State University. That is a dangerous combination. In 1985, Cialdini published Influence, in which he identified six principles that all compliance professionals—by which he means anyone in sales, marketing or negotiation—use to persuade people. These six principles have stood the test of time...

Read More

Product vs. Service Games

The Pyramid and the other tools that I introduce in this book improve both product and service games. They are much more important for service games. Imagine two different scenarios: Maria has heard good things about Generic Shooter 3: This Time It’s Personal. Everyone she knows is excited for it, and the pre-order offer looks...

Read More

GAMESbrief is 11 years old.

OK, I know it’s more traditional to celebrate a round number of years, but I missed last year’s anniversary, so I thought I’d celebrate this one. I launched the blog on 1st May 2008. The announcement post was short. The purpose of this blog is to explore the future of gaming in all its guises....

Read More

Words to ban #4: Tutorial

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...

Read More

Words to ban #3: Alpha and beta

I dislike words that confuse instead of clarify. Alpha and beta tests are two such words. In the days of boxed product development, or the release of online games on PC, the terms had clear meanings Alpha meant “feature complete” All the features, systems and core technology were in place. The purpose of the alpha...

Read More

Words to ban #2: Vanity items

When creating items for players to purchase, developers sometimes refer to vanity items. These are typically cosmetic changes to the player’s character or personal space in the game that have no impact on gameplay. Team Fortress 2’s hats are the iconic example. Vanity is not a positive word. Nobody likes to be thought of as...

Read More

Announcing my new book: The Pyramid of Game Design

I am delighted to announce that my new book, The Pyramid of Game Design, is now out, published by CRC Press. Subtitled “Designing, Producing and Launching Service Games”, the book is a comprehensive guide to, well, designing, producing and launching service games. The world of game design has changed significantly since I started GAMESbrief 11...

Read More

Words to ban #1: Whales

I hate the term whales. It is a word drawn from the gambling industry to describe their high rollers, the heavy spenders who gamble huge sums of money and often lose them. I hate the word whales because words have power. When you hear a phrase, it guides your thoughts. If I tell you not...

Read More

Raph Koster’s analysis of the ways to make a successful service game

Raph Koster, lead designer on Ultima Online and author of A Theory of Fun, has written a great post on Gamasutra setting out the key ways in which a service game can seek to keep its players playing. He argues – and I agree – that retention is the most important thing, because if you...

Read More