Here are the key points we covered in this chapter:

  • Kingdom of Loathing, a cult parody of RPG games launched in 2003, still has about 45,000 monthly players and is profitable for its developer, Asymmetric Productions. The co-founder credits the monetization of special gameplay modes and a non-aggressive approach to making money for their success. He recommends that new designers revive a niche they love and launch it early so they can immediately incorporate user feedback.
  • Desktop Tower Defense has been played by about 150 million people, but was poorly monetized. In retrospect, its creator, Paul Preece, says he would have invested as much time designing the game’s revenue model and its franchise potential as in designing the game itself. He advises that other developers do the same, so when and if their game becomes a breakout hit, they’ll be prepared to expand on it.
  • Web game developer Nitrome has an audience of more than 3 million and makes most of its money through advertising. The studio’s action puzzle games (more than 100 so far) come with a novel gameplay mechanic, generally take two to three months to develop, and all have a unified, identifiable style that makes the company’s games recognizable. In retrospect, Nitrome developers wish their design decisions had been more data driven, which would have better encouraged user and monetization growth.

Get Game Design Secrets now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.