Mobile & Social Game Design: Monetization Methods and Mechanics, Second Edition, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Mobile & Social Game Design

Monetization Methods and Mechanics, Second Edition, 2nd Edition

By Tim Fields

A K Peters/CRC Press

236 pages | 57 B/W Illus.

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Successfully Navigate the Evolving World of Mobile and Social Game Design and Monetization

Completely updated, Mobile & Social Game Design: Monetization Methods and Mechanics, Second Edition explains how to use the interconnectedness of social networks to make "stickier," more compelling games on all types of devices. Through the book’s many design and marketing techniques, strategies, and examples, you will acquire a better understanding of the design and monetization mechanics of mobile and social games as well as working knowledge of industry practices and terminology.

Learn How to Attract—and Retain—Gamers and Make Money

The book explores how the gaming sector has changed, including the evolution of free-to-play games on mobile and tablet devices, sophisticated subscription model-based products, and games for social media websites, such as Facebook. It also demystifies the alphabet soup of industry terms that have sprouted up around mobile and social game design and monetization. A major focus of the book is on popular mechanisms for acquiring users and methods of monetizing users. The author explains how to put the right kinds of hooks in your games, gather the appropriate metrics, and evaluate that information to increase the game’s overall stickiness and revenue per user. He also discusses the sale of virtual goods and the types of currency used in games, including single and dual currency models. Each chapter includes an interview with industry leaders who share their insight on designing and producing games, analyzing metrics, and much more.

Table of Contents


The Changing Tide

What This Book Is Not

What Is a Social Game? Are Mobile Games Social?

Meet Your Competition

BBS Games and MUDs


Just Being Multiplayer Doesn’t Make You Social

Great Mobile Games ARE Social

Interview with Words with Friends Creators, The Bettners

History of Game Monetization

What Do We Mean By Monetization

A Brief History of Game Monetization

Interview with Richard Garriott, "The Three Grand Eras of Gaming"

Why Create a Social or Mobile Game?

Social and Mobile Games Put a Lot of Power in the Hands of the Developers

Social Games Make the Developer Responsible

Social Games Give Power to the Users

Used Retail Game Sales: Friend to Social and Mobile Developers

Interview with Jason Decker of Pocket Legends, "Love Letters from Your Community"

Industry Terms and Metrics

Industry Terms and Metrics

Measuring Player Population

Measuring Monetization

Social Network Advertising

Mobile Terms

General Terms

Why These Metrics Matter

Case Study: Ravenwood Fair and the Use of Metrics in Game Design

Interview with Everett Lee of OMGPop, "The Science of Social Game Design"

What Is a Social Network?

What Is a Social Network?

Who Is the Average Social Gamer? Who Is the Average Mobile Gamer?

What Social Networks Are Popular Today?

Games Are Global

It’s All about Scale

Using Social Networks to Extend Traditional Games

Creating Social Networks as a Platform Holder

Is Apple’s Game Center a Social Network?


Interview with Janus Anderson, "Gaming and the Social Graph"

How to Acquire, Keep, and Regain Users

How to Build it So They’ll Come

The Purchase Funnel

Acquisition: How to Get Players

Acquiring New Users on Facebook

Acquiring New Users on Mobile Platforms

Advertising Efficiently

The Rising Cost of CPI


Redirecting Users for Increased Virality

How to Retain Users

Tracking Retention

Using Leaderboards and Messaging to Add Stickiness

Using Messages to Remind Users to Return

Only the Last Inch Matters

Interview with Exploding Barrel: "Give Them What They Want"

Monetization Strategies

Show Us the Money

Classic Premium Download Models



Play the Numbers


Case Study: Hunters Episode I and Different Monetization Methods

Why You Should Avoid Giving Players Real Money

Transitioning Models

Which Models Fit Best for Which Type of Game?

Interview with Ryan Cleven: "Social Platforms"

Virtual Goods

Fake Estates

Selling Premium Goods

Functional Advantages

Game Balance Considerations

Aesthetic "Vanity" Items


Interview with Dimitri Delattre, Founder of Deadpan Dodo—"Indie Perspective"


Greenspan for the Win

Single Currency Models

Dual Currency Models

Closed and Open Economies

Addressing the Matter of "Honest" Gameplay

Interview with Ben Lamm—"Controlling Chaos"


The Plentiful Tide


A Fond Farewell to Friends

About the Author

Since 1995, Tim Fields has worked in the game industry as a producer, project manager, design lead, and business developer. Tim has helped small studios and top publishers, such as EA and Microsoft, run teams that create great games. He has worked on shooters, sports games, racing titles, and RPGs using talent and teams from North America, Asia, and Europe.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Programming / Games