The ABC of Game Economy Design

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The ABC of Game Economy Design

Old mysterious rusty lost chest outdoors | Photographer: Frans Rombout, Photographer: Picture Partners | Copyright: Picture Partners / HollandOld mysterious rusty lost chest outdoors | Photographer: Frans Rombout, Photographer: Picture Partners | Copyright: Picture Partners / Holland

Various game assets such as tokens, NFTs, etc. are consumed as the users engage in your game. The game economy design keeps an adequate balance while developing the game system. It further decides the engagement, monetization, and affinity towards the game among the players.

The prime role of game economics can be bifurcated into two:

  1. Ensuring that any player can earn while playing the game (Reinforcing P2E)
  2. The game developer or the gaming studio is generating enough revenue to make their game sustainable (cost of software, middleware, integration tools, etc.)

The perfect or balanced game economy ensures the right balance between both objectives so that neither of them overpowers the other’s importance.

Let’s have a deeper understanding of how game economics work to make the entire gaming system an overwhelming experience!

Understanding Game Economics

Game economics is an integral part of the game development process. The core competency of any game economics lies in the fact that it has to create an affinity among players to rejoin the game, maintain player engagement, and enjoy more monetary benefits through in-game purchases without compromising the profitability of that game studio. To understand it better, one must figure out the economic activities that shall be involved in the game to drive the game forward as players advance on each level. It can be further used to determine whether a large number of game tokens would be utilized to advance to the next level (for example, upgrading your weapon) or a lesser number of game tokens can suffice the purpose (For example, killing any number of bad guys in a game). Based on these simple metrics, you may decide when and how the game players would be rewarded.

A good game designer would smartly decide the best possible options of rewarding the game players while ensuring their motivation among them to play further.

Bitcoin coins on a gaming controller
Photographer: regularguy.eth | Source: Unsplash

Earn and Spend

The basic thumb rule while designing the game economy is to make earning and spending resources clear among the game players.

There are 3 main pillars of any game economy:

  • Learn
  • Earn
  • Spend

Any game designer needs to ensure that these 3 game pillars are taken care of while designing any game economy. The implementation of the game economy becomes more complex depending on the nature of the game. Any MMO or a multiplayer game would have a more sophisticated game token earning and spending economy when compared to a single-user game.

Implementation & Monetization

The first step to implementing the game economy is setting up game tokens that players can use for in-game asset purchases. In any P2E gaming model, in-game purchases are the primary source of revenue for game developers. The designer has to smartly lay down the usage of the game tokens to eliminate any possible risk of devaluing the game economy.

Play to Earn Over Pay to Win

The shift in the game economy gets disturbed when game players are encouraged to pay to win over play to earn. Pay to win model generates more revenue but can cause you to lose players, damage the player experience and game reputation, and ignites a disparity between developer and players. Promoting fair play and encouraging people to earn by playing will not only grow your game but help you make it sustainable.

Research & Data-Backed Game Economy

As a game developer, you need to understand the behavior of the game audience. Apart from allowing you to build an engaging game economy, it also improves the user experience manifold.

Research-backed data and analytical game design are integral parts of the game economy. It helps the development team to determine the stickiness of game players towards the game, which defines the success of any game and its economy amongst the users.

Closing Thoughts

There are no set rules, guidelines, or balancing strategies to build a perfect game economy. Following the current trends, understanding the game audience, and improving the design as per the test results of the game development, can help you design a sustainable game economy.


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