The toolbox 
approach to F2P 
game design 
Nicholas Lovell 
#f2ptoolbox
Early stage 
Late stage 
Game design
Frameworks and 
toolboxes
A disclaimer
Nobody knows 
anything
1. The funnel 
A 
R 
M 
Acquire 
Retain 
Monetise 
Keep monetising
ARM yourself 
• Hoping for the best is not good enough, you need 
to ARM yourself 
– ACQUISITION: How do I get people thro...
2. The pyramid 
• The Core Loop is the 
beating heart of 
your game 
• The Retention 
Game is what keeps 
players playing ...
3. The Curve 
PRICE 
Demand 
Revenue 
opportunity 
Marketing opportunity
What AAA asks 
“How can I get customers who don’t 
want to spend $60 to spend $6?”
What F2P asks 
“How can I get customers who do want to spend 
$60 to love spending $600, or $6,000?”
There are many different 
toolboxes 
• 4. The Hero’s Journey (read The Writer’s 
Journey by Christopher Vogler) 
• 5. The ...
Here are some of my 
tools
Conclusion 
• Use frameworks and tools that you find useful 
• Have some for design AND some for business 
• Find them fro...
Thank you 
@nicholaslovell 
@gamesbrief 
www.gamesbrief.com 
www.f2ptoolbox.com 
#f2ptoolbox
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design
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The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design

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While the fundamentals of free-to-play game design seem simple, adapting to this model and understanding it to the depth required to make a successful game has proved a tough challenge even for the most experienced game creators. One effective way to tackle F2P design is to think of its various techniques as a "toolbox"; by building up a collection of design "tools" which you can use to acquire, retain and monetise your players, you can build a comprehensive understanding of how this new business model interacts with your existing game design talents.

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The Toolbox Approach to F2P Game Design

  1. 1. The toolbox approach to F2P game design Nicholas Lovell #f2ptoolbox
  2. 2. Early stage Late stage Game design
  3. 3. Frameworks and toolboxes
  4. 4. A disclaimer
  5. 5. Nobody knows anything
  6. 6. 1. The funnel A R M Acquire Retain Monetise Keep monetising
  7. 7. ARM yourself • Hoping for the best is not good enough, you need to ARM yourself – ACQUISITION: How do I get people through the door cost-effectively? – RETENTION: How do I keep people coming back for more? – MONETISATION: How do I build money-making strategies into gameplay • Acquisition and monetisation are important • Retention is the most important, by far.
  8. 8. 2. The pyramid • The Core Loop is the beating heart of your game • The Retention Game is what keeps players playing • The Superfan Game is where the Superfans live
  9. 9. 3. The Curve PRICE Demand Revenue opportunity Marketing opportunity
  10. 10. What AAA asks “How can I get customers who don’t want to spend $60 to spend $6?”
  11. 11. What F2P asks “How can I get customers who do want to spend $60 to love spending $600, or $6,000?”
  12. 12. There are many different toolboxes • 4. The Hero’s Journey (read The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler) • 5. The psychology of marketing (read Influence, the Principles of Persuasion, by Robert Cialdini) • Any number of game design books (e.g. A Theory of Fun, Raph Koster, or A Book of Lenses, Jesse Schell.)
  13. 13. Here are some of my tools
  14. 14. Conclusion • Use frameworks and tools that you find useful • Have some for design AND some for business • Find them from anywhere: – Psychology – Writing – Marketing – Economics • Or just borrow mine 
  15. 15. Thank you @nicholaslovell @gamesbrief www.gamesbrief.com www.f2ptoolbox.com #f2ptoolbox

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