Once a novelty, free-to-play games are now a mainstay of our industry -- and at next year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco a host of experienced F2P game makers will take the stage to share what they know about succeeding in an ever-shifting market.
It's a talk all about the design and development of Angry Birds 2, which had to be a F2P game that succeeded one of the most popular premium games of all time. If nothing else, Wilde promises it will be a "very honest story about the good and bad decisions that ultimately made it possible to transfer the Angry Birds gameplay from one business format into a completely different one."
The GDC 2019 Business & Marketing track of talks also already has a few promising talks on F2P games lined up, among them "Defying Expectations: 7 Lessons from The Sims Free Play" from Electronic Arts' Mavis Chan.
This talk condenses seven years of work on The Sims Free Play into seven key lessons that have shaped EA's thinking and the game's success. Through multiple examples, Chan will illustrate the failures and difficulties that TSFP faced and how they eventually resulted in insightful lessons that now heavily influence TSFP in live service.
Plus, there are a pair of great talks on the same track from the fine folks at Kongregate, who have a fair bit of experience selling F2P games. In "Nature vs Nurture: Unpacking Player Spending in F2P Games" Kongregate's Drew Levin will use several case studies from live Kongregate games to explore how and why some player behaviors are easier and more rewarding to change, while others have a nearly unbreakable ceiling. Developers will gain a deeper understanding on why focusing on repeat spend will improve their business, and how that translates into design and product principles!
Elsewhere, Kongregate's Mael Novat will be delivering a great talk on "Common Pitfalls of F2P Development and How to Avoid Them" that you won't want to skip. Kongregate has published more than 40 games, learning valuable lessons along the way, and you'll learn them as well in this pragmatic guide to game development strategy.
Novat promises to take into account the production timeline and the different constraints it brings, how it translates into production challenges, the perspective of a publisher, and how to evaluate your game as a business. Expect access to data and case studies from Kongregate's own efforts, as well as a better understanding of the F2P game market and how to position your game in it.
You'll be able to attend these talks and many more at GDC 2019, which will take place March 18th through the 22nd at the (newly renovated!) Moscone Center in San Francisco. Registration is still open, so be sure to take a look at your GDC 2019 pass options and register early to get the best price!