Deep In Thought

Published: 28 Sep 2017

The games game – part 2

I attended the Games Gathering in Galway on 16-17 September and decided I would write a series of blog posts on the things that I’ve learnt and the speakers I’ve enjoyed the most.

One of the most interesting speakers was Elizabeth Sampat, who is Game Design Department Lead at SYBO Games in Copenhagen. For those who are not familiar with this company, SYBO’s Subway Surfers is the most downloaded game of all time.

Sampat’s presentation focused on the Free2Play (F2P) market, discussing the key components of a successful gaming experience, from the point of view of a games development company. For Sampat, the secret to making money in the F2P market is commitment: those who can retain players (i.e. customers) can actually make money.

Emotion is the key to customer retention and monetisation. Particularly, Sampat mentions 4 emotions: curiosity, frustration, amusement and desire.


“People need to feel that they are discovering and doing something cool”, Sampat explains. It is important to give players the sense that they can progress in a given game.  So, the gaming experience has to be designed with the idea of stimulating the curiosity of players.


“Players like challenges”, Sampat says. Most importantly, players like to overcome challenges. F2P games should provide players with opportunities to overcome challenges. These opportunities are designed as hooks, keeping players engaged.


Games need to be fun, which is key to establishing relationships with other players and games development companies.


The value proposition of each game has to be clear – that is, it needs to be clear to players what they can get and what they can buy. There is a sense of satisfaction attached to a clear value proposition: players know they are getting what they wanted. Interestingly, this value preposition can be tiered – that is, it may have to address different audiences such as children and their parents.

Commitment is not the only secret linked to being a successful games development company in the F2P market. “Be generous”, Elizabeth recommends. Generosity leads to trust: players simply do not want to give money to a faceless corporation. So, it is important for a company to be thankful to all customers, and reward players who spend money.


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