Monetization Designer in Games Industry
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The role of a Monetization Designer in games industry is pivotal in shaping the financial success of a project, whether it’s a PC/console or mobile game. This role not only intersects with economy design and live operations (liveops) but also demands a strong foundation in mathematics and analytical skills. Let’s delve into what Monetization Designers do, their connection to other aspects of game development, and how one can upskill in this dynamic field.
Monetization Design: A Critical Early Decision
While not often the first position that comes to mind in game development, the concept of monetization is crucial and should be considered well before a game’s creation. As per E&Y, although mobile game downloads surged by 8% in 2022, surpassing the 90 billion mark, consumer spending on mobile gaming declined by 5% to US$110 billion due to a more frugal approach from players amidst economic changes. This shift highlights the importance of Monetization Designers in developing effective strategies that align with these market dynamics.
Implementing a monetization strategy early in the game development process is vital. It ensures the game is both engaging for players and financially viable for the company. Monetization isn’t an afterthought but a foundational aspect of the game’s design and strategy.
Common Responsibilities of a Monetization Designer in Games Industry:
Beyond In-Game Purchases:
Monetization in gaming encompasses various forms, including microtransactions, digital subscriptions, and in-game advertising. As Matt Dondelinger emphasizes in his Unity webinar on game monetization, it includes all revenue generation methods within a game that are not linked to its physical copy. Monetization Designers must analyze player behavior, engagement, and spending data to devise strategies that align with both player expectations and the game’s financial goals.
Monetization Designers need to stay informed about competitors across different genres. Understanding current trends, like the shift from loot boxes to battle passes, is crucial for developing effective strategies. They must also monitor how similar games implement monetization tactics and gauge player responses to these strategies, ensuring their own approaches remain competitive and appealing. For a theoretical background on game monetization and best practices, review Heathen Knowledge Base.
Data-Driven Decision Making:
Don’t choose this role if Excel is not your best friend. Monetization Designers delve deep into data analysis, going beyond simply compiling information. They examine player behavior, market trends, and spending patterns to make informed decisions that balance revenue generation with player satisfaction. This role involves constantly testing and iterating monetization strategies to find the sweet spot that keeps players engaged while also driving profitable outcomes.
Collaboration with Other Teams:
Collaborating effectively with various teams is a crucial aspect of a Monetization Designer’s role. Ensuring that monetization strategies are in harmony with the game’s overall design and align with player motivations is key to maintaining positive public sentiment and justifying in-game expenses. Among these collaborations, the partnership with Live Operations (LiveOps) teams is often the most significant and impactful. LiveOps involves treating games as dynamic services, constantly updated with new content, features, and events to enhance player engagement. This approach necessitates innovative monetization strategies that are integrated seamlessly with ongoing game updates.
Role in Indie Studios:
Typically, to find a professional whose position is literally ‘Monetization Designer,’ you should search in AAA and large mobile gaming apps studios. According to LinkedIn’s Talent Insights, only 5,620 professionals globally claim Monetization as a skill in the Computer Games & Mobile Gaming Apps industries. These professionals often wear multiple hats, including roles as Game Designers, Product Managers, or even Producers, a role that is also a potential career path for Monetization Design specialists. In smaller studios, the responsibilities of a Monetization Designer may overlap with those of a game balance designer, where they work to balance rewards and challenges to create the intended player experience. Consequently, a specialized and experienced Monetization Designer is a professional in very high market demand.
The role of a Monetization Designer in Games industry extends far beyond simple revenue generation. It’s about crafting a sustainable economic model that resonates with players and aligns with the game’s core values. As the games industry progresses, those skilled in monetization will become invaluable architects of gaming’s financial and experiential landscape.