Book review: Social Game Design by Tim Fields and Brandon Cotton

Social Game Design: Monetization Methods and Mechanics

With the recent push of social business and gamification I wanted a viewpoint from the originators of the idea.  Social Game Design: Monetization Methods and Mechanics by Tim Social Game Design: Monetization Methods and MechanicsFields and Brandon Cotton comes from true successful experience.  Game designers lead the way in gamification and monetization with many of the tips applicable to social business design.

I am glad I was able to get this book for review after getting into the second chapter.  The first chapter was just introductory and gave you an idea on what the book does not cover.  I fully anticipated it to be about online and mobile games with tons of technique I could apply outside of that.

Chapter 2 has a subsection that summed up social business ideas in many enterprises.  Just being online or multiplayer in their words does not make you social.  This is a point often overlooked by businesses entering the deployment and ideas.  The ability to bring employees, partners and customers back again and again is a key component.

A highlight of the book is the interviews at the end of each section with major names in social game monetization.  They openly talk about how they built the empires and what mistakes they made along the way.  It is great knowledge and the same mistakes that we will all make.

While chapter 3 is only a few pages on the history of game monetization,chapter 4 gives the business reason to build social into the game or your company site if you look at it with the same lenses I did.  Industry terms were not as important that were shown in Chapter 5 but serve a good reference point for some analytics you will need when deploying.

I felt Chapter 7 was the most important one I read showing you how to acquire, keep and regain users.  Not only through innovation but by building in rewards and systems to keep them energized about your platform.  Acquiring the users is the highest cost a social business will have.  Providing value back to the enterprise is a grassroots effect.  Getting the data into the system and having it grow is where rewards, leaderboards and badges come into play.

For the gamers reading this the book definitely covers virtual goods, payment systems and forms of currency.  Being able to decide what platforms will be beneficial and how to set varying levels of gaming are all explored with great expertise.

This book has value for both the game writer and business trying to get into the social game.

Disclosure: The above links are Amazon affiliate links for the book.