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Video: 'Metrics' and 'monetization' don't have to be dirty words
While "metrics" and "monetization" are often considered bad words among game designers, iWin developer Laralyn McWilliams believes that designers need to pay attention to this data to maintain control of their games.
The words "metrics" and "monetization" have earned somewhat of a bad reputation in game development. They're often associated with games that aim to squeeze money out of their players at the expense of good design – but is that really the case? Laralyn McWilliams, the VP of creative at online game company iWin (and, before that, the creative director of Free Realms) doesn't think so, and at this year's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, she detailed the role metrics really play in game development, and explained why designers need to pay attention to them. "So as a designer, why should you care about metrics? Well the blunt truth is someone at your company cares... And if you are not a part of that process, if the people who care about metrics are the only people involved in the process, then they're making decisions about the game's core experience without designers," McWilliams said. "And I think that's a bad idea, because we're the ones who understand what we're trying to do in the game and what the player's experience should be... No one else should be making decisions about what happens in my game except me and my team." She noted that if designers get involved in those outside discussions and analyze metrics for themselves, they can more easily take control of their own projects, and prevent their games from falling under the influence of executives, marketing professionals, and other employees who are not designers. You can learn even more about the role metrics play in modern game design by checking out McWilliams's full presentation in the above GDC Vault video.