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Making games is to make money, and make money to make more games so as much as possible. So what if you are the person doing this part, what will you do?

Teddy Phan, Blogger

March 28, 2017

11 Min Read

Dark Side of Gamedesign Document

Part 3: Monetization

To start this part, I would like to ask you one question: in your project, who does this? A Gamedessigner or a Businessman.? If the answer is a business, then here, the hidden-name men are hated here. Why does Gamedesigner hate Businessman? Most of the answer is that you make the game, which also expect more players, play as long, the more praise the game the more like, RIGHT ?, and the other all thought of sucking blood, killing their own users. Frankly, I do not deny this view, but disagree at all.

So what if you are the person doing this part, what will you do? Making games is to make money, and make money to make more games so as much as possible - User is a shopper, we satisfy them so they pay, not to be just praised by them . So collecting the maximum amount of revenue on a dedicated user group or collecting a small amount on a large clientele, is what GD needs to clarify from the beginning, and transfer that thought to the document. Please protect it against Businessman, so that it may be reasonable to modify but keep the spirit of that model. If you choose the wrong model then bear. So how do you know if you choose the model that is right or wrong. Take care of who your customers are, who exactly? Pay your money for it or roll up the loophole to hook up wherever you are but information such as gender, age, ... the level of payment of the user in the same line from which to target a group. Learn more about the tastes of the group to get more features or content that is more relevant to the group, as well as adjust fee collecting way based on the user’s payment habit. And again, the Monetization model will need to adjust to gameplay to match. Let's take a look at this example. Let's try to analyze the difference between a Western and a Asian game:

Clash of Clan

Hero Dota

The building system is quite similar

  • Train troops, wait for completion and then drop troops.

  • Hero limited, upgraded as a home upgrade. Hero loses blood or dies, it will "sleep" for a while to HP, full HP to fight again.

  • Hero unlock according to Lv Town Hall.

  • Collect Dark Elixir: upgrade by farming other player's house

  • Do not train troops, drop troops -> pay money, there are limits to drop each type of troops.

  • Enhance – Limit Break - Evolve with Hero Fragment. After that, there are many more features but … but I has left the game

  • Each hero has his own strength; use in Battle cost Stamina, restore Stamina by time

  • Buy Hero - Join the Hero, the number of Hero Unlock by Lv Town Hall; the unlimited number of Hero.

  • Collect Hero Fragment by farming other player's house, plowing, joining the event


  • Selling resources + Speed up + Decoration

  • Selling resources + Speed up + Decoration

  • Selling hero

  • List of loaded items to collect Heroe fragment.

  • Selling Hero strength

  • Selling Dungeon Ticket (… and more)


The two games are all in the form of building - the army is deployed to attack, having the general but the two branches are completely different, and both have unified Gameplay - Coreloop - Monetization with that set of customers.

And let's see how your "Money" runs in the Clash of Clan Coreloop:


                              Clash of Clan Coreloop. Source: Internet


A picture more than a hundred lines of text. So I recommend that you draw this flow in GDD for easy understanding, do not write descriptive text

But it is not the end here, choose a model then you have to do more details. Let's try with a lesson on "Physical Selling", how many implementations will we have:

A. Stamina is expressed in two forms.

   • Usable form, 1 Stamina strength ~ 1 match

   • In the original form, 5 Stamina strength is enough for 1 match

B. Stamina selling has two ways:

   • Sell different types of "Stamina Restore bottle", each having different values

   • Full Stamina restore

C. Stamina selling prices are two ways:

   • Price fixed, equal to each other

   • The price increases gradually, the next time the purchase is higher than the previous one.

D. Limit of Stamina purchases per day:

   • Unlimited

   • Limited, base on VIP level

Let's try to see how the following two games have solved this problem:


                                     Plus Football 2014                                       Big Win Soccer



Plus Football 2014

Big Win Soccer

Stamina form

Original form, max 120 Stamina strength, 5 Stamina is for 1 match

Useable form, max 10 energy

Stamina selling

  • Full Stamina selling

  • Have game mode for players to change Stamina bottle

Full Stamina selling


  • Full Stamina price gradually increase

  • Price of changing Stamina bottle fixed

Full Stamina price fixed

Limit of Stamina purchases per day

Limited, VIP level


Customer set + gaming operation method

Asian users, playing in each server.

Targeted customers is Whale and Dolphin

Western users, no server, which creates leagues itself for level up.
No specific customers



Just for notice, you will see the above two examples, I all "blame" the reason for the difference in the model and the implementation of Monetization is due to customer set. You may also know that these two sets are different, so I will talk a little bit about how this difference affects gaming features. Comparison on Clash of Clan - Big Win Soccer and Hero Dota – Plus Football 2014 as follows:

First is the general psychology:


Clash of Clan – Big Win Soccer

Hero Dota – Plus Football 2014


Pay User Target

The differnce of customer types is not quite much. Researching much, combined between playing game and paying. Good paying habbit with low-medium level

3 Type of Users, include:

  • Minnow: a game farmer, only pay a small amount to get basic support feature or a necessarry item

  • Dolphin: research gameplay, when meet obstacle can user money to solve problem; if it bigger than his limit, he will quit game

  • Whale: a King breaks all obstacle, use money to dominate the world. When playing game, must be the King, if not he will quit game

Customer’s Habbit

Inclining to research, changing strategy more frequently than paying. Content control ability is high but in a small area


  • Minow: a gamer, all find the easiest – cheapest – most effect solution to solve problems

  • Dolphin: chosing between working and investing. He will pay with item which good enough, and ignore the remaining

  • Whale: eating all – defeating all. Using money to solve everything, do not think much

Life Cycle

Long cycle time. Users do not play frequently, can miss some day but still come back to play

  • Minow: playing as a work in a short time

  • Dolphin: playing frequently in the beginning. After losing some Ranking match, he will contine to play or “reborn” in another server

  • Whale: longest cycle, when he gone the game would die

Players mentality

Enjoy the game, focus on game experience

Much and most warlike. Users often fight with other on the same level, always like power and respect


                               Clash of Clan                                                Hero Dota

Then the game's way of bringing features to serve players:


Clash of Clan –

Big Win Soccer

Hero Dota –

Plus Football 2014

Customers to pay

There is no distinction between sales milestones

  • Classify customers according to each VIP class, there are differences of interests and life level. In addition to setting limits for each VIP level to push the player into a state of thirst for new rankings.

  • Give the combo solution, to serve each component in its own. For example: give the event has many different milestones, take a good reward, then hook out your own wallet.

Operation Method

It's about adjusting, balancing on existing content, or adding content in a new tactical direction. Buy content for a whole new experience

  • Apply 2 combos of spending patterns:

  • Cheaper price for much buyers, stimulate them to spend more.

  • The higher the more expensive, force user to break spending limit to get ahead, trying to create enough distance to trigger another user.

  • Introducing new “blockbuster” ways, driving the player into running new content such as new Hero, new Football Player, new Weapons, …

Life Cycles

Changing level is slow - stable, generally long life cycle, through many "generation" players. Time-consuming and reduced-cost options are at the forefront

High speed of updates, stuffed content continually combines the pairs of events triggered - the intermittent bullets that cause the player to chase the chase. Product life cycles are often short, based on a large group of potential customers

Players mentality

Create endless step of staircase, no ending – lead to nowhere. Joy is not on the destination but on the way we go. The "push" option on makes escalation easier

Draw a route to the throne for all players. On that path, they will step on top of other players or join the guild to go along. When the player reaches the top, he creates a new peak to continue his conquest. Just charging for "Road fee" and "honor" is enough for game


Mini game: Reading the correct name of feature and arranging them by appearance time.


As you can feel, compared to the diversity monetization of Asian, Western games are simple and do not “suck blood”, I will not comment, because it is the way of looking at each person on the characteristics of the market. Understanding the market, you will come up with the most feasible plan.

In summary in this article, I recommend that you study the monetization early, clarify it as much as possible, avoid the situation at the end of the project and start adding it and the game will become bullshit. You should be the monetization maker, because you know your game the most, and control the way it is, do not drop the spirit child into the hand of others.

Next part, we will discuss about thinking inside of outside the box.

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