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Video: How the Duolingo team balances profits and ethical design

Duolingo's Karin Tsai explains how Duolingo balances its mission to educate and entertain players while still turning a profit without compromising the team's core ethical values.

Duolingo is a neat piece of software that aims to teach you the basics of other languages. Its developers have long tried to make an honest piece of software that's genuinely educational and doesn't waste your time. Simultaneously, it is a free app, and it needs to make money somehow!

Fortunately for Duolingo users, engineer Karin Tsai says that the company has made sure to prioritize the needs of its "students" while working to make sure the app is profitable. And some the lessons from this process are useful for video game design as well. 

Tsai discussed these lessons in her 2020 GDC Summer session, which you can view in its entirety up above or for free on the GDC YouTube channel. 

About the GDC Vault

In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.

Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page

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