If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Social games need to be "more fun, less cynical"

Micro transactions, freemium models have become "convention" says Preloaded

Social games need to become more compelling and less cynical about making money from users, according to Preloaded's Phil Stuart.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz in an interview published today, the studio's creative director said that micro transactions and freemium business models have now largely been accepted by the consumer and it’s time to offer a better experience to grow and retain players.

"Internally we talk about it as Social Games 2.0, where people are trying to put the fun into those games," he said. "So many people now kind of accept micro transactions in their games - people are downloading freemium games, it’s become convention, people understand that there will be monetisation in games.

People are downloading freemium games, it’s become convention, people understand that there will be monetisation in games

"But now social games have to try and add more fun, less cynical mechanics and what we’re doing is trying to demonstrate what our take on social games is. It’s not just about compulsion loops, but general engagement."

The company, which has been working in the casual space for over ten years, has completed multiple commissioned projects for institutions such as the BBC and Channel 4.

Working closely with broadcasters and educational teams, Stuart said that he's trying to convince them to think and act more as publishing companies rather than just content commissioners, enabling them to reach much wider audiences.

"The real potential, and I think this kind of transcends brands and institutions and educators, is trying to make these kinds of bodies more like a publisher. So they self-publish titles, take their content to their audience. We’re trying to make them see themselves more as a publisher of content than a commissioner of it.

"That can work for brands and educators, and we feel like we’ve done it pretty successful on Channel 4 Education, and we’re working with another couple of clients trying to do the same thing. The idea of being able to engage an immediate audience directly through games portals or via iTunes or Xbox is a really exciting thing for them, because it used to be just a few triple-A game studios - but now they can come to us and say 'we want reach this audience around this piece of science' and we can reach them through loads of different channels. "

The full interview with Phil Stuart can be read here.

Related topics
Matt Martin avatar

Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.