Designing for Addiction: Examining the Free-to-Play Game Genre

Workshops, panels, and discussions around the theme of "UX Design for Good or Evil"

instructors and students in a toy design class
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Experience Level



UX Designer


"Free-to-play" games are very popular and highly profitable (claiming 69% of the $33 billion PC gaming market in 2017, and far more in mobile, with the top 3 titles alone earning $4.5 billion). How are some users convinced to spend thousands of dollars on games that we download for free? Andy will discuss the psychological concepts behind the design of popular free-to-play games. Are these mechanics inherently evil, creating sub-optimal experiences and preying on vulnerable consumers, or are they good, allowing players to pay what they are able and providing a viable revenue model for responsible game developers? (Hint: it may be a little of both.)

Session Video

"Designing for Addiction: Examining the Free-to-Play Game Genre" by Andy Krueger