The “creator economy” is about unleashing creativity — enabling anyone to earn a living or build a business around an audience, unconstrained by the high technological barriers that existed in the past.

Evolution of Creator Economies. Pioneer Era, Engineering Era, Creator Era.
Evolution of Creator Economies. Pioneer Era, Engineering Era, Creator Era.

We now have enough history to look back and see a predictable pattern play out: whether it was desktop publishing in the past — or e-commerce and 3D engines more recently — there are several phases within any given creative industry:

  • The Pioneer Era, when first-movers like Amazon or Pixar created their own technologies.
  • The Engineering Era, when bottoms-up tools and middleware emerge to support overwhelmed engineering teams.

This article is about why f2p games work and how you can use this information to add systems to a game to boost performance.

This article is also about what free-to-play (f2p) games are and how they’re measured. Even if you’ve been around the f2p block a few times, I’m going to surprise you with a few new lenses and metaphors you can add to your toolbox.


Here’s a preview of some of what I’ll cover:

  • Why retention is the most important metric for long-term health
  • An introduction to the Live Games Trinity— the operational model I urge live games…

In my article on the value-chain of the metaverse, I described the seven layers of the ecosystem. In this article I’m going to focus-in on three of the most important metaverse companies — Unity, Epic Games and Roblox — and describe the commonalities and differences.

Let’s start with where companies overall sit within the market:

Brief recap of what each of these layers represent:

  • Experience is what we actually engage with: games, social experiences, live music, etc.
  • Discovery is how people learn that an experience exists.
  • The Creator Economy is everything that helps creators make and monetize things for the…

Trillions of dollars: that’s how much private industry is investing into the metaverse.

Seven Layers of the Metaverse: Experience, Discovery, Creator Economy, Spatial Computing, Decentralization, Human Interface, Infrastructure
Seven Layers of the Metaverse: Experience, Discovery, Creator Economy, Spatial Computing, Decentralization, Human Interface, Infrastructure

In this article, I provide a description of the value chain of this market, from the experiences that people seek out to the enabling technologies that make it possible. More importantly, I also provide a prescription — a vision for a future metaverse that is powered by creators and built upon decentralization. …

Photo by Wayne Low

A new class of digital collectibles enabled by Non-Fungible Token (NFT) technology has opened up an exciting new opportunity for game developers and game hobbyists alike.

In speaking with hundreds of game developers and crypto fans about NFTs, I’ve discovered that there are many misunderstandings between these groups. They use two different languages: crypto fans often talk about revolutionary technology and societal change, and game developers usually just want to create fun. This article will seek to bridge that divide. …

Sometimes people talk about “digital natives” or Generation Z (and now Generation Alpha) and their tendency to be more comfortable with the Internet.

“Technology Is Not Technology” by lgb06 — CC BY-NC 2.0

But it isn’t inherently generational, nor is it about whether one grew up utilizing technology or came to it later.

Megatrend: Social Acceptance of Virtual Culture

It is about social acceptability, and how that has trended in a positive direction for the last several decades.

When I was growing up, playing video games branded me as a nerd (a label I wore proudly). Now, it would probably be considered a bit unusual for a kid to not play video games.

When I spent…

Live Events are one of the pillars of the Live Games Trinity that turns up the voltage in your game. This article explores some of the practices you can use to tune your events for success.

Events can frequently increase revenue by a factor of 200–300% or more, and do so on a sustainable basis.

There aren’t that many “best practices” because each game and each audience is different — but there are a number of methods that have worked in other f2p games that you can observe and experiment with.

If you need to understand more about why events work, I have an article on free-to-play economics that gives a high-level overview and the economic principles of scarcity.

The perceived value of a virtual item is a function of a) scarcity, and b) the affinity-utility value of an item.

My article on free-to-play game economies gives an overview of this concept. To recap:

  • Items with high affinity are valued mostly because they provide an emotional payoff to the player.
  • Items with high utility are valued because of their game mechanical features or advantages.

What are some of these item types?

High Affinity Items

Cosmetic and social: items that customize the player’s presentation within the game. In games where the player can be seen by other players, these may provide a significant…

If Leonardo da Vinci were alive today, he’d be a game designer. Games are both left brain and right brain — engineering and art.

— Jon Radoff, at the MassDigi 10 year celebration

Graph of the Week

Q1 2021 game revenue was up 30% year-over-year in the US. March didn’t look like it was slowed down (and February was simply a short month compared to January).

The Live Gaming Trinity

I introduced a tool for thinking about live game operations. The core of the model is to create a virtuous cycle intended to drive high retention through content updates and live events, with merchandising geared towards capitalizing on…

Gaming is currently a $180B global industry that derives 75% of its revenue from virtual items — nearly a four-fold increase in marketshare for this business model over the last decade. By 2025, games and AR/VR experiences in virtual worlds — what I call the metaverse — will be a $390B industry and get nearly all of its revenue from virtual items.

Data source: ARK Invest 2021 Big Ideas


  • Games are hobbies, and virtual items appeal to the hobbyist mentality — owning, investing, customizing and personalizing your experience.
  • Virtual items are a democratized and lower-friction business model: people can try a game before deciding whether to put…

Jon Radoff

Adventurer & entrepreneur. I fight for the game-maker. I like startups, digital culture, stories, software, crypto, cooking/wine, games and adventure.

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