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How to create player-centric game economies

July 14, 2022 in Games | 4 min. read
Unity Gaming Services Economy
Unity Gaming Services Economy

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The resources in your game shouldn’t be an afterthought. A well-planned game economy will keep your players coming back for more. 

Unity has just published a series of guides exploring the concepts you need to know to create a healthy economy for your game. Across three installments, you’ll learn about how in-game economies drive player engagement, the steps to setting up a strong foundation, and how you can tailor your economy around different player behaviors. 

Below is a breakdown of what you’ll learn from each of the guides, such as how to manage in-game resources and build your economy around your players. If you want to dive right into the guides, check out the first one here.

Understanding your in-game economy

Much like real-world economies, video game economies are based around the buying, trading, and selling of goods. Some virtual currencies may be acquired with real-world money, and others may be obtainable through in-game actions. Regardless of how they are acquired, virtual currencies will greatly impact how people play your game.

Within this guide, you will learn about:

  1. What an in-game economy is
  2. How economies function in games
  3. Determining resources for your game
  4. Understanding sources and sinks
  5. Balancing sources and sinks
  6. Best practices for constructing your economy

Learn about more strategies for planning your in-game economy in our guide, What is an in-game economy.

Foundations of your in-game economy

Common currency icons: lightning, coins, gems

The building blocks of your in-game economy are the resources attainable by players. Most games have at least two types of resources: Ones that indicate player progression and ones such as currency, which make all transactions in the game possible. However, there is often a lot more to the story than that. Games feature a very diverse set of currencies according to their complexity, ranging from energy, lives, soft currency, and hard currency.

Our second in-game economy guide will teach you about:

  1. Understanding resources
  2. Energy and lives
  3. Soft currency vs. hard currency
  4. Resources and game progression
  5. Mapping your sources and sinks

If you’re interested in more tips for managing currency and resources in your game, check out Building an in-game economy.

Designing around players

Player economy icons

Having a firm grasp on the resources, currencies, sources, and sinks in your game is a great start to building a healthy economy, but understanding what behaviors exist within your player base will allow you to tailor your reward and progression design choices. 

In this guide, we’ll dive into how you can design your economy around different types of players through the following topics:

  1. Payer vs. non-payers
  2. Different levels of engagement
  3. Player motivations
  4. Planning your player journey
  5. Using A/B testing to improve your in-game economy

Learn about our suggestions for each player type and the variables you should test in Designing a balanced in-game economy.

By developing a strong understanding of sources and sinks, currency and resource management, as well as the various types of players of your game, you’ll be fully equipped to create a healthy in-game economy that can drive player engagement. 

Start learning today in the first of our introduction to economy series: What is an in-game economy, or skip to Building an in-game economy and Designing a balanced in-game economy.

If you want to get started building your own game economy, Economy from Unity Gaming Services has everything you need to design and manage it. If you feel you’re ready for A/B testing, Remote Config lets you run different tests that target specific player segments without code changes or app updates.

July 14, 2022 in Games | 4 min. read

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Thank you for your feedback!