Free to Play Gaming: What Really Drives Microtransactions

Written by Gina Smith

What drives microtransactions in free to play games like Candy Crush Saga? Emotions. Four, specifically. Find out what really drives F2P games and their monetization here. Video, GDC 2014 slideshow and infographic inside. — There are four emotions that drive the monetization of free to play games, like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, according to the cool infographic presentation and video below. Gaming expert and XEODesign’s Nicole Lazzaro gets credit for this interesting information.

Nicole’s analysis sure rings true. Look at the top grossing free to play games, and it’s difficult not to agree that curiosity, desire, amusement and frustration are the prime emotions that monetize top free to play games.

Scroll below to see the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2014) slideshow plus the video Lazzaro delivered on how free to play games drive microtransactions. Totally worth it.

Infographic: courtesy of XEODesign

Here’s the slideshow Nicole delivered on free to play games at GDC 2014. Scroll below that to see the video of the speech. Great wisdom on the topic.

And, finally, here’s Nicole Lazzaro’s presentation on the four emotions that drive microtransactions in free to play games.

Video: XEODesign YouTube channel

For, I’m Gina Smith.

Gina Smith is the New York Times best-selling author of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s memoir, iWoz Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer and Had Fun Doing It (W.W. Norton, 2005/2007/2012). With John C. Dvorak and Jerry Pournelle, she is the editorial director at Email her at, check out her Google + stream here or follow her @ginasmith888.