Mobile game economies: in praise of simplicity

I play a mobile game. I would like to buy more powerful ships, weapons, and advantages in the game. Problem: the game economy is so complex it would take more time than I’m willing to spend to figure out the best way to do so.

So … I don’t.

And the game publishers lose potential revenue.

In my post at Singular’s blog

Can a game economy be too complicated? Is simpler always better? Or, can a game economy be too simple?


As usual in a complex world with few obvious completely right versus obviously wronganswers, it depends. However, I would argue that all other things being equal, simple wins. Example: I would like to spend more money in a mobile game I’ve been playing for a couple of years, but I almost literally can’t. I have spent maybe $100 in the game, and would be willing to spend more. I almost have, in fact.

But …

In this case, I would argue that the game economy is just way too complex. In other words, in their feverish attempts to monetize their players, the developers and publishers have shot themselves, figuratively speaking, in the digital foot. Or the digital wallet.