Aug. 31, 2020

Product Management & Monetization 101 & 201, with Gordon Rowe

Product Management & Monetization 101 & 201, with Gordon Rowe

Gordon Rowe was a product manager on Mafia Wars, and then served as Zynga's only product manager on the 3rd party publishing team working with external studios to help them improve the performance of their games. He also worked on PC f2p as the Director of Product at Daybreak games. He's currently working at Facebook as an in-house consultant.

Gordon has worked with dozens of external studios and has problem solved their products, and evaluated their chances of success. These are superpowers you can develop by listening to this episode...

We dive deep into product management frameworks, rule-of-thumb KPI, common free to play errors, the evolution of monetization beyond pay-to-win, how to implement an analytics stack, and much much more.

If you work in, or have interest in, free-to-play games, this interview is absolutely unmissable.


About Our Guest

Gordon Rowe was a product manager on Mafia Wars, and then served as Zynga's only product manager on the 3rd party publishing team working with external studios to help them improve the performance of their games. He also worked on PC f2p as the Director of Product at Daybreak games. He's currently working at Facebook as an in-house consultant.

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Gordon talks fast-- blink and you might miss some of this:

  • The hypothesis, test, iterate framework for moving KPI
  • The importance of using funnels to understand player behavior
  • The team composition on Mafia Wars
  • Anti-cheat considerations in competitive mobile games
  • Zynga monetization tricks
  • Game currency "hangovers" and how to manage them
  • The nuances that allow teams to avoid "pay-to-win"
  • Why League of Legends has elements of "pay-to-win"
  • The importance of analytics, and why many companies get this wrong
  • The four elements needed to have real, actionable, analytics
  • How to evaluate the prospects of any given f2p game on any given platform
  • What d1 retention you need before you can launch your game
  • How to fix retention, and when you won't be able to
  • D1 retention for premium games vs free-to-play
  • The minimum level of engagement needed to have a successful game
  • The relationship between engagement and conversion
  • How to evaluate a game concept before development
  • how to create the cornerstones of your game economy
  • How to balance progression mechanics with skill mechanics
  • The advantage of players who are in your game's "golden cohort"
  • What players need to feel after the spend money in your game
  • Why you shouldn't add too many monetization mechanics
  • How to get the right monetization "levers" in a game
  • When to put the "pinch" into a f2p game.
  • The importance or purpose of retention mechanics
  • The role of "power spikes" and why they matter
  • When in the player journey to monetize
  • How to evaluate the ratio of D1 retention to D7 retention
  • When to ask for push notification permission
  • The maturation of the mobile market
  • The differences between mobile f2p and PC f2p
  • The importance of Steam reviews
  • Why speed matters in testing and optimization
  • How Rocket League evolved through testing and iteration
  • The future of f2p on consoles
  • And yes, believe it or not, much more...