Interview’s Nick Murray on game economy design and optimisation

"The balance and design of an economy has a significant impact on not only retention but monetization potential"’s Nick Murray on game economy design and optimisation

If you haven't heard, we recently launched MasterClasses, a brand new series of deep-dive workshop sessions taking an in-depth look at practical games design topics.

We’re working with the finest industry experts to create professional, half-day activities featuring tutorials, lectures and breakout groups, all accessible from the comfort of your home office.

There are four workshops taking place on August 17-18 where you can expect to explore a range of key games design topics, from economy design and optimisation, to core design fundamentals and product management, to live operations and everything in between!

Each week, we'll take a closer look at each MasterClass and ask our expert hosts a few burning questions on what kind of content to expect, some key takeaways and who will benefit most from that particular session.

Read on to hear from Nick Murray about his MasterClass: Game Economy Design and Optimization taking place on August 18 at 2pm BST.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

I've been working in free-to-play for over a decade with publishers and developers including Aeria Games, Rovio, Ubisoft and GREE. My current work is as a freelance consultant and as Head of Games for Carry1st, a publisher looking to promote gaming in the African continent and worldwide.

Tell us about your company

Carry1st are the largest mobile game publisher in Africa - after recently closing a $2.5m seed round, the aim is to source quality content for both regional and global deals. is a consultancy which helps companies improve their games within the areas of product and game design, monetization, economy design & balancing and live operations.

What does your role entail?

Working as a consultant, I collaborate with many different companies on driving KPI improvements to their games. With Carry1st, I'm managing the portfolio of live and pre-launch games.

Is there anything you're working on currently that you’d like our readers to know about?

Just that Carry1st is open to publishing opportunities and Gamesconsulting regularly takes on new clients - so feel free to get in touch for either!

What topic will you be covering in your MasterClass?

I'll be sharing a closer look at an often overlooked part of game design - Economy Design and Balancing. If you make a game too easy, it's boring. Make a game too punishing and it's frustrating. Finding good balance is therefore key to making a fun and engaging experience.

The workshop will be split into three sections - how to create your game economy from scratch, how to balance a live economy, how to optimize value in a virtual economy. Each section will have presentation and group work elements to reinforce the key lessons.

Who is this MasterClass for?

The MasterClass is for those working in Development, Design, Product, Live Ops Business Intelligence, Production etc. This workshop is suitable for game teams within almost any genre except hypercasual (as the economy isn’t deep enough).

Why is it important for your games industry peers to gain a deeper understanding of your chosen topic?

Often the economy design is an afterthought or populated with placeholder values which don't get updated. However the balance and design of an economy has a significant impact on not only retention but monetization potential.

Tell us a little bit about the key takeaways people can expect from the session

  • Why game economy design is so critical and plays a key role in defining the success of a game and its KPIs
  • The steps to design a strong economy, avoiding pitfalls and following best practices to drive significant retention and monetization improvement
  • How to balance a game post-launch, which data is required to do so and how to not upset your community while doing it
  • How to boost the value of monetizable game content and ensure that money isn’t left on the table

Finally, what are your thoughts on the games industry going forward? What major trends do you predict over the next 12 months?

I think it's pretty clear that the games industry is in a strong place in terms of value right now. What will become more apparent in the next 12 months are further innovations through mixing elements of other genres. For example, the most successful casual games right now rely heavily on retention and economy mechanics from midcore.


If you like the sound of Nick's MasterClass, be sure to book your place now - remember tickets are limited so purchase your ticket today to avoid disappointment!


Want to attend multiple MasterClasses? Book three workshops and get the fourth FREE!

Booking for multiple people? Take advantage of our 30% corporate discount for groups of six or more people from the same company.

For multi-buy or group discounts, please email to discuss your bespoke package.

Head of Marketing

Katy is the Head of Marketing at Steel Media Ltd leading the charge on promotional activities for b2b conference series Pocket Gamer Connects, as well as other events and initiatives including MasterClasses, RoundTables, Podcasts, and PocketGamer LaunchPad.