Free2Play Research Project Final Report

We are pleased to publish the final report from the research project Free2Play. The report contains both published and unpublished research focusing on free-to-play and online social gambling. Featuring both qualitative and quantitative studies, Free2Play offers wide spectrum of interesting information on developer and player attitudes, consumer behavior, player experiences, playability, ethics, service design etc. related to free-to-play and online social gambling.

The report contains one- and two-page summaries from our studies with guest articles from free-to-play game developers Aki Järvinen and Tuomas Pirinen.

The report can be downloaded here:

Free2Play was a Tekes funded project with Finnish game industry partners Grand Cru, Housemarque, Moido Games, Raha-automaattiyhdistys, Remedy Entertainment and Supercell. We would like to thank all our partners, informants, and colleagues for making this research possible.

For more information contact project manager Janne Paavilainen (, +358 400 473 650


Interviews, Final Report and Seminar

We have lately been focused on writing academic articles based on the surveys we did earlier this year. We have also now interviewed players of free-to-play games and asked them about their experiences, especially focusing on the purchasing aspects and it’s relation to game experience. We are looking forward to publish results from developer and player interviews in the near future.

Meanwhile we are building a final report which summarizes the many findings of this project. There is also a final seminar coming up, which would be open for everyone. We are looking forward to publish and share interesting results from our free-to-play studies.

Have a nice day.

Surveys Completed!

We are happy to announce that our free-to-play and online social money game surveys have been completed and they have been successful. In total we received 1581 responses and we are starting to analyze the data. We are also doing follow-up interviews on game experiences related to free-to-play and online social money games.

With the help of and two witnesses, the following survey respondent IDs were the lucky winners for the prize raffles:

71, 107, 74, 227, 117, 58, 27, 151

1141, 896, 264, 68, 567, 389, 814, 886

973, 406, 531

We would like to thank all the respondents, and also RAY, Dome, V2 and Pelaaja for helping out with the surveys.

Have a nice day.

Survey Time

In the Free2Play project we are running several parallel surveys at the moment. We are focusing on free-to-play game experiences, player attitudes and purchase behavior. Our surveys will be running till the end of the year 2014 and the analysis will start on January 2015.

After the surveys we are conducting qualitative interviews on free-to-play game experiences and other related phenomenon. New papers are on the pipeline and we are looking forward to publish new results from the field.

We are also planning a seminar that would take place in March 2015. Watch this space.

Have a nice day.

Journey Onwards

Our research journey towards understanding free-to-play is going forward. Based on the developer interviews from last fall, we have published a paper focusing on game industry professionals’ perspectives on free-to-play games. You can find the paper here – free of charge.

Currently we are designing a survey instrument that will be implemented in our research partner’s iOS game. We are also reaching survey respondents through another partner and discussing on collaboration with a major Finnish video games media website. We are looking forward to gather good, solid data for some interesting findings on player attitudes towards free-to-play and online purchases.

We have also loads of other smaller projects going on, just to name a few:

  • Designing an analysis instrument for evaluating free-to-play games (Alha & Koskinen)
  • Similarities and differences between free-to-play games and online social gambling games (Kinnunen)
  • Free-to-play design principles based on developer interviews (Paavilainen)
  • Understanding Playful Experiences (PLEX) in social network games (Paavilainen)
  • Large playability problem study with social network games (Paavilainen)
  • Survey study on demographical factors and purchase intentions in free-to-play games (Hamari)
  • Meta-analysis on motivations to play games (Hamari)

We also welcome aboard Rachita Upreti and Lauri Keronen, who will help us in all this as research assistants.

Have a nice day.

Research Updates

We have interviewed 14 Finnish game professionals from various companies focusing on the free-to-play theme. Some of the results have already been discussed in the closed meetings with the project partners. The interview themes revolve around these three aspects:

  • Free-to-play design paradigms and principles
  • Free-to-play and ethics
  • Free-to-play and new forms of online money/gambling games

We are currently analyzing the interviews and looking forward to submit papers to conferences and journals.

We are now planning game analysis on free-to-play games. Focusing on expert review techniques, we are aiming to provide both both objective and subjective data based on interesting or popular F2P games. Currently we are designing a review instrument that could be used for analyzing the games. In addition to the game analysis, we are designing a new survey tool which will be utilized later in the research project.

Have a nice day.

Developer Interviews

We are currently doing developer interviews in the project. We are interviewing retail, gambling and free-to-play game designers, programmers, graphic artists, business developers, producers etc. These interviews are part of our work package focusing on F2P and gambling games, and there will be around 15+ interviews in total. The topics have been around design solutions, development challenges, revenue models, analytics, ethics and similarities with F2P and online gambling games.

In addition to the interviews, we will be doing analysis on F2P and gambling games later this Fall. The results from this research will be first published inside the project consortium, from where they will be spread to the public via conference and journal publications. So far the interviews have been very exciting as we have had a chance to talk with game industry veterans with over 125 years of game design experience in total!

Have a nice day.

We are alive!

Welcome to Free2Play research project’s website. We are still under construction.

Here is a short summary of upcoming research:

Free2Play project studies consumer behaviour and the service design of
free-to-play and gambling games. Games are increasingly developed like
online services, which means new challenges to the business models, game
design and marketing of games. Project addresses these challenges in
four areas: 1) consumer behaviour, 2) case studies on best practices of
the service design, 3) player experiences, and 4) comparing free-to-play
games and new forms of gambling games. The project identifies best
practices by combining these perspectives.

Have a nice day.