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Ethan Levy's Blog   Expert Blogs


Ethan Levy is a 10 year veteran as a game developer and simply lives for making games which bring joy to players’ hearts. Starting at the ground level as an intern and tester at Pandemic Studios working on Star Wars: Battlefront, he has contributed to over 20 shipped games in almost every role. While working at casual game publishers PlayFirst and iWin, he worked as a producer, designer, external consultant and metrics analyst on a variety of titles including Jewel Quest Mysteries and the Diner Dash/Wedding Dash series.

In 2008, he joined Electronic Arts’ Office of the chief creative officer working for Rich Hilleman before becoming EA2D’s first employee. At the studio, he has led the development of Dragon Age Journeys, Dragon Age Legends and Dragon Age Legends: Remix 01 as Game Producer. In 2011, the studio became BioWare San Francisco, and Ethan helped shepherd the studio through the transition and kick off the development of a new game in the BioWare family as Design Manager. In spring of 2012, he left EA to co-found Quarter Spiral. Ethan has worked on games that have appeared on every platform, including console, handheld, mobile, tablet, browser and social network.


Expert Blogs

Posted by Ethan Levy on Tue, 19 Aug 2014 09:25:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Social/Online, Smartphone/Tablet
I dedicated $100 and 10 hours to climbing the PvP leaderboard in a free-to-play, mobile, build and battle game. This is what I learned along the way.

Posted by Ethan Levy on Thu, 08 May 2014 10:36:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Console/PC, Smartphone/Tablet
After a 20 hour deep dive into Blizzard's Hearthstone, F2P expert Levy analyzes the game to answer two questions. First, is Hearthstone pay-to-win? Second, what improvements could make the game the next member of Activision's billion-dollar revenue club?

Posted by Ethan Levy on Thu, 17 Apr 2014 11:28:00 EDT in Business/Marketing, Design, Smartphone/Tablet
Despite Crytec pedigree, high-end visuals, core gameplay and Mobage integration, The Collectables has not made a major impact on the iOS charts. In this post, F2P expert Levy analyzes the design issues negatively impacting monetization and retention.

Posted by Ethan Levy on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 01:27:00 EDT in Production, Indie
I expand on my talk for the Indie Soapbox Session at GDC about a common pattern in development I call the Indie Shame Spiral, and present my methods for reclaiming your momentum when you find yourself dragged down by your lack of progress.

Posted by Ethan Levy on Mon, 10 Feb 2014 07:34:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Production, Smartphone/Tablet
Fans are in arms with the new Dungeon Keeper F2P game. Despite this reaction, the game is performing on the top grossing charts. F2P expert Levy looks at the forces driving DK backlash, and what if anything this means for the future of F2P games at EA.

Posted by Ethan Levy on Fri, 03 Jan 2014 01:14:00 EST in Business/Marketing, Console/PC, Indie
After conducting a survey of 1,400 gamers on their game playing and purchasing habits, F2P consultant Levy explains how marketers and indies can use the findings and Big Data tactics to sell their games

Ethan Levy's Comments

Comment In: [Blog - 08/19/2014 - 09:25]

You describe yourself as more ...

You describe yourself as more of a core gamer, so I guess you have an opinion on the fact that monetization seems to leak more and more in that type of gaming. r n r nAs my free time becomes more and more precious to me, my willingness to spend ...

Comment In: [Blog - 05/08/2014 - 10:36]

The second 5 hours I ...

The second 5 hours I did not play only Ranked. I primarily played casual matches and only jumped back into ranked near the end once I was more familiar with my deck. r n r nAs a free player, my record in Ranked play was 3 wins / 6 losses ...

Comment In: [Blog - 04/17/2014 - 11:28]

Good question. I choose this ...

Good question. I choose this play pattern because the UI heavily incentivized grinding missions with this reward bar showing your progressive rewards before playing each mission: r n r nHowever, an alternate play pattern I could have chosen would be to play as far as possible until I lose, ...

Comment In: [Blog - 03/20/2014 - 01:27]

You are welcome. Keep on ...

You are welcome. Keep on climbing upwards and onwards

Comment In: [Blog - 02/10/2014 - 07:34]

Thank you for taking the ...

Thank you for taking the time to write such a long and detailed comment. I feel like it should be it 's own post. Maybe you should start a Gamasutra blog of your own with this comment as the foundation for your first article.

Comment In: [Blog - 12/17/2013 - 02:46]

Thanks for pointing this out, ...

Thanks for pointing this out, Bram. I half added an addendum to the article based on your feedback.