B.S., Kinesiology @
University of California, Los Angeles
I have left Wargaming and am seeking new opportunities. As I have pioneered the fields of game economy and monetization design, I have a number of unique skills that can be found nowhere else in the industry. If you have an existing F2P product that is under-performing, or you want to make the leap to F2P, then
I have left Wargaming and am seeking new opportunities. As I have pioneered the fields of game economy and monetization design, I have a number of unique skills that can be found nowhere else in the industry. If you have an existing F2P product that is under-performing, or you want to make the leap to F2P, then contacting me early could save you millions of dollars.
Note to recruiters: I'm used to interfacing at the CXX/founder level, not the HR level. I do not solicit.
1st Generation F2P (pay to win) business models are generally superior to retail models because they lower the barrier to entry to zero. Unfortunately, they also create an antagonistic relationship between developer and consumer. The result is a ~99% rejection rate by consumers.I invented 2nd Generation F2P (skill based) business models in 2009 that will convert in the 30-50% range, making 1st Gen F2P models obsolete.
I marry neuroscience, game design, domain expertise, virtual economics, and game theory to model consumer behavior before it happens, not after the fact as BI does. The result is a reputation for 100% accurately predicting IM trends over the last 15 years. This has made me popular with industry, press (NPR, WSJ, Bloomberg, etc), international regulators (ICPEN), and consumers.
A complete list of my recent (2010-) papers is here: http://gameful.org/group/games-for-change/forum/topics/complete-list-of-ramin-shokrizade-s-public-papers-2010?xg_source=msg_appr_topic
I also write on related subjects for Gamasutra, my articles there are my most modern.
I am an ethical being and will not knowingly allow my work to be used to hurt people.
Quantitative Game Design
Gamer Behavior Patterns
Advanced IM Monetization Models*
MMOG Design Analysis
Making Games, and Gamers, Healthier
Gender and Generational Perspectives on Gaming
Retail Product Promotion in Virtual Environments
* Proprietary Technologies
Engagement Consultant @ I am assisting the ambitious SkySaga project by using my technologies and experience to optimize the socialization, economic, and monetization systems to optimize user engagement, retention, and conversion. Ultimately I would like to relocate to the studio to take the project full term and beyond. From November 2015 to Present (2 months) Contributing Writer @ I write on issues relating to my areas of expertise in virtual economies and currencies, monetization models, real money transfer dynamics and countermeasures, interactive media trend analysis, ethics, and quantitative game design. From August 2012 to Present (3 years 5 months) Game Economist @ I joined a very carefully assembled team of gaming quantitative and social scientists in a new studio in the Austin area. We provide support and guidance for a total of 16 studios world-wide. I was the only game economist among our 3000+ employees, and acted mostly autonomously as my own department in the company.
My role is to optimize the business models and economies of existing products, those products under development, and all future products. I also act as a bridge between our new BI unit and our various design leads to optimize data collection, interpretation, and utilization.
My goal at all times is to improve our product quality in a transparent way that maximizes value to the consumer without using any tricks or methods designed to create discomfort. Building a positive reputation with gamers is paramount.
I generated the monetization system, reward systems, economy, and progression schedule for World of Tanks Blitz in Winter of 2013/2014, as well as assisting with additional game design work aimed at improving the product's Western reception.
I was attached to the World of Warships team in Saint Petersburg, Russia for Spring and Summer of 2014. My goal was to make WoWs the first truly "fair" competitive F2P game in the world, thus promoting esports on a level never before seen. This was harder than it sounds as I found out that even the word "fair" has a different meaning in Russia. I convinced the team to use the Western definition :) Before leaving Saint Petersburg I produced the prototype monetization model and the numbers for the first economy prototype. The brilliant team at Lesta iterated from there as the game developed and I was assigned to build the monetization model for another major project.
I was never assigned to the World of Warplanes or Generals project. I assisted with a number of future prototype games, on multiple continents, that have yet to be announced. From August 2013 to June 2015 (1 year 11 months) Austin, Texas AreaMonetization Designer @ I was brought in as an external consultant on Project Spark. I worked with the lead game designers to modify the core game design to optimize commercial success inside a Free to Play business environment. Converting what was essentially a development engine, into a game, presented unique challenges. A key component was to create reward mechanisms for player retention. From September 2012 to August 2013 (1 year) Applied Virtual Economist and Monetization Designer @ While I have been on the cutting edge of MMOG monetization for the last 12 years, it has only been since 2005 that I dedicated myself totally to the design of advanced virtual economic and monetization systems. I have written over 50 papers on the subject, some proprietary. See my blog link for my publicly available papers.
Until 2012, my 2009 "Sustainable Virtual Economies and Business Models" paper was the most comprehensive guide to virtual economic creation, defense, and monetization. In February of 2012 I abandoned the current industry "subscription vs. microtransaction" framework and invented a new model to guide monetization design. The key element is an expansion of current consumer choice microeconomic theory to include a new good I call the "Supremacy Good" that does an effective (high correlation) job of predicting consumer reaction to various monetization designs and models. I published this model in September of 2012: http://gamasutra.com/view/news/177237/The_new_rules_of_monetization.php#.UO7q0W9X1PF
My latest work is beginning to combine my knowledge of neuroscience with my other research and the science in the public space to significantly increase product engagement in a consumer friendly fashion. From June 2005 to August 2013 (8 years 3 months) Consultant @ Advised Nickelodeon Games on qualitative optimizations for their social products.. From April 2013 to July 2013 (4 months) Economy and Monetization Consultant @ I was asked to detail the major obstacles, and provide the solutions to those obstacles, for a product continuing one of the world's most famous franchises. The project involves economic complexity that is unprecedented in the gaming industry, which is why I was brought in. This title is an economic-based MMO with a production timeline in excess of 5 years and a budget in the "9 digits" range. I reviewed over 2000 pages of design documents, and produced over 70 pages of analysis, proprietary economic models, and proprietary monetization designs. We were unable to agree on terms when I was told I would not be credited for my contributions to the project.
I am bound by NDA on this project for at least two more years. From November 2012 to June 2013 (8 months) Virtual Economy and Monetization Designer @ I designed and deployed a custom advanced virtual economy and monetization model for a unique and revolutionary social dating game, Flirt Planet. I have completed the "A to Z" quantification of this product's core game during a one-month intensive stay in the studio. From July 2012 to August 2012 (2 months) Game and Monetization Design Director @ I used my proprietary methods to rebuild their product around a core economic model, with all game elements integrated from the start. This is the inverse of contemporary design methodology, and allows for the resolution of various systemic design and business model weaknesses that currently compromise the success of conventional interactive media products.
I did not see this product to completion due to being ejected from England when the studio failed to produce the proper VISA. From June 2012 to August 2012 (3 months) Manchester, United KingdomDirector of Monetization @ Remotely (from Los Angeles) and directly (in Beijing) design and manage the implementation of the monetization model and virtual economy for the Army Rage project. The headquarters is in Bulgaria and the development studio is in Beijing (Tuyasoft). I travel to Beijing as required to direct a team of 30 working to prepare Army Rage for release in Europe, China, and North America (in that order).
I joined the project near completion, working intensely with the studio to redesign monetization and game design elements to utilize techniques developed during my seven years of creating advanced economic models for games. The monetization design added to this product is unique in several ways, including the first time this type of product (MMOFPS) is not monetized as "Pay to Win", no direct conversion of premium currency to game currency, no direct purchase of weapons with premium currency, and will also include soft time caps, another industry first. Emphasis at all times is placed on increasing retention and conversion by creating a consumer-friendly environment that the end user will not reject.
The new monetization model was deployed successfully and on time with the open beta test client on March 27th, 2012. Considering that I first met with the development studio in Beijing in mid-February, this means the total time to implement my customized monetization model was five weeks from green light, working mostly remotely. From December 2011 to March 2012 (4 months) Design Consultant @ Initially tasked to deliver a comprehensive report of all existing exploits in the Civ World Facebook program, I went on to produce a number of comprehensive design and monetization reports. The latter were with the emphasis on optimizing the revenue generation of this product. This was my first time assisting a studio with a social network game, and I arrived a bit too late to recommend a strong monetization system without an overhaul of the core design. I met Sid Meier at the 2012 GDC and he thanked me for my efforts on this project, which was a tremendous honor for me since I have played every Civilization product across all platforms since 1991. From June 2011 to September 2011 (4 months) Cyberathlete @ When actively playing I am the top-ranked Western cyberathlete in games with player-based economies. These games include Eve Online (Iceland), Horizons (USA), Pirates of the Burning Sea (USA), Shattered Galaxy (Korea), and Galaxy Online (China). I was also one of the first 100 players in the world to L60 in World of Warcraft and spent some time on the top 100 world ladder in Diablo 2. I usually compete under the name "Sarcerok". In the case of EVE, I mastered the game by organizing 5000 players into an elaborate supply chain
with only me at the top, and by developing methods to defeat exploits used by griefers to block access to scarce materials.
Completing a 10+ year streak of "do not attempt this at home" play intensity has given me tremendous insights into the behavior of gaming populations and game design, especially in regards to economic games. From March 1999 to August 2009 (10 years 6 months) Interactive Media Journalist @ When my editor, Scott Miller, told me that there were now over 500,000 unique people reading my stories and editorials every day, my life changed. I was in the right place at the right time with the right words. I think I really grew up in that moment and felt the weight of the community looking to me for leadership. I took the role of consumer (gamers) advocate and this has driven me in everything I have done since.
I wrote previews, reviews, editorials, and conducted investigative journalism. Our site also hosted many first public USA IRC chats with mmog developers, especially from European companies like Funcom, CCP, and Reakktor.
My most read series of articles was my exposure of a hacker group called BlackSnow that attacked Anarchy Online (Funcom) and Dark Ages of Camelot (Mythic Entertainment). This led to their neutralization and a series of lawsuits setting the legal precedent establishing the enforcability of the End User Licence Agreement in software applications. From January 2001 to September 2004 (3 years 9 months) Production Consultant @ Tri Synergy is a production, marketing, and distribution company serving independent developers. I assisted them over this three year period as needed to evaluate new products, potential clients, and act as a go between during negotiations with client development studios.
As a journalist and gamer I knew what was hot, first, and could direct the team towards ideal clients. My ability to recognize this and to speak fluent gamer was instrumental in sealing several distribution and production deals. In the process I learned the basics of interactive media production, marketing, and distribution. From May 2000 to May 2003 (3 years 1 month) Greater Los Angeles AreaUSA Development and QA Lead @ My first QA project was Masters of Magic (Microprose, 1995), and I have assisted over 100 development groups in the last 17 years. I often work double full time when inspired, and I list only the work that I did here on the Shattered Galaxy project with Nexon as it was my longest stay at 18 months. I wore a number of hats while there. Note that the programmers were located in South Korea (and spoke little English) and I was in near constant contact with them for the duration of the development cycle. I worked 80 hours per week on this project (so 3 man years total).
Primary duties were to reconstruct all of the math systems, balance all combat/economic/advancement systems, QA anything math related, and perform English localization. I also generally was the first detector of hacks/exploits as I would sense any disturbance in the numbers, and would relay those to our "hack expert" to solve. I had access to the secure development hub and posted over 1000 design and bug reports over the course of 18 months. I stayed for several months post release to assist with the patch and expansion process. This was the first MMORTS, the first English-localized Asian MMO, and is still one of the most innovative MMOG's ever created.
In the case of other companies I assist, typically I will evaluate the product for approximately 200 hours then write a full QA/design report and deliver it to the dev team. Verifiable (meaning the company is still around) examples of this would include EVEOnline and CivWorld. In the latter case I was able to accelerate development time by approximately a month (for the entire team) in about a month. From December 2000 to June 2002 (1 year 7 months) Sports Therapy Instructor @ As a sports therapy instructor I designed and implemented a vocational education system to produce entry-level fitness and physical therapy workers in an area that had a shortage of such labor assets. I negotiated and maintained affiliation agreements with over 20 hospitals, gyms, clinics, schools, and country clubs where I placed and supervised students after a multi-month academic and clinical training program.
I trained and certified over 500 fitness trainers, physical therapy aides, and cardiac rehab aides during this period. I also trained over 100 sports masseurs. From January 1991 to June 1996 (5 years 6 months) Activities Consultant @ Provided assistance to patients, showing them how to replace their addiction of choice with physical activities. Training included work in the gym and pool. Preparation of regular progress reports and action plans. From February 1991 to March 1993 (2 years 2 months) Director of Cardiac Rehab @ Directed the cardiac rehab and maintenance of a dedicated physical therapy facility for the training of incomplete quadri and paraplegics. This facility was very advanced in that we actually retrained the nervous system of incompletely spinalized patients in order to allow them to reroute cerebellar commands and regain motor control.
I conducted 12 lead ECG stress tests with full gas exchange and provided reports to insurance companies and research oversight committees. From November 1989 to November 1990 (1 year 1 month) Neuroscience Research Intern @ Conducted guided research into the nature of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and in particular the changes that occur in cellular catecholamine receptors and the effect these changes have on addiction and coping behavior. Direct work with radioactive tritium was involved. From January 1989 to July 1989 (7 months) Trainer and Assistant Coach @ First dedicated trainer for the UCLA Women's Track Team, maintaining optimal training and competition readiness for all athletes at all times. I also was the trainer for 14 Olympic athletes from four countries training at Drake Stadium in preparation for the 1988 Olympic Games, including Florence Griffith-Joyner and Jackie Joyner-Kersee who both set world records while under my care. From January 1988 to July 1988 (7 months)
Economics @ University of California, Riverside From 2008 to 2009 B.S., Kinesiology @ University of California, Los Angeles From 1987 to 1989 Nursing, Engineering, and Pre-Med @ Santa Monica College From 1982 to 1987 Ramin Shokrizade is skilled in: Game Design, Monetization, Virtual Economic Design, Monetization Design, Real Money Transfer Defense, Game Quality Assurance, MMO, Video Game Development, Online Journalism, Exercise Physiology, Nutrition, Virtual Worlds, Virtual Goods, Video Games, Game Development
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