Richard A. Bartle's consultancy web site.

(all of


I'm a professional game design consultant specialising in, but not limited to, online games.

What I Do

Half my time I'm a games industry consultant.

Half my time I'm Professor of Game Design at the University of Essex, UK.

This page concerns the former. I mention the latter merely in an effort to impress you. This also may work.

Overview of Skills

My primary strength is creativity. I'm exceptional at integrating ideas, whether mine or yours.

My secondary strength is communication. I'm good at explaining things. I'm an entertaining speaker (not that you'd know it from this web page).

My tertiary strength is longevity. I've been in the computer games industry since 1978. I've seen it all before.

Online Game Design

This is my main area of expertise. I cover all aspects of online game design (MMO, social and mobile), but am usually asked to do one of the following:

I work with all revenue models, and for transitions between revenue models.

Game Design for Applications

A relatively recent addition to the services I offer concerns games that have an agenda beyond the traditional one of being fun. This includes games for marketing, games for branding, Serious Games, Games with a Purpose, Transformational Games and Gamification.

I've been engaged as a consultant in all of the above areas. They certainly need professional advice...

Advisory Boards

I sit on advisory boards for a number of organisations, but don't take on new such responsibilities if they conflict with existing ones.


I regularly give invited presentations at industry events and centres of learning; see here for a sample. I'm a charismatic and authoritative speaker, but you guessed that already, right?

Unless I'm requested to repeat an earlier presentation, I write bespoke ones.


In addition to presentations, I also run workshops. I don't keep these online, because I do tend to repurpose large parts of them (they take longer to prepare). I can and do put together new workshops if I don't have a suitable one at the ready.

Most of my workshops last half a day. Here's a sample of topics:

How I Work

Although I'm relatively flexible, clients usually prefer one of two approaches (or, for longer consultancies, a combination of both):

Around a quarter of the time, what I'm asked to do is participatory: helping to hammer out an initial design specification, say, or creating a concept for a game to sell hand soap. The remainder is analytical, reviewing what has been achieved (or otherwise) and making recommendations. Surprisingly often, clients know already what needs to be done but call me in to be told anyway.

Client List

I don't show my client list. Many (although by no means all) developers regard it as a sign of weakness to call in a consultant, if not immediately then sometime later. As a precaution, I don't name any of them. Also, seemingly against standard industry practice, I keep to non-disclosure agreements. If you don't believe me when I say I've done work for major developers, you're probably not going to trust my advice anyway.

What I Don't Do

I'm occasionally asked to do work in areas that are outside my expertise. When that happens, I'll usually recommend someone else who can do a better job than me:

There are other people I would have no hesitation in recommending for additional areas, but I'd be lying if I said I was regularly approached for advice on contracts, community management, data analysis or the business side of game development.

Fee Schedule

I work either per-hour, per-day or a flat fee, depending on the project and what best suits the client. I don't work for a sliver of your company in shares.

Contact me for more information.

Contact Details

These are the most convenient ways to contact me:

My everyday blog.

My general web site.

My satellite web site.

The old MUSE Ltd. web site.

Copyright © Richard Bartle (

My book, Designing Virtual Worlds