All indie game developers have to make money from their game to survive. So, how does one monetize their game and yet not affect the player experience. If you are an indie developer then you would have heard this “if you are in for money, then game development is not for you”. They are not totally wrong, if you focus only on money then there is a possibility that you won’t even make a single dollar.
I am not saying you can’t make any money with games. Its just that you need the right balance between player experience abd money. Let’s go through the monetizing methods one by one.
Free game or paid game?
This is the most crucial step. You must decide whether your game will be free or you are going to charge a fee for your game copy. Free doesn’t mean that you will not make money, we will see about that in a later section.
The decision on whether your game is free or not should be taken during the planning phase itself. All your game scenes and goals will depend on that. User navigation are to be planned accordingly.
How much to charge for a paid game?
If you decide on a paid game then next is to decide how much to charge for your game. The factors that determine the cost are as follows.
a. Gameplay time in minutes.
b. Popularity of the genre. Rate from 0 to 1.
c. Average cost of games in that genre.
d. Average cost of production of one minute of your game. Don’t forget time is money.
e. Expected number of copies to be sold. Take the lowest number in the range.
f. Profit per copy.
Now you can calculate the cost of your game using the below formula.
Game cost=(a*d) /e + c*b + f
Monetizing your free game
If you have decided you make your game free then yiu can use the following ways to monetize your free game.
When it comes to free apps most have them have ads. Ads is the easies to integrate into your game. The main focus when placing the ads is that it should not interfere with gameplay experience. For example, if you run an ad in between a fight sequence, then most probably the player will uninstall your game after a few ads.
There are different types of ads. For example, banner ads, intertesial ads, video ads. You have to plan and place the ads according to your game. Remember trial and error is the key.
2. In game purchases.
In game purchases are famous with big game industries with multiple developers working on the game. Its little difficult to incorporate in game purchases compared to ads. In game purchases are usually part of the game.
For example, games with virtual currencies to buy items that can be used in game. Sometimes that virual currency can be bought with real money, that’s how in game purchases are incorporated. The basics of in game purchases is creating a need for the player to buy more currency to move forward in the game. Note this shouldn’t be made compulsory as players might lose interest. There must be another way to earn virtual currency by playing the game.
3. Placing Affiliate links.
Affiliate marketing is gaining traction now a days with more and more people looking to make money from the comfort of home. For those who don’t know what affiliate marketing is, affiliate marketing is sending a lead to buy a particular product and you get a commission for referral if a sale us made. Note that the user doesn’t pay anything extra if he goes through your link.
You can place an affiliate link of product related to your game. For example, you can place an link to buy xbox controller if your game is on xbox platform.
You can learn more about affiliate marketing in this udemy course.
4. Promote other games
You can team up with other game developers who are looking to promote their game and offer to place there game banner as ad in your game. The main thing to look in this regard is the cost per ad placement will directly depend on number of active players. If you don’t have enough players. You are going to have a tough time getting ads.
These are just the major ways to promote your game. If you can get more creative then there are infinite ways to monetize your game.