How to make money creating video games

by NSDG • Jun 22, 2018 • 0 Comments
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Do you have a passion? If so, that's awesome.

Is your passion revolves around game development? That's even better because today we will be discussing a ways to make it big in the world of game dev.

...or big enough to sustain a comfortable life without worrying about money.


For this post I will assume that you already familiar with the game development and have experience in game making.

Generally there is 2 types of developers: those who prefer to move quickly from project to project (ex. making simple mobile games) and those who prefer to invest time in one project (building a community around the game).
In this post we will be focusing on the second approach.

Think Long Term


Whether you want to make a mobile, desktop or even a browser game, aim for the idea to create a community around your game, which in turn will benefit the earning potential.

Multiplayer games are usually perform better in terms of revenue and it's easier to develop, especially for a solo developer or a small team.

Check this post to learn about key aspects that contribute to the game populatity

Picking a platform


Once you have a general idea of what type of game you want to develop it's time to pick a platform (at the beginning it's best to focus just on one platform and then expand if needed).

When it comes to monetization, different paltforms have different options.
In this post we will be reviewing 3 platforms: WebGL, Standalone and Mobile.

Monetizing Web/WebGL Games


Gaming on the Web was quite popular just a few years ago, it was largely powered by Unity 3D's Web Player.

But things changed when Chrome decided to deprecate NPAPI plugins back in 2015 (WebPlayer was based on it).
As a result web gaming took a major hit, but fortunately there is a replacement currently being worked on, called WebGL - a pluginless way to play games in browser.

With each update it's becoming more and more a viable option. (Click here to learn more about WebGL).

The main advantage of this platform is that there is many ways you can monetize it. For example - ads.

With Ads alone you can potentially make 100 - 500$ per month or more depending on your game and how well you promote it (promoting browser game is much easier as users can just click the link and play the game directly in browser).

Monetizing Standalone Mac/PC Games


This is a go-to platform for most developers and rightly so, it's been around for the longest.

But when it comes to distribution, you are somewhat limited. Sure there is a services like Steam that let you distribute your game to millions of gamers.
In this case you'll have to do a bit more work, like learning their API to be able implement in-game transactions (As it's the only way to monetize the game, besides selling the game for set price ofcourse).

But generally making the game free and then monetizing through microtransactions is the better way.

Monetizing Mobile Games


Mobile platform seem to be the most popular among indie developers as the games are usually less complex, thus requiring less time to finish. And also because of the hype, which was mostly fueled by success stories of FlappyBird, CandyCrush etc.

But let's not forget that gaming experience on mobile is still pretty frustrating (for any type of game that is not a clicker or temple runner) plus the retention rate is as low as it can be.

All in all this platform is still a viable option, if you want to practice game development, but the chances of making it big on this platform is by far the lowest.

The best way to monetize Mobile games is through ads and/or in-app purchases.

Conclusion


Pick a platform, focus on multiplayer experience, build a community around the game, implement monetization early on, release as soon as possible and then improve the game based on player feedback and lastly be persistent, you won't see the results right away but with the time reward will come.