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Five Ways To Monetize Mobile Games and Earn Real Money

by Eric
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Making Real Money with Mobile Games

Mobile games are big business, and there are multiple ways to monetize them. Here are some of the top ways that developers like to make their profits.

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Games with a Price Tag

Of all the challenges faced in developing mobile games the most important is how to end up in the black. Because no profits mean no business, this is crucial for developers to get right. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve profitability. It’s traditional, but the most basic way of making money with mobile games is to simply charge for them. While free-to-play is a popular model, if you make a good game and attach a reasonable price tag, people will pay it and the developer gets cash upfront. This then creates the space to either work on the next project or create additional content (whether free or paid) for the same game.

In-App Purchases

A very popular choice for monetization nowadays is in-app purchases and this is especially true with games that are free-to-play. This approach to monetization, which can be implemented in various shades of good and bad, can be a cool way to spice up a game with cheap bonus cosmetics. It can, however, drift into pay-to-win mechanics which plenty of gamers really dislike. From a purely financial perspective, what matters is only the income, but retaining goodwill by not nickel and diming players makes future games likelier to succeed. In-app purchases can be the route to significant profits.

Advertising

One of the most obvious ways of monetizing anything is with adverts. From old-school TV to modern social media, ads have been a mainstay for entertainment and information firms to make money, and developers, large and small, can take advantage of advertising to earn extra revenue. Done wrong, this can put off players, but if you offer small in-game rewards for watching a brief ad then both sides are better off, as players get benefits for little work and the developer gets more eyeballs on their adverts, increasing earning potential.

Ads can also play at the start of a gameplay experience, but this is very similar to YouTube and can have the same problems. If an ad is way too long then quitting and restarting can happen, or people might get frustrated with the game. Put the ads midway through a game and these can get even more annoying.

Subscription Models

Subscriptions are another payment model that’s been around for a long old time and have been associated with MMOs including the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft to stunning financial success. The key to making money here is to ensure that games offer a prolonged experience, which may often involve substantial player interaction of a social or gaming nature. Single-player games with a defined beginning, middle, and end are not likely to function as well with a subscription model. Peer pressure helps maintain cohesive groups as friends want to play together, or even just hang out in a multiplayer online world.

Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding can be used for all kinds of products and projects, and game development is no exception. In addition, this plays in naturally with the good advice to consider monetization way before launch. It also has the benefit of forming a lasting financial and emotional tie between a future player and the game and creates the right conditions for a running start with a ready-made player base once a game is released. Campaigns of this nature usually come with multiple levels of support to cater to people of various financial means and are perfect for giving away extra in-game currencies and items, or even physical objects at the upper tiers. For the most part, this approach has been adopted for more tangible products (such as Brandon Sanderson’s famous Year of Sanderson which has generated a staggering $41m to date). But there’s no reason it can’t work with mobile games too.

Making Money with Mobile Games as a Player

When it comes to monetizing mobile games this is primarily a matter for video game developers but it’s also possible to do so as a player. One way of doing so is with PlaytestCloud, a gaming app that pays players simply for playing games. Or, to be more precise, for playtesting games both before and after release to help catch bugs and other areas for improvement. And because payments are made per session (15 minutes or so) this can work well even for those with limited time, just seeking to make a little extra with a side gig.

There are plenty of ways to monetize mobile games for developers these days, and even players can make money this way too.

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