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You've got a fun game. How do you make money from it? - Gideros Forum

You've got a fun game. How do you make money from it?

Other discussions often hit on this issue, so I'm starting a new thread to discuss it. There have been similar threads before, but the market is always changing, so I thought I should start a fresh thread on the topic. It's probably worth revisiting now and then. Maybe between us we can find some ways to make a good game financially successful.

First a preface: Money isn't the only reason to develop games, or apps. Some of the best work is done by people who do it for the love of it. If you create for the fun of it, I applaud you, and hope you keep at it! But a lot of people would like their work to earn enough money to allow them to quit the day job, and develop games or apps full time. Many of those who create for the fun of it wouldn't mind earning at least some money for their creations.

Suppose you've developed a really fun game. Your friends tried it, and they can't stop playing it. You recruited some beta testers, and they love it. Things are looking great. To paraphrase the gnomes from South Park:

Phase 1: Make a great game.
Phase 3: Profit.

Phase 2 is a bit fuzzy.

In my experience (and I'm not claiming this is the same in every app store or in every country) I used to be able to publish a game, and people would find it while it was a new release. If I released a new fishing game, it would show up for a month in Games/Sports/New. There would be dozens or hundreds of games in the category released every month, but most were poorly designed, poorly executed amateur projects. A good game could rise to the top of that list in a few weeks. Before the month was over, it could be highly listed in the category for that type of game, and organic growth could continue. I no longer see a "new" listing or any other listing that includes all the games released recently in any category. There are still "new and recently updated" listings by category, but those contain only a handful of games, hand picked by editors of the app store.

@oleg, you described game development as a lottery. I think you're right, at least partly. A really good game might get picked by an app store to be featured, or they might miss it. If they pick it, millions of people will see it, and many thousands will try it. If not, it might be virtually invisible on the app store.

So a great app might be a big hit, or it might not, depending on the whim of a handful of editors, and that sure feels like a lottery. To win that lottery still requires that you have an excellent game, but under this system, having an excellent game is not enough to guarantee success.

If you have other ways to get your games noticed, then the question about how much attention the app stores will give your new game is less critical. I for one am counting on my email list and cross-promotion from my established apps to get my new ones some exposure. But not everyone has a mailing list or established apps. I gather that getting a social media influencer to promote or at least review your game may be the best route to success these days. I frankly have no clue how one would make that happen.

So hypothetically: Suppose you've created the game you've always dreamed of. Everybody who has tried it loves it. You hope to win that lottery by having an app store editor pick your app to be featured, but you know you can't count on it. So what do you do? What is within your control?

What's your Phase 2?

Paul
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Comments

  • If you are in the UK then going to events like PocketGamer can help get publicity or get the game noticed by influencers. They have competitions at the events and entering gets you a couple of free tickets.

    Likes: MoKaLux, plicatibu

    Coder, video game industry veteran (since the '80s, ❤'s assembler), arrested - never convicted hacker (in the '90s), dad of five, he/him (if that even matters!).
    https://deluxepixel.com
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  • plicatibuplicatibu Member
    edited December 2019
    When I had a flash games portal I met a guy from India (whose had one too).

    He told me he used to invested in off-line advertising.

    In other words, he used to pay a guy whose went to schools and distributed stuffs like calendars, notebooks and mouse pads, among other things.

    All these things had both a QR code and a link to his portal in plain text.

    Also he had QR code with the URL of his portal in his car, in his clothes, posters and so on.

    To make students keep what he gave to them there were amazing game images from super heros in them.

    When people went to his site he earned with ads in it. Many games were available in Play Store too.

    He claimed that it was a great (and relatively cheap) way for him to get downloads for his games.

    But I don't know for sure if that's true.

    In Brazil it would not worth it because here everything cost a lot of money.

    Likes: SinisterSoft

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  • I forgot to mention, PocketGamer also hold events in various cities around the World. I'm not sure if you get free tickets if you enter their competition there but I'm sure it's pretty likely.

    https://www.bigindiepitch.com/
    Coder, video game industry veteran (since the '80s, ❤'s assembler), arrested - never convicted hacker (in the '90s), dad of five, he/him (if that even matters!).
    https://deluxepixel.com
  • Extra income from the game via YouTube - can earn $ 100 for 30,000 game views. If your game is viewed at the store 1,000 times a day, then $ 100 will be the extra revenue per month
    Alas, now Google has restricted the monetization of YouTube channels ..
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • plicatibuplicatibu Member
    edited December 2019
    @oleg Do you mean to record a game play to people watch?

    Does it work for casual games? Aren't they too tiny to make a game play?

    And did you tried it? In affirmative case, had you any success?

    Thanks.
  • If you don't have advertising budget, you can submit your game to publishers.
    > Newcomers roadmap: from where to start learning Gideros
    "What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months." - Fred Brooks
    “The more you do coding stuff, the better you get at it.” - Aristotle (322 BC)
  • @Apollo14 What's the deal with them? Do we have to implement their own ads or what?
  • plicatibu said:

    @oleg Do you mean to record a game play to people watch?

    Does it work for casual games? Aren't they too tiny to make a game play?

    And did you tried it? In affirmative case, had you any success?

    Thanks.

    In the game store you can post youtube videos about the game, if if you monetize these videos you get the profit I wrote about above
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • Apollo14 said:

    If you don't have advertising budget, you can submit your game to publishers.

    зараз всі видавці банкрути, хібашо через кікстартер збирати гроші..
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • @oleg I understood that. My doubt is whether it works for casual games.
    Also you get to the same problem of the game itself: generate traffic for it.
  • olegoleg Member
    edited December 2019
    plicatibu said:

    @oleg I understood that. My doubt is whether it works for casual games.
    Also you get to the same problem of the game itself: generate traffic for it.

    It works for any games that are in the top 500 google
    I do not generate traffic, passive traffic from users who see the game in the store even if they do not download the game.
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • That's very interesting. So when you have a demo video on your store listing for the app, by monetizing the video in YouTube, you earn a bit of money from people who check out the video even if they don't download the game. I see how that could work. I suppose the drawback is that people seeing an ad when they view the video may annoy them and turn them away, but YouTube is likely to show them ads anyway. If monetizing it mean showing an ad before the video, I probably wouldn't want that there to interfere the potential customer's interest in the game.

    I haven't really tracked the demo videos for my games, but I see that the one for Fly Fishing Simulator has had about 300,000 views. It seems those could have generated a couple thousand dollars over the last few years. That's not a fortune, but it looks like a really simple way to earn some extra money. I might just try that.

    Has anyone else monetized the demo videos for their games shown on the app stores?
  • PaulH said:

    That's very interesting. So when you have a demo video on your store listing for the app, by monetizing the video in YouTube, you earn a bit of money from people who check out the video even if they don't download the game. I see how that could work. I suppose the drawback is that people seeing an ad when they view the video may annoy them and turn them away, but YouTube is likely to show them ads anyway. If monetizing it mean showing an ad before the video, I probably wouldn't want that there to interfere the potential customer's interest in the game.

    I haven't really tracked the demo videos for my games, but I see that the one for Fly Fishing Simulator has had about 300,000 views. It seems those could have generated a couple thousand dollars over the last few years. That's not a fortune, but it looks like a really simple way to earn some extra money. I might just try that.

    Has anyone else monetized the demo videos for their games shown on the app stores?

    There is one downside, it takes 10,000 subscribers to monetize your YouTube channel. Earlier you could monetize even when you have 0 subscribers.
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • @PaulH no, no you cannot do it anymore. Google has changed its policy and now you cannot monetize a yt video of your app on the google play store.
    my growING GIDEROS github repositories: https://github.com/mokalux?tab=repositories
  • To monetise YouTube you need 1,000+ subscribers and 100+ watch hours.

    Likes: oleg, MoKaLux

    Coder, video game industry veteran (since the '80s, ❤'s assembler), arrested - never convicted hacker (in the '90s), dad of five, he/him (if that even matters!).
    https://deluxepixel.com
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  • olegoleg Member
    edited December 2019

    To monetise YouTube you need 1,000+ subscribers and 100+ watch hours.

    So you are right i was wrong
    I monetized the channel before the rules changed

    Likes: SinisterSoft

    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
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  • Oh well... As previously noted, this marketplace is constantly changing. That sounded like an easy way to add a little extra revenue, but it's understandable that Google might stop allowing that.

  • Google makes our life harder and harder when we try to monetize. On the other hand it is more and more aggressively pushing ads on us.

    Likes: MoKaLux

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  • Agreed. Google has surveyed me a few times about my experience with publishing on Google Play. I give them excellent marks on almost everything, but very low marks for having a fair marketplace and helping new apps get users. Their system for troubleshooting bugs, rolling out updates, etc., is great, and has improved a lot over the years. I can say similar things about Apple's App Store - great professional tools. But on both of those stores it's harder than ever to get a new app noticed. Things are always changing, and there are still apps making money out there, so I'll keep looking for new strategies. I think I need to learn more about working with social media influencers.

    I'm going to need to look into Pocketgamer, and for other events where an indie game can compete and possibly earn some exposure.
  • By adding a youtube link to the play store description for your games you should find they get a lot of plays. Maybe enough for monetisation if it wasn't for the need also for 1,000+ subscribers.

    Likes: MoKaLux

    Coder, video game industry veteran (since the '80s, ❤'s assembler), arrested - never convicted hacker (in the '90s), dad of five, he/him (if that even matters!).
    https://deluxepixel.com
    +1 -1 (+1 / -0 ) Share on Facebook
  • Nowadays 99% of successful mobile games are made in collaboration with publishers. @oleg @plicatibu
    > Newcomers roadmap: from where to start learning Gideros
    "What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months." - Fred Brooks
    “The more you do coding stuff, the better you get at it.” - Aristotle (322 BC)
  • olegoleg Member
    edited December 2019
    Apollo14 said:

    Nowadays 99% of successful mobile games are made in collaboration with publishers. @oleg @plicatibu

    These games do not pay off.

    https://tankix.com/ru/news/tanki-x-zakryvayutsya-v-konce-2019/
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • oleg said:

    Apollo14 said:

    Nowadays 99% of successful mobile games are made in collaboration with publishers. @oleg @plicatibu

    These games do not pay off.
    if mobile games (published by publishers) do not pay off, then how do mobile publishers exist?
    > Newcomers roadmap: from where to start learning Gideros
    "What one programmer can do in one month, two programmers can do in two months." - Fred Brooks
    “The more you do coding stuff, the better you get at it.” - Aristotle (322 BC)
  • Apollo14 said:

    oleg said:

    Apollo14 said:

    Nowadays 99% of successful mobile games are made in collaboration with publishers. @oleg @plicatibu

    These games do not pay off.
    if mobile games (published by publishers) do not pay off, then how do mobile publishers exist?
    They send traffic from all their customers' games to their 1 game
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • olegoleg Member
    edited December 2019
    Some tips from marketers:
    - To raise the game in the top stores you need: spend $ 100 / day on advertising
    - spend $ 2 per user
    -your game should bring more than you spend

    That is, 1 user has to spend more than $ 2 per game

    -You should only promote the game on mobile platforms - Facebook, Adwords.

    -These tips to get into the top in all countries. To get to the top not in all countries - you can spend less money.
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • In really one user would have to spend much more than $2.

    I remember I read some years ago that at most 10% of all active users would by something in your app/game.

    Suppose you expended $2,000 in a PPI campaign. You acquired 1,000 users.

    If 10% of them will buy goods in your game it means only 100 users would monetize the game and each one had to expend at least $20 just to recover the money invested.

    In reality, situation is worst.

    Your 100 users expended $2000 but Google has its 30% so you would receive $1400.

    After that government wants its part too. In Brazil it would mean I'd pay 30% over $1400.

    My net revenue would be $980 (not taking in account any extra cost). In other words I'd be in red.

    For me, that live in Brazil, each paying user would have to expend $40,82 just for me to recover the money invested.

    Definitely it's complicated and almost impossible if your monetization is based just in ads.

    Likes: MoKaLux

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  • olegoleg Member
    edited December 2019
    plicatibu said:

    In really one user would have to spend much more than $2.

    I remember I read some years ago that at most 10% of all active users would by something in your app/game.

    Suppose you expended $2,000 in a PPI campaign. You acquired 1,000 users.

    If 10% of them will buy goods in your game it means only 100 users would monetize the game and each one had to expend at least $20 just to recover the money invested.

    In reality, situation is worst.

    Your 100 users expended $2000 but Google has its 30% so you would receive $1400.

    After that government wants its part too. In Brazil it would mean I'd pay 30% over $1400.

    My net revenue would be $980 (not taking in account any extra cost). In other words I'd be in red.

    For me, that live in Brazil, each paying user would have to expend $40,82 just for me to recover the money invested.

    Definitely it's complicated and almost impossible if your monetization is based just in ads.

    All the numbers I have specified are median numbers
    1 user costs $ 0.01 to $ 10 on average $ 2

    The user brings in $ 0.01 to $ 20 — an average of $ 4
    Users who buy nothing at all make a profit - they watch ads, they generate organic traffic

    The amount that the user must bring, of course, taking into account taxes and other expenses

    Also it all depends on the game, if the game is bad then advertising does not help.
    my games:
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/developer?id=razorback456
    мій блог по гідерос https://simartinfo.blogspot.com
    Слава Україні!
  • plicatibuplicatibu Member
    edited December 2019
    Around 2013 / 2014, US$0.01 per user was the price of PPI campaigns for users from China. At the same time, 1000 ad views from China paid US$0.01.

    I have no idea how are prices nowadays but I believe it is not any better.
  • Despite the fact all posts are very interesting, we digressed from original point. What are our Phase 2?
  • There's seems to be promise in getting reviewed by a social media influencer. A marketing friend of mine suggested that's the most promising, least expensive path in the current market. Apart from events/competitions specifically to promote games, has anyone tried reaching out to an influencer? Like sending a message to somebody who has a lot of subscribers on YouTube for relevant videos, to try to negotiate a deal to get them to promote or review a game?
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