How To Make Money From Game Development – 5 Ways
Are you currently making money from game development we’re going to talk about 5 ways to make money from your game dev coming up. What’s up guys Tim Ruswick here from Game Dev Underground helping you build finish and launch better games. Today we’re talking about money. Who doesn’t like to talk about money because money is awesome right. Thing is it’s not always easy to make money in game development. Game development is a very hobby fueled passion fueled industry.
There’s a lot of people that love to make games and are in it to make games but they suck at making money from it. Like they’re not that great at it. And I realized early on that like games are different than other products because if I’m selling protein powder or something people need protein powder they’re going to keep buying protein powder they’re gonna buy it consistently.
So if I set up a shop that sells protein powder all I got to do is figure out how to get that in from the right people. Games are different beasts because when you build a game there’s not an inherent need for the game immediately. People don’t know what it is they don’t know what it’s like you kind of have to convince them to buy the game. You have to entice them. And in order to entice them you’ve got to know one what your game is but two what their interests are and you got to connected two.
And so games are a little complicated to sell but I think they’re still very usable I mean gain industry is bigger than the movies and music combined so it’s as far as dollar-wise it’s pretty big. It’s just that a lot of independent guys in studios don’t quite get how to do it. So they’re about five different ways that you can make money with games not necessarily and how you can monetize existing games but making money with game development is the goal.
And so number one we’re going to go with freelance because this is actually something that I do. As a business owner and when I got out of my marketing company I realized that hey I don’t want to start another business on a chance. I don’t want to say okay I’m going to risk 8 months of my life building this thing then and put it out there and hope people buy it. It was a big risk it still is a big risk right.
And I’m actually building my own game in February that’s going to be launched like that anyway despite my my thinking. But one of my thoughts was hey I know how to get clients I know how to build a business doing freelance gamedev is a great alternative because I can make games which I love to do but I can also get paid by clients to build the games. And I felt like that was a safer business move at least initially for me to kind of to build up get more games done make some money pay the bills with that kind of stuff versus actually starting out making a game.
So freelance is a really great way to make money with games especially if you have some skill in some software. There are a lot of people that will pay you to make games for them. Getting clients is going to be hardest part obviously. But you can always find clients you can go in freelance sites. You can go on Craigslist. You can go on Craigslist— I’ve had some bad experiences with some Craigslist clients will put it that way. But you know if you if you keep your eye out there you network with people you’ll find someone that wants to pay you to make games.
And it can be really lucrative when you figure out how to kind of navigate the whole thing. So number two is going to be super obvious that’s sales of your game right. If you have a paid game and you sell it. But what you may not be thinking about is how you’re actually going to get sales. So a lot of people they’ll put up their game on Steam and they’ll just cross their fingers and say hey I hope I hope it sells. But you can also sell your game independently.
You can fill your game on a website with a download link ready to go. There services like Gumroad or whatever you can sell your game directly. And when you do that, not only do you get a hundred percent of the money but you can also track sales better. You can figure out how things work. You can figure out how many people come to your website how many of them buy the game and so on and so forth and you can actually run the numbers and figure out the advertising and marketing strategy that’s best for that.
Not only that but you could let I don’t want to get too advanced into advertising marketing but you can tag them with with Facebook and then you can remarket to them, you can tag them with Google and remarket to them. Like have you ever been to a website and then all of a sudden you see ads to that website everywhere that’s what remarketing is. And it’s really easy to implement it’s really easy to do. And you can you can get clicks from interested people for pennies on the dollar for what you normally might cost because you’re retargeting someone rather than basing on their interest in competing with everyone else.
So it’s really interesting. Keep in mind that sales are not just click, publish and pray for the best. Sales are an active process so keep that in mind. Number two. Number three is free to play games. Now this is big popular mobile. It’s a big issue is a big deal with a lot of mobile games the whole mobile industry is kind of transitioning on this. Basically it’s a free-to-play game and you have in-app purchases that kind of help. Games like Clash of Clans or Clash Royale or the King of this Supercell it’s awesome what they do I highly recommend you check them out because they are they’re one of the few people in this industry that are giving it 100%.
But there are plenty of people making good money doing this kind of thing. One of the cool things about free-to-play games is that reduces the barrier to entry. Which means that people that might not have paid for the game will get to try it they might fall in love with it and then they’ll become avid fans of the game. Another benefit of it is that you can make a lot more money from one person with in-app purchases than you could with you know selling the game for a dollar or 2.99 or whatever it is on the App Store, because a lot of times people will buy multiple purchases especially if it’s a consumable purchase.
I’m not going to get into the ethics of people with gambling habits and all that stuff because that’s a whole other subject and it is an important issue. It’s really important. There’s some people that really fall victim to how well some of these games work but I just want to talk about making money and how you can do it. So that’s number three. I will say real quick one of the downsides to free-to-play games is that a lot of times people tend to value free stuff less than they value stuff they pay for so sometimes it’s really easy to get negative reviews or one stars or stuff like that, where basically people just don’t seem to value it as much as they would a paid game.
Number four, ADS. Now these are sounding super cliche and super general but hear me out. Ads are are I think they’re declining in their value over time at least banner ads general ads. But some of the ads that I’m seeing are working really well in games that I’ve helped other people with are like these full-page pop-up ads. They tend to interrupt the experience that’s a downside. So like you’re playing the game and all of a sudden you’re staring at an ad and that sucks for the experience.
Plus side is those ads pay more. It could be really good way to monetize. You have to check the RULES of your specific ad network. But sometimes you get incentivize people for the ads so like go install this game and you earn ten coins or something like that. Those are not always allowed for different ad networks but just there’s a lot of stuff like that. Ads are good though because they’re generally easy to implement they can kind of add money on autopilot and especially if you have like a really small game that didn’t take you a long time but it tends to gain some traction or you have one that just starts getting installed ads are a great way to kind of monetize it quickly while you figure out other things to do.
But I don’t think that ads are an actual business decision. Like if you’re trying to make an actual game development company I don’t think you should base your business model and ads. Because ads I don’t think are going to be long-term viable at least in the state we see them now. Because people are getting immune to them right. Like less and less people click them. So it sucks. But number five and this is one that I hadn’t seen a lot of it’s something that I’ve done before and it’s sponsorships.
Now there are companies out there that have a lifestyle brands or they have brands where they want to promote or they want to be seen alongside of certain things. So for example Nike is a very fitness oriented lifestyle brand right like you see all their marketing everything they do is like you know be the best just do it they got basketball players they got runners athletes they got all these people.
And the idea is they want to put their brand next to stuff that promotes that lifestyle so they can be associated with those lifestyles. Sponsorships in games are the same thing you say okay this company wants to be with fitness I’m making a fitness game or app or whatever you pay me X amount of money and we’ll put your name on everything. Or sponsorships don’t even have to be like that right. Like a lot of times they can be more subtle.
Like we had I had this opportunity with this guy a while back he was a rodeo I I don’t know what it was called but he basically was like he won championships for like the cowboy thing where they do the rope and they throw and they catch a horse or something whatever it was, he was like the national champion. And Wrangler jeans actually came to him and wanted to sponsor a game based on his name.
And so Wrangler paid a lot of money to build this game that basically was built around what he was good at. And the idea being the value that Wrangler jeans was that they get their name on something that you know is fits with their lifestyle brand. And the value to obviously the game development company was made a bunch of money and you know worked out well. And the value of this guy’s he kind of gets the best both worlds he’s got a game on his on his record and he also makes some money from the sponsorship deal.
So you can get companies to pay you money. And you’ve got to be good at at understanding corporate needs and understanding branding and it can take a little bit of research and it’s going to take a lot of like emailing and calling and stuff. But sponsorships are doable man and they’re a good good way to make money. I’m starting in transition into some of the stuff not quite yet but I’m talking to a couple people about some sponsorships or some sponsored games.
And basically those would be where the company pays you X amount of money and then the game is basically under their– like I know Cartoon Network does this a lot. Or maybe not—maybe it’s Adult Swim that I’m thinking of. But either way like there are a lot of sponsored games like especially if you make a great game you can actually send an email to some of these guys and pitch them like Adult Swim so you have like a farting game or something that would fit really well with their brand right.
You can email and say hey I have the game I would love to brand it for you guys would you like to sponsor it for you know five grand or whatever it is. And a lot of times that can work out. It takes a little work obviously I’m oversimplifying it. But but it’s a good way to kind of get to make some money in the interim and I would definitely recommend you guys give it a shot.
So that’s the five things five ways to make money out of game dev. If there are more they’re definitely more but those are the five main ones I think for me that I kind of the most viable. And not just for me personally but for the industry as a whole I think those are the best ways. They’re in no particular order so I’m not saying that one is better than the other it just depends on your skill set and how much time you have involved and how much risk you want to take.
But those are it if you have any questions or comments please leave them below I love you guys. If you have anything to add any additional ways to make money with games we love to hear them as well.
But once again I’m Tim Ruswick and I’ll see you guys next time.