Harish Amilineni : 30 ways to monetize your mobile game

If you are thinking about creating a game for mobile devices, you should know that you are not alone. There are many application developers who have taken the step and have directly offered their applications totally free. If you are one of those programmers who have started in the development of video games , you will know that not everything is as easy as it seems. Let’s see a list of ways by which you can monetize your free mobile game along with a little trick. In this way you can make money with your project, that in which so much time and effort have been invested. We will not complicate too much in explaining each section in depth, since the objective of this article is to have a preview of all the options that you can then explore.

1. Ads

You can add advertising for your game using any of the following modes:

  1. Banners : Usually occupy a part of the screen and can get you between 2 and 3 € per thousand impressions (CPM). It’s annoying for your players and it’s not like you’re going to win a lot of money unless you have a lot of players, but the implementation is very simple.
  2. Interstitial ads : These ads can give you a CPM higher than the banners, up to 10 €. They do not usually bother too much if you put them in the right places, although some may include videos with sounds that should be played for at least a few seconds.
  3. Button to see more games : If you have more than one game, you can benefit from it. It is a button on which the users of your game click to obtain a list of related games. Some may be paid or you can simply limit yourself to show ads on that page. If your games have ads, it is also a way to expand.
  4. Ads when you leave the game : When users leave the game, they will see a final full-screen ad, a type of ad that always has a good CPM.
  5. Send messages to the user : This technique is only viable on Android devices. It is about that your game is authorized to show messages to the user, which can be used to promote other games.
  6. Data sales : It is about capturing the preferences of your users within the game to predict their behavior in the real world.
  7. Downloads with some incentive (Offerwalls) : This is a simple transaction through which the user can obtain objects or coins to use within the game in exchange for downloading or testing other applications. Usually it will be the developers of the other applications who pay you. You can even integrate several of these systems, since it is not usually annoying for users. Here you can find a list with the best known offer walls suppliers .
  8. Offer coupons : The idea is to give your users a reward by offering discount coupons for something that might interest them. For example, you can get a 20% discount in a chain of restaurants when you finish with a final boss.
  9. Videos : It’s about giving virtual money for the game to your users in exchange for watching a video. You earn real money and your players lie money. It sounds malevolent, but the fact is that it is a way for everyone to be happy.
  10. Searches : Users will have to install a search application to seniors along with your game. It’s a mode that I do not like too much, but you can earn between € 10 and € 12 for every thousand downloads. Of course, it is better to make sure that the application you offer with your game is virus free and also easy to uninstall.
  11. Virtual objects of some brand : If some of the objects of your game are of some real mark, they can end up giving you money. Of course, you must first reach an agreement and it is not too easy.

2. Content sales (DLCs)

We all hate to buy a game and that a pay DLC appears to the day, but when it comes to a free game, everything is more understandable: Let’s see several options according to this philosophy:

  1. Premium version : It is a good option if you think your game is good enough. You offer a free version for anyone to play but you also offer an update to allow players to have the full version of the game by buying the application.
  2. Level packs : It’s about offering the levels of your game separately. You will offer some free levels, but users will have to pay to download more levels. It is an idea that games like Hitman Go have been able to use quite successfully.
  3. Improvements of the interface : It is about creating an interface of walking around the house and offering another one with which it is easier to play in order to progress. It’s not that it’s too ethical, but it can be effective if your game is addictive.
  4. Wallpapers : If your players like your game a lot, you can try to sell wallpapers of it. We already tell you in advance that you will not get a hard one if you do not have thousands of players.
  5. Soundtracks and tones : If the music for your game is good, you can sell it separately in the store so that players can listen to it at any time or so that they can set it as the tone of their phone. Your soundtrack must be of quality, like that of Star Command , a game that does not serve as an example, since it is paid.

3. Elimination of certain limitations of the game

You can offer your game totally free but make progressing very complicated in order to sell improvements. You could also have alternative versions of the game:

  1. Ad Elimination: It’s about offering a free version of the game with ads and a paid version without them. In this way each player is free to choose if he wants to pay or if he prefers to see the ads. It works pretty well.
  2. Limitation of resources to continue playing : It is about limiting the game to a certain number of lives or shifts. Once the resources are exhausted it is not possible to continue playing as it happens in a recreational machine. Anyone who wants to continue playing will have to go through the box.
  3. More game time : If you put the players a time limit to complete each level, some may be willing to pay to get more time to finish that level that costs them so much.

4. Virtual economy

This is the mode through which 50% of the benefits of mobile games are currently obtained. We will try to go through parts that you can monetize both together and separately:

  1. Characters : If your game has a character that players can identify with, you can add additional options to customize it, such as avatars, costumes or unique attributes that differentiate them. Balancing attributes depends on you. It’s something that players usually like.
  2. Improvements : It’s about offering improvements for each character in an unbalanced way. It is also valid for games of cars or ships, which could have improvements in speed or endurance.
  3. Offer advantages with the sale of objects : It is about offering elements such as weapons in exchange for real money so that players get better skills. Of course, any player should be able to finish the game without paying, since in theory it should be something optional. It is also common that these objects can be found during the game without making any payment, although that may not be easy.
  4. Resources : Resources are elements that players accumulate as they play and serve to progress in the game. An example is gold and wood in a strategy game.
  5. Activation of tricks : Some players may be willing to pay to have certain advantages such as immortality or a superior force in the event that there is a character. It is something that can also prevent players from having to start from scratch in games that follow the endless runner philosophy, such as Punch Quest .
  6. Surprise elements : It is about offering something to the player who does not know what it is in exchange for real money, just like with the sale of trading cards, that you never know which ones will touch you.
  7. Limited editions : If in the game there are objects with which players can be equipped, it can be interesting to launch series of objects for a limited time in exchange for real money. In this way players know they have something that others do not have access to. An auction system can also be established.
  8. Extensions : It is about selling levels, costumes or objects whose appearance corresponds to the season of the year or the time in which we are, such as Christmas or Halloween. Paper Monsters and Time Surfer have used this strategy successfully.

5. Merchandising

You can sell various physical items and send them to players, which is the best way for anyone to feel cheated, since they have bought something they can touch.

  1. T-shirts : If your game becomes popular, it will be one of the best methods to monetize your game. You can sell them directly from your store within the game. Games like Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies have been popularized by creating a fashion, extended with merchandising.
  2. Phone cases : It is something that almost everyone uses, as long as the screen of your phone is not broken.
  3. Lighters, cups and other utensils : The truth is that there is no limit as to what you can sell. The problem is that your game has to be previously popular if you intend to obtain great benefits. Otherwise, you will have to reduce the price.

6. Social events

  1. Duels and tournaments: These are events in which players compete with each other to obtain a reward. If your game is a simulator of something from the real world, there is more chance that this will work. It’s something that you can combine very well with some of the monetization methods we’ve talked about.
  2. Gifts : You can earn money when your players buy a virtual item, but for little extra effort you could make it possible for players to also buy items for other players as a gift. It may hurt for them to buy things for themselves, but not for another when they know they would spend the money equally on something else.

The list could continue and new methods of monetization with the passage of time are appearing. The hard part is creating an addictive game and getting players, but if you have them, the alternatives are many.

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