If you’re reading this it’s probably because you’re interested in making money online. You could be exactly right. I became interested in making money from online games mainly because I love playing them. However, like most other people, I eventually got tired of spending my time playing games and looking for ways to make money from them. I noticed that even the most successful game developers were struggling to make money from their games. It seems that, since the dawn of the internet, gamers have always found a way to play their games for free. Now that the barrier to entry is relatively low, more and more people are joining the fray. So, if you’re looking to make money from playing online games, you’d better learn from the pros.
The Pros’ Approach
I spoke with several successful game developers and asked them about how they make money from their games. I was surprised to learn that they didn’t rely primarily on ad-based revenue models, but instead used a combination of free-to-play models and affiliate marketing.
Firstly, many successful game developers I spoke with rely heavily on Steam. Steam is a digital distribution platform that allows users to download and play your games. You set a Steam key for your game when you upload it to Steam. This key is like an order for your game to be printed and shipped to customers. When a customer plays your game on Steam and spends enough money to pay for their gaming PC and the game itself, you’ll be notified and granted a small fee. The more you rely on this model, the more you’ll struggle to make any money from your games.
Secondly, many successful game developers use a combination of free-to-play models and affiliate marketing. A free-to-play model allows you to set a certain price for your game. This price can be anything from free to very expensive. When a customer plays your game and spends enough money to reach the price point you set, you’ll earn a small fee. Alternatively, you can allow users to play your game for free and use affiliate marketing to promote your game and any related products.
What is affiliate marketing? Simply put, affiliate marketing is when a company pays you for each person that makes a purchase after they’ve visited a linked website or played a game.
To give you an example, I’ll use Game.com. Game.com is an online game distributor that also happens to be one of the largest in the world. They sell game keys and equipment as well as distribute games to customers. If you’ve ever shopped at Game.com, you know exactly what type of affiliate marketing they use.
Now, you may be wondering how you can become a successful game developer. To start, you may want to consider pursuing a degree in computer science or software engineering. Alternatively, you can find a successful game developer and work your way up from there.
The Cons’ Approach
However, there’s another side to this story. I spoke with several unsuccessful game developers and asked them how they make money from their games. Most of them rely heavily on ad-based revenue models or take-home revenue models. In other words, they rely on money from ads or subscription fees in order to make money.
Ad-based revenue models are when an advertiser pays you for displaying their ads on your website or in your game. For example, you may display ads for diet supplements, weight loss products, or financial services products.
In a take-home revenue model, you get paid after a person has paid for your product. This could be anything from selling them a game to promoting a movie or music album. These models can be lucrative, but they require a lot of work. You have to create content (i.e. articles, videos, etc.) that audiences want to read or watch. If you can do that, you’ll be able to make a lot of money.
Since the dawn of the internet, gamers have always found a way to play their games for free (with ads). This is primarily because game companies rely on advertising in order to make money. In other words, they need to generate revenue in order to stay afloat.
Now that we have a better idea of how online game developers make money, let’s talk about ways that you can make money from your games as well. As we learned, making money from games isn’t as easy as it seems. However, with a little bit of planning and research, you can become a successful game developer (or a game brand, at least).