Moneyadviceblog » Money » The Beginner’s Guide to Mobile Game Monetization – Part 1

You’re confident that you have a million-dollar idea for a mobile game. But do you know how to make a game profitable? Read this beginners’ guide, and you will be able to understand how you can successfully monetize your mobile game. Let’s begin!

What Is Mobile Game Monetization?

Simply put, mobile game monetization is making money off a mobile game. This includes different strategies and methods that game developers use to generate revenue from their games.

Building a quality mobile game takes a lot of time, effort, and resources. None of this is simple, and it’s not cheap either. For this reason, you need to make sure your game is profitable enough to cover up your development costs. Then again, your ultimate goal is to make money, not to maintain a zero balance.

While some games become wildly profitable as soon as they get launched, for others, it takes years until they finally blossom. On the other hand, some games fail instantly. All this depends on the quality of the mobile game but also on how developers handle monetization from scratch. There are different ways to approach mobile game monetization, and your task is to find the right one. Luckily, we’re here to help you with that.

Mobile Game Monetization: The Planning Phase

When someone says, “planning a mobile game,” what is your initial thought? Naturally, a lot of developers first think about the idea behind the game. Sure, the idea is important. However, thinking about how you will monetize your game is equally important.

The thing is, you should be pondering mobile game monetization from the earliest phases of game development. As soon as you start building a game, you should choose the primary monetization model. Once you do this, you’ve laid out the groundwork for your game.

The monetization model you choose for your game will have an impact on many aspects of your game. For example, the game’s layout, level difficulty, features, etc. For these reasons, it’s crucial to think about mobile game monetization during development. This is the only way to make sure your gameplay and monetization model will work well alongside each other. We don’t want to scare you – but this is one of the things that can make or break a game.


How Do Mobile Games Make Money?

To get a better understanding of how mobile games make money, you should take a look at today’s mobile game market. At the moment, most of the games on the market are free-to-play. These games make money by exposing players to micro-transactions and/or in-game ads.

The other, less frequent type of game on the market is paid games. If players wish to install and play these games, they need to pay a one-time fee first.

It wasn’t always like this, though. In the early days of the app stores, paid games ruled the mobile game market. However, nowadays, most players expect mobile games to be free. For this reason, in this guide, our main focus is on monetization strategies for free-to-play mobile games (aka F2P games). The biggest challenge in making money from F2P mobile games is making them work for both sides in the process – game developers and players. Developers want to earn as much money as possible, while players want to enjoy the games for free.

This is where it gets tricky. A lot of developers follow the money to the point they neglect their players. They ruin their user experience, block the players’ progress, etc. And sure enough, a lot of players get frustrated and angry to the point they uninstall the game.

How to avoid this from happening? One word – balance. Players know the developer needs to make money. For this reason, they expect to see monetization features in mobile games. As long as developers don’t go overboard with them, they will be able to keep and monetize their players.

How to Monetize a Free Game

As we mentioned earlier, picking out a monetization model is one of the first steps in the monetization process. To define, a mobile game monetization model is the strategy the developer uses to make money off the game. If you look at the game listings in the app stores, you will notice they say which monetization model(s) they use.

This way, the players know what monetization features they can expect from the game. For example, if they will need to watch ads or not. In the next part of this series, we will guide you through the four most popular monetization models for F2P games. Be sure to check back soon!