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20 Ways to Make Money With Your Game

There are a ton of reasons why someone might want to develop a video game, but in the end most can agree that getting paid to create great games that people love to play is a great feeling.

However making money isn’t always easy, even in the gaming industry. But it isn’t always slow sales that cause lower revenue; it’s the fact that so many developers leave money making opportunities out of their games and miss out on cashing in.

So you’re not left with empty pockets after listing your game in the stores, here are 20 other ways you can make money from your game…

1. Frame advertisements

Most free versions of games have ads that run along the edges of the screen. Basically, you charge companies to place their ads here. The more popular the game, the more you can charge for an ad placement.

2. In game advertisements

Another place where ads are commonly found are when the game is loading or between level changes. People are used to seeing these ads so it won’t be a huge turn off to your fans, and it might even open up another revenue stream…

3. Turning off ads

Most people are so used to ads that they aren’t bothered by them, but some people hate seeing them and will gladly fork over a few bucks if they can turn them off in a game they enjoy playing.

4. Sell aesthetic upgrades

Maybe you want to offer different outfits for your players characters, or you want to allow them to customize a vehicle in your game. You can make money by offering this option as an in-game purchase.

5. Offer more tokens/lives/turns/etc.

Many games nowadays force players to either earn or purchase longer gameplay. Many people would just rather opt to pay a couple of dollars for this than have to sit there and earn it in small increments.

6. Go premium

So you offered a lite version of your game for free and people love to play it? Now charge them for the premium game that includes more levels, different characters or even head to head competition

7. Product placement

You might not want to overtly advertise on your game, but you can use in-game real estate to host ads or even products for your advertisers. These are far less intrusive than banner/border ads and some people get a kick out of spotting them.

8. Sell in-game objects

These can be things that people might come across during regular game play or even specialty items that are not offered outside of being purchased. But people love to have things that others don’t so why not sell some stuff; allow people to give these items to other players as gifts and you will see even more revenue come out of this feature.

9. Featured services

Charge players for in-game chats or instant messaging. People love to communicate with other players and will likely pay for this feature.

10. Expansion packs

Some people are bummed out after they have finished your game. Why not sell them and expansion pack so they can keep playing even after they have completed all of the missions?

11. Create a members only club

People will pay for VIP treatment. Give your members early access to new games, reserve certain areas of the game for them only or offer other perks that only other members can get.

12. Collect donations

Gave your game away for free? Ask for a donation. Players who appreciate your hard work will usually kick a few bucks your way if you ask them to.

13. Sell data to marketers

This could irritate your audience but you can make some good money from selling your players information to marketers. The problem is, their contact info will likely get sold over and over and they will not be happy.

14. Use it as a loss leader

The way this works is your game is given away or sold cheap. What you are trying to do is use the game to build awareness for a brand; let’s say a character, a movie, a toy, or something else that you will sell to make some big money.

15. In game wagering

In skill-based games or games of chance, players can buy tokens or virtual items that they use to gamble with other players. The tokens can be sold for a profit or the developer can keep a percentage of the pot. Either way will put a little change in your pocket.

16. User created content

If your game allows players to create things like buildings, clothing, vehicles, etc. and then sell them to other players you should get a percentage of all sales.

17. Sell foreign distribution rights

Want to have your game translated into another language but don’t want to take on the extra work, marketing or distribution? Sell the rights to someone else. You still own the intellectual property and you make some money on the deal but your work ends there.

18. Licensing

If your game is popular enough someone might pay you to turn it into a movie, cartoon or even a comic book. The money you collect is for licensing your product for use by someone else.

19. Sell swag

If your game is popular why not sell action figures, shirts, hats, smartphone covers or anything else you can slap your brand or characters on?

20. Create a franchise

Angry birds, Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty – what do these titles all have in common? They are franchise games. Create a game that spawns many sequels and you could see the cash roll on in. Just make sure each installment is better than the last one!