It’s not a secret that big game companies like Rovio (Angry birds), Zynga and EA have most of their monetization mechanics down to a science level. But for the “long tail” of game developers it’s close to be impossible.
Today there are 3 known ways for game developers to monetize games.
1. Selling the game:
Yes, it seemed very simple but it doesn’t. Most of the “long tail” companies find it almost impossible to sell their game widely. It’s like opening an e-commerce shop and thinking: “If I build it the customers will come by themselves”.
If you don’t spend money on marketing nobody will come and there won’t be any sales. If you develop a game you need the players to know that it exists - and that cost money, and a lot of it.
So, in order to generate revenue by selling your game you need to be very creative with your game design (so people will talk about it) and spend a lot of money on gaming blogs and review articles.
2. Advertising inside the game:
Most of the games that are using advertising inside the game distribute the game for free. The big problem with advertising is that in order to generate more revenue you need a lot of players (thousands to millions). Most likely Google is the only company that will see cash from the advertisements in your game.
3. Selling virtual goods:
Every time that I talk about virtual goods I have an epiphany. Why not develop a printer that I will give for free and make money from selling ink. Yes, HP already invented that and Apple (IPod) and Amazon (Kindle) are doing it. The same are the games that using virtual goods, you give the game for free and think that the player will buy a pink tractor to use in a farm game (Zynga is doing millions from pink tractors).
The big question is: “Are you one of the big boys” or “Are you a long tail company?”
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