The Rush to a Quick Buck

Recently I read an article about monetization, but not for learning about tips and tricks for making revenue in games, but the wrong reasons to monetize your game. Lets be honest we are in the age of the indie developer. People want to work on a game in their garage with their friends, release the next Flappy Bird,  and make a quick buck. They work out a plan for monetizing their product along with designs and start development expecting to make money off their first few games.

There is a fundamental problem with this logic, no truly successful game, was a developers first. Only a handful of studios putting out games expecting to make money and actually do it. I do not claim to be some guru, but anyone can tell you, most mobile games in app stores are not successes or hits. Many of those apps are developed by inexperienced developers who are still working on their craft as developers thinking they can get a quick buck of their game. I am not against people making games, go do it, we need more people in the industry for it to grow. But when you are getting into something (be it a career or a passion) those that become hits are those that do it well.

Especially long lasting hits, come from experienced developers who failed many times. Angry Birds developers,  Rovio Entertainment made over 40 games that were not nearly the hit as Angry Birds was. People can get the wrong idea when all they hear is a small studio made a game that got millions of downloads. They do not hear about the mountain of failed games or prototypes, the energy put into marketing or PR, the search for funding, or the time it took to build a name for the studio. Monetization takes time in development and design for finding out when and how the player may do an In App Purchase (IAP). If you are starting out, take that time to master your craft, as the saying goes “If you are good at something, don’t do it for free” and please get good at it before asking for money.


4 thoughts on “The Rush to a Quick Buck

  1. As the Indie community get bigger and bigger it makes me wonder if the app hosts or online game hosts (apple, steam, etc,) are going to do something to filter out the “bad” games. I agree, there are one hit wonders sometimes, but success is built on failure and by failing and making mistakes will people and companies learn and grow. When developing a game and releasing I feel that most people hope that the app will do good. They spent alot of time on it, ofcoarse they would hope it would do good. But the important part is, when it doesn’t, how do they react? Do they get mad? Or do they reflect and see the mistakes, learn from it and aim at something higher. The expectations that every small mobile developers will do good is a complete lie and a misguided assumption people need to stop making. In conclusion, I have no plans on going Indie.


  2. For sure it’s a common assumption that the games that suddenly come out and do great are a studio’s first game or they had some magical formula. Although it’s okay for the masses to think this way, it would be nice for them to understand/appreciate the amount of work and effort that goes into making this happen (developing many games). This gets me thinking along a similar line to Taku’s comment. For developers that don’t have the money and convenience that Rovio had to make their 40+ low revenue games, how do they feel about the process? How are they staying afloat during this period? I’d say in other cases, developers who work on more successful games sometimes get together to start an indie studio. This gives the first few games some credibility and they’ve already gotten their experience. Definitely seems like a much safer route and I’ve noticed various developers starting to do this more often. Indie studios being started by industry veterans.


  3. I just think that slowly the word indie dev is slowly becoming sort of a hype term or a cool way to say ‘like a startup in size’ because the amount of money spent on and earned from a mobile game is slowly becoming on par with most (so-called) AAA titles. I think that as the truth of the so called garage-game making system slowly comes into the foray the world will have changed again in terms of current technologies leading to new sorts of indie and small sized game makers. At the moment the amount of support and resources to allow for the indie and mobile game companies with people who know the industry well to put their cool new ideas out is amazing. No Man’s Sky was about 10 former employees of big companies really passionate about a cool idea and Sony saw that passion and helped them out by bringing them to a larger audience, even while letting them self-publish. The same with Thomas was Alone and now Volume maker Mike Bithell who made his game part-time while working for a larger game company, although now there are a bunch of free-lancers working with him. He got help from Bossa and Unity. Not sure though if people who have not experienced the gaming industry can do much without a decent amount of cash though…


  4. A good suggestion for those game developers who can’t wait to earn profit. If a game are getting popular and more hits, there must be something doing right. No matter the result is succeed or failed, just try to analysis it and learn from it. I think the patience and experience are both the most important factors for a successful game. Monetization is a good consideration for game studio to earn the profit for sure, but if you don’t have enough experience or get familiar with the market, you always need to prepare fail and learn first.


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