Guidance For Monetising Free Downloadable PC Games?

7 replies

I have been a professional game developer for much of my career. You may have noticed in the last decade or so, there has been a craze of mostly hobby developers that make small games for distribution online. These get tens of thousands of downloads, millions if it is a viral game. While many of these are poor quality, there are many that are quite good.

The professional end of this kind of game development is often referred to as casual games. Many of these games have had great commercial success. Their monetization model usually goes like this; try before you buy free download with limited levels and/or functionality and when you pay for the game, you get a serial number to unlock the rest of the game or get the full download link.

I noticed over the years that even the lowest quality games get thousands of downloads. My question to you is this; What about exclusively free downloadable games; nothing you need a whole production company for? Monetized with in game ads to CPA offers in the Intro and credits screens.

Have any of you tried this? Is it a viable strategy and which monetization models / CPA offers would you use? Maybe promote free sign-ups like Gaia Online, Runescape and the like?

#downloadable #free #games #guidance #monetising
  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    What about using in game ads to sell other casual games?

    For example, through Commission Junction you can get $15 (from memory) for getting someone to sign up for a trial at GameHouse.

    So, depending on what kind of game you're distributing, it could work brilliantly to match the in game ad with what the person is currently playing and say something like:

    "If you like this game you're going to LOVE Crazy McCrazy's Wild Adventure. Play it FREE now, just click here!"

    ...with a pretty screenshot of the game. Or, you could just use the graphics provided through CJ, like this: FunPass Promo

    You're then cross-selling to a prequalified audience so that could work like gangbusters I think!
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    • Profile picture of the author Qaisar
      Im not a programming type of guy so I dont know if this is possible, but have you considered transferring the PC games to the iPhone platform?

      Games tend to get downloaded a lot by iPhone users
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  • Profile picture of the author charlesartist
    Yeah, I sure have. The most interesting platform for the iphone that I have seen is the Unity engine. I would definitely put that into the mix asap after revenue comes in (its $1200 for the Unity ipod dev license <:O )

    Worth it definitely, IMHO, but outside my price range for the moment. I would like to focus on short rapid development free download-able games.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    Charles you can also check out Flash Game License if you're into Flash development.

    You can get anywhere from $300 - $10,000 sponsorship deals and there is also the potential to negotiate keeping your own ads in place in the game.

    Obviously sponsors want to place their own ads too so you have to ensure space was kept for them.

    But through this option you can get the best of both worlds. A nice up front payment, in game ads and then massive distribution through the sponsor.

    I myself sold a little game, not a very good one at that I'll admit, and the sponsor who licensed it managed to spread it to I don't even know how many sites.

    Enough that when you put the game title in Google in quotation marks it brings up 32,000 results.

    It's been played over 4000 times just on the first page that comes up in the results, let alone all the rest.

    Now I only got paid a little bit for the sponsorship, and I was happy with it for an early outing into Flash Game licensing, but if I had my own ads in that game who knows how much I would have made from so many plays.

    Check it out here: Flash Game License: Welcome
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  • Profile picture of the author charlesartist
    Good one, Kezz. Oh yeah, Ive heard of FGL! Definitely have my eye on them too.

    Any more discussion or input in that is fine, but Im seeking info specifically about monetizing free pc game downloads. NOT THAT IM NOT INTERESTED in your valuable post! It's just Ive looked into that area very closely and I'm looking into the free pc download area now.

    btw, you ok with posting or pm'ing a link to your game?
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  • Profile picture of the author Kezz
    Hehe sure thing, I'm just a wee bit embarrassed as it's my first flash game and I'm sure I can do better.

    But I looked at it as paid training really - having to teach myself AS3 from scratch was super challenging for a non programmer like me.

    Here's the search results I was talking about, which may be of more interest than the actual game itself.

    Btw for any mods watching, I don't make any cash from this at all so this is in no way intended to be self-promotional, only helpful.

    Here ya go:"escape+from+planet+hell"

    Some more CPA ideas for you - Eve Online pays $15 per sale through Neverblue, but getting a sale on that game is pretty challenging.

    In my personal opinion, freebie seekers are absolutely the hardest people to sell anything to.

    So, if you want to monetize freebie seekers the easiest way would be through something that is also free such as trial signups and so on.

    Have you looked into TrialPay as on option? That's one thing I've considered getting into with games myself. Here's the link if you've not seen it before: TrialPay: Online Payment and Promotions Platform for Leading Software and Social Apps Publishers

    Oh and did you know the UDK is free now? Can't wait to see what people start to put out with that. There's some awesome potential to create some top notch 3D games with that which would be sure to get an absolute cr*pload of action.
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  • Profile picture of the author charlesartist
    That's really exciting about the unreal engine. I think you are being much too modest about your game. thanks for sharing and thanks for the heads up about trial pay. I did hear about them before but I didnt give them a serious look until you posted.

    Good point about the freebie seekers. I get dazzled by the potential of the sheer numbers of players and finding a way to convert it to a real pay day.
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