I am currently working on an HTML5 game and need some ideas on the most viable business model I should use to monetize. The game is a single player game which has potential for being split up into DLC. It is being developed with both mobile and desktop in mind; the controls / mechanics work well on both. I have no desire to take the "sell my game license to someone" approach.
I am going to be honest and say that my game isn't amazing or ground breaking, but it is a solid game with potentially a lot of replay value. It will probably take me a couple months of hard work to finish. Because this is the first game I am trying to monetize, I would say my goal is to make $10,000 (a hopefully realistic goal for a first game). I have read a lot of the articles on this link at http://www.pixelprospector.com/the-big-list-of-indie-game-business/, but not many of the address actually statistics comparing the different methods.
These are the main options I have read about and would be interested in using:
- Create a portal / website which has my game(s) and ads
- Sell game directly using either the chrome app store or make my own account / billing system using paypal
- Sell in game content using a in-game credit system
- Freemium approach (this is where the DLC might come into play)
- Ask for donations.
- Keep browser version free, but port to mobile app using http://phonegap.com/
Here are my thoughts on each:
- A portal can allow for a constant monthly stream of revenue generated via ads. Because I don't many games to place on my portal, this revenue would be slim-to-none. On the plus side, a free game has potential to become popular much easier than a game one must buy. Unfortunately, this approach might make my fan-base undesirable. I rather have 50 dedicated monthly players than 10,000 random players who only play my game once. I could always fall back on this approach if my game is a flop. Bottom line: Making money off ads is hard from what I read, and my fan-base has potential to become a bunch of little kids looking for a free game to play.
- Selling the game directly would assure the fan-base is dedicated, or at least "more" dedicated than, the free-to-play fan-base. There has been a couple successful games such as Don't Starve (I think it is HTML5) on the Chrome Web Store and they seem to be doing well, especially for being in beta. They also released on Steam which helps a lot. This approach would also guarantee me revenue even if someone doesn't "like" the game. All I need is for them to buy it once. Using the Chrome Web Store might also be good because many people are lazy and reluctant to take out their credit card to buy a game on some random website they have never seen before. Unfortunately, this approach would require me to spend a lot more time marketing my game both before and after release in comparison to a free-to-play game. Bottom line: This approach seems like it would work best for my needs.
- In game content seems to work best in MMO games, not single player games. Correct me if I am wrong though.
- Freemium might increase my potential fan-base due to the fact that there is free content. This would make marketing a little easier on me. I could then sell an upgraded game / content (more weapons, more zones, more enemies, etc) for a premium. I read an article about how DLC worked well for their game. Bottom line: This approach might be beneficial since this is my first game; free marketing and potential for making money.
- I feel this has only really worked on dwarf fortress, but again correct me if I am wrong.
- Free marketing while potentially making money on mobile market. Although, I hear the mobile market is a very competitive market. I feel like if I put in a lot of hard work into my game, keeping the browser free is selling my game short.
I feel like there are large trade offs between each of these methods and I am not sure which one would work best. I know the best thing I should do is just "try one" since this is my first attempt to monetize off a game, but I rather get feedback from someone who has been successful or failed with one of these approaches with their browser game.
If someone that could post actual statistics on the revenue of their game and what approach they choose to follow, it would be awesome. But if those statistics are not available, any feedback would be great!
Hopefully I didn't ramble too much. There is so much I don't know and don't know how to figure it all out =P.