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SillyCow

Making 100$ from Android Games

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Short Version: "How do you make money from your android game?"

Long Version:

My day-job as a non-games programmer pays the bills.
I develop many games and prototypes in my spare time.
I've been doing it since I was a child (It's a hobby, nothing more).

Recently the mobile markets have made it easy to publish games.
So, I said to myself: "If you call yourself a hobbyist, it's a sin not to publish a game in this day and age".

Making money off of something does not mean it has to even come close to paying the bills.
Think about playing your garage band at bars on weekends.
Getting economic recognition for your efforts (like free beer at the bar) is very rewarding.

And so, I said to myself: "If I could make 100$ off of this game it would be pretty cool" (I should really stop talking to myself, it makes people stare )

As I see these are the ways I can make money:
1. Post only a paid version - This will reduce the amount of people who play my game (Getting my game played is more important to me than money).
2. Ad-Supported - As far as I read on the internet this will make me ~5$ if I am an average admob user.
3a. Freemium Preview - Release a free version that does not contain all levels [But then most players will not get the full experience sad.gif ] .
3b. Freemium Crippled - Cripple the free version. (Don't allow people to save progress or something like that...)
3c. Freemium Paid Bonus - Only paid users will be able to enter scores into the leader-board.
3d. Freemium Ads - Release a full add supported version, and charge money for ad-free [Will anyone actually pay money for this? blink.gif].


So how did you make your 100$ on android market?

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I have made $8.48 from an unfinished (with bad art) game put on the Android Market using only Ad-mob Ads as the revenue (Which sometimes doesn't show??). (2nd option)

My next game will be much better and there will be:

  1. A free version, which will only include a few levels and limited game play. This will also have Ads.
  2. A paid version, has all levels and all game play with no ads.


Edit: In reply, you need a fun game to get $100 but to get more than that, you need good marketing!

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This is a really complicated question actually, and very hard to give any general answer to.
It even depends a bit on what kind of game you are making.

All the alternatives you list are viable strategies and have their pro:s and con:s.
3a, 3b and 3c are exactly the same though, just a difference in how you choose to describe it :) (marketing tip: select the one that sounds good to the buyer)

Also, there is in app purchase, you can release a free version and have extra content or features available through in app purchase.
I wouldn't recommend that for a first game though, that takes quite a lot of though to do it right and not just piss people off.

I'd say the "paid only" would be the worst for someone like you without any brand recognizion.
Specially on Android, since the will to pay is very low there. (at least compared to the App Store)
On App Store, having a free version might very well end up hurting your sales.

On Android though, it seems to be common practice to have some kind of trial version available.
Its pretty common to add lots of ads to the free version, not so much for the revenue, but to have one extra incentive to buy the paid version (to get rid of the ads)
But as you say, its probably not so many that would pay _just_ to get rid of ads, you probably should throw in something extra for the guys who choose to support you.
And don't overdo the ads, then you just piss off your users again :)

And do add a link in your game to the full version on the app store for easy upgrades

I guess my TL;DR answer is "All of the above" :)

Release a free and a paid version, and make sure the users who choose to pay is rewarded somehow.
If you want to maximize revenue, then you have to balance how much you "give away" in the free version, you want the player intrigued enough to want more, but not satisfied enough that they feel the free version is enough for them.
Finding this balance is not easy.

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I have made $8.48 from an unfinished (with bad art) game put on the Android Market using only Ad-mob Ads as the revenue (Which sometimes doesn't show??). (2nd option)


Thanks for the reply.
Just to get a general idea:
What game did you make?
How many downloads did you have?
Did you put ads on all screens, or just on the menus?




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Sounds like a good general idea to me.
Will give the player a taste of the full flavor, but they will have to buy to properly play it.

Depending on the game, you might want to consider making it possible to save some progress, up to some point.
That would be if the game otherwise would feel to short, and the player wouldn't get a proper taste of the goodness to come.
If everything is available from start, sure go for it.

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$100 dollar games can be cracked out in an afternoon. If you want to make something for fun and publish it, go for it. If you want to make money, make a business plan. If you want to make a hundred bucks -- mow lawns. OK. I get it, you want "recognition" -- but then what does it matter how well it sells? Just publish it and see how it goes.

Even the crappiest game I've ever made hasn't sold beneath 500$, though that games was crappy by inexperience and slapstick design rather than any rush or maliciousness on my part to "get the money". What I'm saying is:
a) "I don't care about the money -- I want recognition though." -- good, create whatever you think is cool and publish. See what happens. Repeat until you get what you want.
b) "I do care about the money -- what do I do?" -- examine the market, find holes, create what needs to be filled. See what happens. Repeat until successful.

Good luck! :)

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Even the crappiest game I've ever made hasn't sold beneath 500$


So I gather that you went with the paid only approach?
If so, how did you get your initial user base?
Did you advertise your game somewhere?

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[quote name='DarklyDreaming' timestamp='1323273488' post='4891487']
Even the crappiest game I've ever made hasn't sold beneath 500$


So I gather that you went with the paid only approach?
If so, how did you get your initial user base?
Did you advertise your game somewhere?
[/quote]
This was back in the day (five years ago by now), so it doesn't bear much semblance to today's market. Anyways, I've long since moved on to greener fields and better paid opportunities but for your interest:
1) Yes. $5/copy.
2) Mostly friends and friends-of-friends. There were a lot of gamers at my school and many others were just interested in buying something 'local'.
3) On the school board, GD.org, local coffeplaces... nothing compared to today's social marketing power, mind you. :)

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Thanks for the reply.
Just to get a general idea:
What game did you make?
How many downloads did you have?
Did you put ads on all screens, or just on the menus?



No probs, I made Chaos.Theory.


It currently has 872 total installs and 72 active installs.

I only put ads on the high-score screen, so when the player died they would see an ad.

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