How Do Mobile Games Make Money?

How Do Mobile Games Make Money?

There are millions of free games available for download for Apple and Android phones so you may wonder how do mobile games make money if game play is free.  Mobile games make money in two different ways, in app purchases and through advertising.  Mobile gaming is BIG business and game developers fight tooth and nail for every download they get.  Let’s take a look at this business model and see how game developers make their money.

In App Purchases

In app purchases are where you can buy items to make your game play better.  These can be anything from extra lives, extra levels or special tools for your character to use. Most mobile games only offer a certain amount of lives and when you exhaust them you have to wait before you can start playing again.  The game allows players to buy extra lives or even unlimited lives for a whole day for a small purchase.

Developers walk a fine line between offering enough free game play to get players involved and want them to keep playing enough so that they make a purchase.  Typically the cost for in app purchases are usually pretty low, under $10.  Getting this aspect of the game right is crucial to how mobile games make their money.


Game developers also understand that there will be millions of players that will never make an in app purchase so they still need to find a way to monetize their audience, that’s where advertising comes in.  These ads can range from small display ads at the bottom of the screen to pauses in the game to watch a full 30 second commercial.

Some games will tie advertising into their game as a sort of in app purchase, need extra lives to continue playing then watch this 30 second commercial and you can have them.  The incentive can be extra lives, extra moves, longer play or some other special bonus.  This is called interstitial advertising and it works because it catches players in the middle of a game where their attention is focused.

Other games, particularly the epic fantasy action/adventure games used to have an upfront cost and that was where developers generated a portion of their revenue from.  Most, if not all have moved away from that business model and use some combination of in app purchases or advertising to make money.  There are still some games that will remove the advertising if you subscribe to their “Premium” version of the game.  No matter how they monetize their games you can still count on nothing being “free” in the mobile gaming world.

What Goes Into Making a Really Great Game

What Goes Into Making a Really Great Game

We spend hours a day playing our favorite games without giving much of a thought as to what goes into developing a game.  Developing games is big business, with gaming companies spending millions trying to bring a game to the market.  Even those silly games like Candy Crush that we play on our phones spent a lot of time in development.  So besides a ton of money, what goes into making a really great game?  Let’s have a look at what makes a great game.

Start with a Story

Even those small games like Candy Crush have some type of backstory it is one of the features that make gamers care about the game.  Big MMORPG games have stories weaved into impressive graphics.  All of the first-person shooter games that are played on consoles have a story.  Stories give your gamers a purpose and a reason to keep playing.

Good Graphics

Graphics have come a long way, it is one of the best parts of gaming.  Characters are lifelike, colors are rich and vibrant and fight scenes and explosions are amazing.  Good graphics are also one of the things that drive the cost of gaming.

The Music

There have been some very big names in the music industry that have lent their work to video game soundtracks, Eminem’s music is on at least 5 different games.  Even your basic matching games have catchy tunes.  While music won’t make or break a good game it definitely enhances the experience.

Missions and Levels

It doesn’t matter if it is a simple game or something as complex as World of Warcraft, if you want to keep your players engaged then there needs to be some type of goal for them to reach.  Almost every game out there has different levels, usually getting progressively more difficult with different missions to complete along the way.

The Game Has to Flow

Whether you play a first-person shooter game or an MMORPG the game needs to flow smoothly from one task to the next.  Game developers include all kinds of twists and turns to keep the players engaged and entertained.  Regardless of the type of game, there are usually bonuses and hidden gems along the way.  Most also end the game with a final mission that is the most complex and difficult of all.

A good game doesn’t happen by accident it is a well-thought-out and structured collection of ideas.  The developers consider every aspect of the game from the storyline to the graphics.  Most players have no idea of the amount of work that goes into developing a game.