First Mobile Indie Game – Monetization Model. Ad based or in app purchases?

| | August 4, 2015

We are a team of 3 (1 graphics designer, 2 developers). We’re almost done with our first Android based indie game. Which monetization model will be suitable for us? We don’t want to disturb users with a lot of ads (at this point we’re thinking to put only banner ads) also, if we go with in app purchases, can we also keep ads as well? or is it a better practice to follow one model at a time? How much will it affect the user experience?

3 Responses to “First Mobile Indie Game – Monetization Model. Ad based or in app purchases?”

  1. Anitej Banerjee on November 30, -0001 @ 12:00 AM

    Being a gamer myself,I would prefer IAP, but it wouldnt be as profitable as Ads
    As everyone here said, it’s up to you, but if you choose Ads, make sure they are subtle and don’t spoil your games
    example: You dont want an Ad where a user might touch it by mistake and ruin their gameplay :)

  2. Being a gamer , what annoys most is too much ads . Avoid placing ads as much as you can if you want a successful game. Focus more , more and more on game-play . If game-play is awesome , anything is tolerated. People dont mind in-game purchases but keep in mind that these purchases should not in any case affect the actual game play , they should be more like customizations etc . Hope it works out for you guy :) Best of luck

  3. Like other comments have said, its entirely a personnel decision. That being said, I would like to point out a few things:

    If you decide to have ads, be careful with your buisness model you represent to the player. If you’re charging to get the game (not releasing a free version) people may be a bit turned off that you’re still showing them ads. That being said, ads on a free version of the game are golden. Several games out there have a free version that has ads that offers a paid version that doesn’t.

    As someone who gets almost exclusively free mobile games and frequently reads web comics, I honestly don’t mind looking at ads for sites and games I enjoy if I know that this is how the developers make their money.

    With microtransactions (in game purchases) its also important to understand if this works with your game model. Are there things you CAN sell to the player? Extra Lives, Experience/stat boosts, extra items, vanity items etc. If your game doesn’t have anything like that then you might not have anything to really sell with microtransactions. You can also have these same items out there for an in game currency. (Check out how Guild Wars 2 does gems or Jetpack Joyride does its shop if you need examples) A common practice is to offer it for a somewhat ridiculously large number of in game credits or for a small real world amount (like $1 or $2).

    It is possible to have both ads AND microtransactions HOWEVER I highly advise being very careful when doing this. You don’t want to make the player feel like the entire game is a grab at their money, this will turn anybody off. It is very doable but just be mindful of what the player may think when they see these things. If you’re not sure of what the player will think, download a few games for yourself and try to find good and bad examples (I have a feeling you already have a few of these on your mobile device) If you do decide this though, I highly suggest making a version that is ad free that is a paid version.

    Ultimately it comes down to what game are you making and what kind of business decisions you want to make. This is entirely up to you. Coming on here and asking “What are some pros and cons?” is fine, but truth be told there is no golden ultimate answer here. (unless your game is named “golden ultimate answer”)


    EDIT: I just thought of something else.

    Any team that makes the ads as a part of the game gets major props in my mind. I’m not talking about “Do so many surveys and you can get a free _!!!” I mean a pop up ad occurs and when you close it the character (if the game is an RPG) says something, like “Bloody ads, mess up my aim” or “Hey, that might be cool.” if the player clicked on it. It may be too late for your team to do this since you said you’re almost done (congratulations by the way), but it would be fun to see anyways. PLUS this gives added immersion since you would be making the character experience the same thing as the player. (Think something like in the Never Ending Story)

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