Different Game Monetization Strategies for Developers

Video games have been around for a long time, and they’ve got a defined structure of revenue streams. Earlier, they were limited to offline retail sales. Now the openness of the internet and accessibility demanded an equal progression to benefit the developers and publishers financially. The application and methodology may vary for each game depending on the genre and its audience. It’s up to the video game development companies and video game outsourcing companies like RubixQ to develop and implement financially viable and seamless integration of these techniques.

Video Game Monetization is essential to build and maintain a viable environment for video game developers, as the cost of developing digital games is ever-growing! With the advent of technology, the cost of production is also significantly reduced, not in terms of the production value but the actual manufacturing process. In 2020 mobile game monetization statistics, the sales of digital games surpassed that of physical game versions. Considering all these facts and numbers, let’s explore different video game monetization techniques that are available for video game developers and publishers.

Retail Model

It is the traditional method of purchasing games at physical stores or online e-commerce sites. Though there are several options available to monetize video games, most of them usually get their money from traditional sales. It’s been the standard in the past and continues to be in some regions and some segments. The upfront sales make up the significant chunk of their revenue, as the digital versions are prone to cloning and illegal torrent downloads. It can attract more customers with collectable packages and in-game items. The retail model will also include a second-hand market where already used games will be sold.

Digital Model

The purchase through the digital model is similar to the retail model but on a different platform. Gamers can download digital games online directly on their devices instead of getting a physical version. It has become a new norm in recent days, as many big brands like Google, Amazon, Xbox, etc, have created their own platforms to facilitate their digital games.

Subscription Model

It is currently the trending game monetization strategy for developers that requires regular payments for the game and services related to it. It gives its gamers access to the game on a monthly basis or in multiples of it. When users run out of their subscription, their access will be cancelled and will only be enabled when he/she renews it. Most games that need an internet connection and raise capital to continue operating can go for this model.

Display Advertising

It is a business model applied mostly for free-to-play games. They are widely known as banners and can work in many forms and shapes. They cover the game page in rectangular or skyscraper ways to display various ads to gain the attention of the gamers and make them take certain kinds of action. The revenue generates from the brands in those ads with each click or impression from the gamers. This became a common video game monetization technique these days across various small scale games to sustain and generate income.

Video Pre-roll

This is similar to Display Advertising in form and function but differs in the format. This technique is mainly used in free-to-play games where a complete ad or video related to a brand will be played while the game loads. This way, the gamers can get to know about a brand instead of looking at a game taking time to load.

In-game purchase

This takes both display advertising and video pre-rolls to the next level. Instead of just images and videos, this model gives virtual products to purchase in the game. The products can be related to the game, like coins, diamonds, health meters, etc, to get clues, skip levels, get lives and health, etc. This becomes a bit tricky in the execution as it can cause a make or break situation for developers. There is always a risk to annoy the video gamer with high pricing.


If the game is really popular among the gaming communities, it’s wise to take advantage of that popularity by selling merchandise like T-Shirts, coffee mugs, masks, etc. The developers can simply add a web store or physical store to sell all these to the fans. This might not become the primary source of revenue but a significant source of income. When done with a strategy, this can be an effective mobile game monetization model to generate income.

Not just these, we have several other regular and mobile game monetization strategies too. But what’s important is to find a suitable model for your game and incorporate more than one in your game if needed and viable. These hybrid models can support and reward the developers and publishers. It’s also important to not make gamers feel exploited at the same time. It’s at this part, experts like RubixQ comes into the play to help you find the right game monetization strategy for developers.