How do game developers make money baffles most beginners who have interest in gaming and wanna create one for their own. Most of us play free video games on our phones, laptops, PCs and other devices. We install these games from marketplaces like Google Play Store or App Store without paying a single dime. So, did you ever wonder how these game developers publish their games for free?

Back in the days when there were no mobile phones and games were available either on PCs or gaming consoles. Game makers made money selling game CDs and Cassettes. However, with the advent of technology and introduction of mobile gaming, developers found new means to generate revenue.

Currently, the revenue model of gaming companies are divided into two groups – 1) Paid by Ecosystem 2) Paid by Online Gamers

Paid by Ecosystem: This group includes in-app advertisements, in-game products or brand placements, and incentive based advertisement. Among these three, you must be familiar with In-app advertisements (IAA). In-app and incentive based advertisements are similar. While playing games on your phone, you may have watched several ads when progressing from one level to another, i.e. in-app advertisement. These range from ads for different games to insurance company ads. Game developers also earn money when they endorse products or brands in their games. This model is called In-game product or brand placement. For instance, if you are playing a car racing game like Asphalt 9, you will see racing cars of brands like Lamborghini, Mercedes Benz and other cars in the game. Here, the brands pay the game developers to endorse their products.

Paid by Online Gamers: This is a conventional route of generating revenue for game developers. However, currently, a significant portion of revenue comes from the ‘paid by ecosystem’ model. Here, online gamers pay game makers to get access to their online games.


There are four routes, which game makers use to generate revenue.
1. Purchase or pay per download – Gamers pay an upfront fee to purchase or download the game.
2. Premium upgrades – A version of a game is available for free, but gamers must spend to access the next version or extra features of the game.
3. In App Purchases (IAP) – The game is available for free but gamers spend to purchase virtual objects (skins, new cars, motor), currency or coins.
4. Subscription – Gamers purchase monthly or yearly subscriptions of a game of their interest.

The first video game was created by a physicist William Higinbotham in the year October 18, 1958. it was a tennis electronic game having two controllers

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