Things to Consider While Monetizing A Game

Mobile Game Monetisation

The success of a game depends on many factors that make mobile game monetisation, such as an amazing design, best graphics and interaction, compelling game-play, marketing prowess, and well-thought out monetisation options.

Making a profitable game is one of the motives of game development. A game developer can consider these options to monetize a game:

  1. Subscription: Pay a monthly subscription fee and start playing the game. You can play the game till the subscription is active. If you subscribe, you can choose from a list of games and play as much as you want.
  1. Paid App: Buy the game from websites or gaming portals such as Steam.
  1. Freemium or Free-to-Play (FTP): Download the game from Google Play Store or App Store for free and play the game. Later, you can optionally pay for in-app purchases that enhance your playing experience. You can buy coins, characters, currency, and so on. For example, you can even buy Usain Bolt (the fastest man in the world) to run for you in Temple Run 2.
  1. Advertisement: A game can include adverts in the form of commercial breaks and product placement. In this method, place an advert on the screen (often a full-screen advert) during the course of the game. Such an advert usually interrupts the game.

5 Things to Consider While Monetizing a Game

Figure out your monetisation strategy and integrate it into early game design documentation.

If you are a game developer, you need to start thinking about how to make money selling your game even before you decide the format, style, and structure of the game. This is in the pre-production or the prototyping phase. To achieve your goal, the monetisation strategy must interact well with the game design.

We spoke to Satish Chandra, an alumnus of Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming & Technology and the Founder of Teapot Game Studio. He says:

“If the game is scoped to have a detailed monetisation strategy that’s woven into the game design process, then it is absolutely essential to develop monetisation on par with the game design. On the other hand, if the game’s monetisation is delinked from game design, then monetisation takes a back seat. But mobile gaming is increasingly shifting towards the former.”

The monetisation strategy must be flexible and tailor-made for your game.

The player who downloads the game must come back for more. A well-thought-out monetisation strategy that understands the end-user and makes him happy will yield the benefits. You can understand and predict user behaviour by looking at your competitors’ games.

Satish says, “User surveys can really help here. At this point, you should also be absolutely clear about who your target audience are, and their spending habits.”

Study the successes and failures of free-to-play games.

There are many free-to-play games available in the app stores. If you study what went right and what went wrong with games similar to the one you want to build, you can avoid the mistakes in monetisation.

Satish says, “The key is to look at the competition in the genre of games you are against. Make a note of what they are doing right, and what they are doing wrong. Look for ways where you can give more value to the players, and come up with a list of areas where your product/game can stand out from the competition.

Have a good idea of what your monetisation levels are, regardless of the stage of game development you are in.

Each member of your team makes choices that affect the game’s monetisation strategy and having a clear idea ensures that your team gets the desired results.

Satish says, “A solid monetisation model is harder not just to code, but also to design. Resources will have to be spent not just in bug testing but also balancing the monetisation strategy.”

He adds, “The ease of adding monetisation into a game is directly dependent on how complex the monetisation is.”

Use segmentation to monetize different user behaviour.

A game developer can adopt different monetisation strategies in one game. You need to find the right balance between providing plenty of free content for all the people and allow your biggest fans to give you money for playing the part of the game they love a lot.

For example, when a user wants to make in-app purchases that enhance his gameplay, do not interrupt him with adverts. Instead, if a user is not willing to buy anything, it is best to show him adverts that are not interruptive and is built into the game design.

You need to plan ahead, understand your target audience well and then implement monetisation into your game design. This will bring revenue by reaching out to more people who want to play the games you make.

Satish was kind enough to share the gameplay trailer of “Enemy Waters”. Take a look and enjoy.

 

backstagepass

The First Game Developed by Backstage Pass Students at Level2

Level2 is the Backstage Pass incubator that provides mentoring, infrastructure, marketing, and publishing support exclusively to Backstage Pass students who want to make games and establish indie game companies.

There is a lot of activity with the students at Level2 working on their first game.

Let us find out all about the game here. Here are the teasers and an exclusive premier of the game, just for the curious souls like you…..

For the past three months, students at Level2 have been developing a mobile game. It is the first game developed by students at Level2, and it is taking shape under the watchful eyes of their mentor, Asar Dhandala. Asar is a Backstage Pass alumnus, entrepreneur, and has developed many games.

We caught up with Asar to bring you a sneak peek from Level2’s game studio.

The Progress So Far

The game is in the beta stage where we have completed making the game and testing it. After testing and the bug fix stage, we are planning to go for a soft launch.

A Soft Launch

A soft launch is a selective release used to gather early feedback from players. It helps us improve the game.

Team Size and Duration

We have a mix of students. The team consists of five members. They are:

2D Art

Monideep Chakraborty

3D Art

Vamsi Krishna

Programming

Sai Rohit Thota

Vivekanand Prajeev

Venkat Ram Reddy

It took nearly three and a half months to make the game.

The Game Design

While conceptualising the game design, we researched thoroughly to ensure that the concept is new. We wanted it to be simple and easy to make. Early, we felt that it should also be immersive and fun to play. It took us a couple of weeks to finalise the concept, and we started after all the team members understood and agreed upon the concept. Then we began the game design.

Name of the Game

We are yet to name the game. We will let you know soon.

What did They Learn by Being a Part of This Project

This is a first game developed by most of the students at Level2. The project taught them game development from start to finish.

We started from conceptualisation of the game, sketching it on paper, making the 2D and 3D art, adding graphics, programming and blending all to make a full-fledged enjoyable game.

The learning curve was steep for the students. In college, they learn game development, game art, and game design. This project helped them to connect the dots and complete the picture — how to make a full-fledged game and know the monetisation. (Monetising the game means that you add elements that a player can purchase as he progresses through the different levels in the game.)

How did You Mentor the Students

It was a more hands-on experience for the team. It took more time than I thought it would take for getting the students into the groove. But, the end product turned out to be the best in class.

For the team members, this has clearly been a transformational experience from being a student to a game developer.

Backstage Pass is a great place. The support we got from the college helped the students immensely in their journey.

Watch out this space for more updates about the game — the visuals, the trailer, and more…

Backstage Pass Institute

The Making of a Game | Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology

Work like it is a game. This is what die-hard gamers always wanted to do. The journey of two young game developers, Anand Dhavle and Anmol Nikam is no different.

Both Anmol and Anand were students of Backstage Pass. They work in game development companies and make games that they like to play.

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Our conversation began with the usual round of introduction. They spoke about the games they make, with each one filling in where the other left. The camaraderie they shared was ubiquitous. On the whole, it was inspiring to peep into their world and understand game development from their perspective.

 

Team Name: Digital Cartridge

No of team members: Two

Education: Anand studied B.Tech (Gaming) and Anmol studied B.F.A (Game Design). Alumni of Backstage Pass,

Important events: Participated in a game jam competition held at NGDC 2015 (Nasscom Game Development Corporation). They made a prototype of their game.

Games developed: Reverie, Rock It, and Blind Boy Project

Play Reverie by clicking here

They love to play games.

 

The Beginning

“It all started when we made a prototype of a game when participating in a game jam held at NGDC (Nasscom Game Development Conference) 2015 at Pune. We got a lot of positive feedback. And we decided to flesh it out further.”.

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What Was The Game About

“The game was called “Reverie” which means getting lost in thoughts, something similar to daydreaming. It is a gesture-based 2D platformer for the Android platform. You get to draw shapes to create objects, defeat enemies, and solve puzzles to help the little girl to get out of the world she is trapped in”.

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The Making

“It was a great learning experience. We underestimated the effort we need to put in to make a full-fledged game. Initially, we got our friends to play the game and tell us how they felt. Then, we improved the art-style, animation, added new graphics, changed the controls a number of times to get it right. We created unique mechanics which made our game fun to play. Lastly, we released it on platforms like Itch.io. Within five days, our game crossed 2000 downloads. We released the code into the public domain so that anyone can edit and enjoy the game. Here’s the link to the full source code”.

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What Was Your Motivation For Making This Game

“We wanted to present our ideas and make a game that we wanted to play. And we hoped that others will enjoy playing as well”.

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How Did You Choose To Work With Each Other

Anand said, “ Choosing the team member is very important. I would look for team players who can complement”. Anmol added, “Each team member should contribute and fill gaps in the process. Their ideas should be in sync though. We should play the same type of games and be aware of the type of game play that our target audience enjoy.”

 

What Did You Learn While Making The Game

They both echoed that a lot of patience, hard work and perseverance is required to complete a game like any other creative pursuit.

 

What Is Your Motivation to Play Games

“I enjoy playing games as we can break free from the routine and it relieves stress. I also like to play games as it is interactive and we can see our actions changing the outcome,” says Anand. “Playing games promotes skill building for sure. Also, it disconnects us from reality”, adds Anmol.

 

What is Your Advice For a Person Who Wants to Try Their Hand at Gaming

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“If you are sceptical about starting just like we were, start small and participate in a lot of small projects and game jam competitions. Being hands on will build your confidence and you will learn a lot in the process.”

“Learn to program, use a game engine, play a lot of games, start small, find a partner who can support you, enter competitions like game jam, and do projects.”, they said.

 

Here Are Some Valuable Thoughts to Ponder Over

“Try to make something different and be proficient in different art-styles, animations, graphics, controls. More than anything else, enjoy the entire process”.

The Backstage Pass Incubator for Game Development

Level2 – The Backstage Pass Incubator for Game Development

Level2, the Backstage Pass incubator, is a creative space with the all the facilities to support developing games through launching entrepreneurial ventures of our students.

An incubator acts like a seedbed. It provides mentoring, infrastructure, marketing and publishing support.Level2 is briskly putting together all these and more.

The Mentors

Experienced mentors from the industry guide our young entrepreneurs. Our mentors come from different fields of game making such as game art, game design, game publishing, and so on. Also, the mentors are either entrepreneurs themselves or are senior professionals from the various leading game development companies. Consequently, the mentoring quality is of the highest order.

The Process

Backstage Pass provides the infrastructure including the software, systems, and offices.The development of each game will take about 3 to 6 months from inception to launch.

The first phase of the incubation involves the market fit of the game. Once themarket fit is found, we move on to game design. Game design is followed up by game development, testing, a soft launch, a marketing phase and then, finally, launching the game.

The incubator is currently open only to the students and alumni of Backstage Pass.

The Selection Process

The selection process is simple:

  • Teams with 3-4 student members are selected.
  • These teams will develop the games.
  • Backstage Pass owns the games and the IP.
  • Teams that create winning games will be sent to international competitions such as the Microsoft Imagine Cup, Casual Connect, and so on.

Benefits

Students will have extensive connections with industry experts, develop games, learn to work as a team, and handlethe ups and downs of developing and taking a game to the market. In this process, they also learn from the experiences of mentors as well as fellow team members.

Marketing a game is both an art and science. While a small part of it could be learned, mostof it experiential. Student teams gain expertise in this area as well.

They know how to deal with failures, either collective or individual.

 

Looking Forward

Backstage Pass is eagerly looking forward to becoming the “go to”space for student game startups.

US polls bring rich dividends to city game developers

US polls bring rich dividends to city game developers

The ‘Avion Flight Simulator’ downloaded more than 7.5 million times

When people across the globe were backing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump late last year, two game developers from the city bet their luck on the U.S. presidential elections.

Finally when the elections were declared, Asar Dhandala and Satish Chandra were richer by a few lakhs. The duo behind the mobile game, ‘Avion Flight Simulator’ introduced an update during the elections which doubled their revenues.

“We wanted to take advantage of the elections and introduced Air Force One flight, the official carrier of the U.S. President to the existing fleet,” said Mr. Dhandala.

“Users had to purchase the flight for $ 3 if they wanted to fly it using simulator. A lot of people paid for the additional feature and our revenues doubled during the U.S. elections,” he added.

The game has been downloaded more than 7.5 million times on Android, IOS and Windows operating systems since its launch in mid-2015. The game also helped the team generate revenues of around Rs. 50 lakh.

The game is a big hit in other countries than in India.

According to the developers, the game has the maximum downloads from USA, Russia, Brazil and Germany followed by India in the fifth position.

It was a chance meeting of the two gamers from Backstage Pass Institute of Gaming and Technology which gave birth to the idea of working on a simulator game.

“Though our target was three months, we developed the game within two months. We almost worked for 18 hours a day.

We analysed the top games and went through the reviews. We wanted to develop a product which was the best among the flight simulator games.

We are glad that our game is in the second position in this category of mobile games,” said Mr. Dhandala.

In 2017, the youngsters want to come up with a better version of the game which includes refined engines and improved graphics.

Debdatta

Success Needs the Freedom to Fail

A sharp mind, quick questions, high doses of common sense, loads of candour, a maturity level that stumps any adult and of course a dash of humour. Mix all these ingredients into a potpourri, and you get none other than Debdatta Basu. A game developer since his school days and a graduate from IIT, Roorkee, Deb can converse non-stop and be simultaneously thinking a couple of steps ahead of his conversation.

Were you thinking of game development when you started college at IIT?

“I developed games at school. It was a lot more fun to develop games than applications from the school’s textbook. The subject was interesting enough that I didn’t mind spending long hours learning concepts that would be considered dry or boring otherwise. My education at IIT served to expand my knowledge and formally cement a lot of things I had learnt. I am a great software engineer today because of the curiosity and interest I developed while making games in school.”

What defines a software engineer?

“A software engineer is someone who engineers and builds software. He is identified by what he builds and not necessarily by a job or a designation, or the tools he uses. A great software engineer should be strong enough in his fundamentals to adapt to the rapid change that is a reality of the industry.”

What was your first job?

My first job was at a semiconductor company. I participated in the design and implementation of drivers for graphics hardware.

How did you happen to choose game development as a career?

“I do games because they are fun to build. Game development has many more moving parts than a business application, which makes it more mentally stimulating to work on. Games are a pure technology play. The recurring costs are low to non-existent. That makes for an interesting business model as well. Overall I love games and so far, they have loved me back.”

There seems to be an acute shortage of game developers and other types of talent for the booming gaming industry. What kind of talent should we bring into game development?

“We should target kids who are avid gamers. It requires some stubbornness to pursue a career in games, and kids who are avid gamers already have it in them. Such kids take to gaming naturally.

Young engineers working in the industry are the second set of people who are the ideal resource pool. Many of them want to get into software engineering roles and game development presents a tremendous opportunity to do so. Backstage Pass has the right courses for them to get trained and placed in software engineering roles.”

 

What do you think of game development as a business?

“For a game development business to be sustainable, it has to deliver hits consistently. Many people think the game industry is too risky. But anything is too risky if you don’t understand the landscape. If you don’t know how to lay a brick, then constructing a house is risky.

Success in the game industry is a matter of figuring out what the market wants and meeting the market’s needs with a well-designed product that can sell itself. In game development, it is not about the production house or the star cast as is the case with movies. Gamers love or hate a game purely because of the experience that it provides. So, it is a more level playing ground out there.”

How does one learn game development?

“Today anyone can learn what he or she wants to learn. I learnt to code by building games, and this can be a fun way to get engaged talent into the software industry as a whole. There are plenty of resources available on the Internet for those who are eager to learn. Khan Academy has very good content. Consider Udemy and Coursera as well. Google is good for research.

Software engineering is a constant learning process. Once you know the fundamentals, follow sites like Stack Overflow, The Hacker News and so on. The software engineering community is quite friendly, and when you approach people with a specific and legitimate problem they rally around to help you.”

As a country, what should we do to promote making games in India?

“We should understand that game development, at its heart, is a creative industry. And creative industry can thrive only when one has the luxury to fail. To achieve success in one game, we will have to fail many times. Those who quit and return to other professions should be accepted as normal people. Let our kids and youngsters fail when they follow their dreams. They have very high chances of succeeding in life if we let them fail without fear or shame.”

That sums up Deb’s approach to life. Good luck Deb and all of you who look forward to taking part in the booming gaming industry.

Hyderabad Is the Right Choice

Hyderabad has a population of nearly one crore and of this a considerable portion are migrants from other parts of India. Students account for nearly 32 percent of the floating population in the city according to a survey done in 2012 for Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) as part of the Comprehensive Transportation Study (CTS).

Hyderabad has a large student population because it is home to many universities and institutes of repute. The city has two central universities; three deemed universities, and six state universities. Osmania University is one of the oldest universities in India. Other reputed educational institutes are  University of Hyderabad, EFLU, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University,  International Institute of Information Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research  etc.  Institute of Public Enterprise and the National Academy of Legal Studies & Research (NALSAR) are situated here. This attracts students from all over India and even foreign countries. Apart from this, Hyderabad is well connected to places all over India by air, rail and road. So students coming here to study are not constrained by lack of connectivity.

Unique Features

The diversity in population in Hyderabad enhances the cosmopolitan nature of the city and presents a potpourri of cultures for the students to savour. The city hosts educational, cultural and professional events on a regular basis which helps students enrich their learning experience.

The numbers of restaurants, cafes, multiplexes and malls in the city provide good venues for entertainment, socialising and catching up with friends. The city is safe for students. Initiatives like the SHE teams introduced by Hyderabad police to protect women have made female students feel safer here. Most of the universities here provide good hostel facilities and there are other options like youth hostels, paying guest accommodation etc.  The city also has a relatively peaceful political and social environment and good public and healthcare services.

In a survey recently conducted by global consulting firm Mercer, the city has been ranked as the best Indian city to live in. The city is ranked at 139 in the list of 230 cities from across the world. The city in comparison to other Indian cities scores in terms of ‘lower crime rate’, ‘lesser air pollution’ and ‘improved options for international and reputable English speaking schools’ according to Mercer. Other Indian cities featured in the list are Pune (144), Bangalore (145), Chennai (150), Mumbai (152), Kolkata (160), and New Delhi (161).

For parents sending their children to study here, the advantages are the city is well connected and there are a number of national and international banks to transfer money. The cosmopolitan nature of the city assures that their children will not feel out of place here as they are bound to be students from their state or region here.  Cultural associations of different states are popular venues for students in the city to meet people from their state.

Employment

After finishing their education, young people can find c in the city because Hyderabad is home to many IT companies, multinational firms, manufacturing firms, pharmaceutical firms etc. The city is home to international IT companies like IBM, Microsoft, Accenture and Dell. Apple and Uber are planning to set up their development centres here.

So if you are choosing to do a course in game design at Backstage Pass, rest assured Hyderabad will be a good place to study. As for employment opportunities after your course, Backstage Pass provides placement options and there are opportunities for working in reputed companies like Purple Talk, Gameshastra etc., which are operating in Hyderabad.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and get set for your dream career in the ‘City of Pearls.’