With the number of success stories in the gaming industry, it’s easy to see why learning how to make a profitable mobile game is appealing. Just look at your fan favourites: Angry Birds, Candy Crush and Clash of Clans!
It has led to a new generation of avid developers wanting to take advantage of this lucrative market and make mobile games. With over 7 million apps across Android and IOS platforms and over 6 billion users, the market is enormous!
However, with a market so saturated, it doesn’t always mean every mobile game is profitable, with only a fraction bringing in a substantive amount of revenue. Therefore, we are here to help you know how to make a profitable mobile game and the key factors surrounding its success.
We are not saying it will be easy, but whether you’re a game development company or an individual developer getting started, if you follow our key steps to make a profitable mobile game, you will be on your way to success.
How do mobile games make money?
Before looking at how to make a profitable mobile game, let’s look at how they make money. Gaming apps specifically dominate both the apple app and play store. This is because investing in making a mobile game app extremely lucrative if you can get it right.
A monetisation strategy is imperative when learning how to make a profitable mobile game. So carry on reading to learn the secrets of the industry.
There are a few ways the actual mobile game makes money, so let’s break it down.
For a paid app, it can have an upfront cost on the app or play store to access the app or a subscription. However, an upfront cost only allows the customer to access the app in a one-off payment.
In contrast, a subscription is a continuous payment every month in instalments.
Some people prefer subscriptions as it splits costs; others prefer the one-time payment for complete ownership and access.
Then there is a free app. Now, don’t be put off by the word free because, in fact, your mobile game has wider exposure this way. Free apps remove the barrier for entry to many users, meaning you can get them on the game before upselling.
Just because the user has the initial access doesn’t mean you can’t make money off them in other ways.
Adverts and in-app purchases are how to make free mobile games profitable. Adverts can appear through your mobile game as a passive way to make money. Similarly, in-app purchases can be anything to do with appearance, special items or boosts that regular users will purchase.
How to make a profitable mobile game?
So now we know how mobile games make money, the different types of games and the different ways you can monetise your mobile game; let’s learn how to do it.
Most mobile games fail to be successful because they don’t have the experience on board to ensure successful, timely delivery. So get in touch if you’d like to learn how we can help hit your goals and launch a profitable VR or mobile game.
Come up with something unique
Now, we are not suggesting that you reinvent the wheel here. However, having a unique selling point can help when knowing how to create profitable mobile games.
Keep the basic concept simple, and then add a unique twist. Unfortunately, there is not really a method or process in being able to do it. Time and brainstorming will be your best friend when coming up with a unique profitable mobile game idea.
Some of the best games out there, like Angry Birds and Candy Crush, aren’t crazy, never seen before ideas. Look at angry birds; what makes it so popular is the characters used. They have become a familiar icon that helped the app become one of the most profitable mobile mini-games of all time.
So, before anything, find your USP. We can help with that if you are struggling as it is our speciality! The next step should be able to help you get those creative juices flowing.
If you have come up with a few good ideas but are not quite sure how well they will go down. The market research will help you clarify whether your mobile game will be profitable or flop like most of the apps and the play store.
Having a niche will help you to stand out among the other million competing apps. You want to know who your target market is, who your competitors are, how you will make money and what your business model is.
These are all things you can get answers to during market research that will help you know how to make a profitable mobile game. It is easy to make a mobile game app with the right support but to make a profitable one takes careful planning.
Market research will help you to highlight what makes your mobile app better than your competitors. But, at the end of the day, you want to make a mobile game that people want to use, and market research almost gives you the answers you need.
Tell a story
We have all been addicted to a TV show or film because we are hooked on the storyline. You become invested in the characters and the roles they play to tell a story. The same goes for looking at how to make a profitable mobile game.
Some of the most profitable mobile games do so well because they have a storyline. It gives the game purpose and structure and engages the audience more. You almost want to make it addictive so your users keep returning to your mobile game.
Just like a film or TV show, you want a hero, a villain with plenty of strengths and weaknesses. You want twists, turns and cliffhangers; try not to be predictable.
This is the blueprint of how to make a profitable mobile game, as it is the main reason why users will want to keep playing and buying from you if it is relatable and addictive.
User experience & user interface
This leads nicely to the user’s experience. You have a good storyline and unforgettable characters, but you don’t have a good user experience. As a result, all your hard creative work will go to waste.
To make your mobile game have any chance of being profitable, it needs to be easy to use and playable. If your app crashes and takes ages to load up, you will lose half of your intended audience. Of course, you could have the best game, but users don’t wait around for buggy apps to load in this competitive industry.
Similarly, as the creator, you obviously want to make your mobile game as profitable as possible. However, if you are pushing annoying ads that appear spammy, it can mess up the user experience.
There is no point in learning how to make a profitable mobile game if the design elements are too complex and the details interfere with the UI.
Your main goal when making a profitable mobile game is to create an effortless experience and a challenging game with no interruptions.
Don’t worry too much if you find this tricky, get in touch and we can help you out!
The design element of your game is what is going to draw people to your app. For example, suppose you are going to be using a mobile game app for several hours at a time. In that case, the storyline won’t be able to keep you playing if the graphics and design are rubbish.
Some of the most profitable mobile games ever have fantastic graphics. Think colours, illustrations and eye-catching animations to keep your audience engaged. Of course, it helps to entice your users to buy the mobile game in the first place.
If you are marketing your app for free, then to make it profitable, you can offer add-ons. For example, Fifa has made fortunes from players buying ultimate team packs, providing additional revenue for the company and incentivising users to collect the best team.
Think about your target audience and what might attract them. For example, suppose your audience is teenagers. In that case, they might want to impress each other at school with the coolest new outfit for their character on the mobile game. Therefore, creating a really cool, memorable design will only help you when looking at how to make a profitable mobile game.
Pick an appropriate monetisation strategy
Now, this is where the money comes in, what we are all here for. You can have the most amazing app in the world. Still, if you don’t have a good monetisation strategy, it won’t be profitable.
Alongside having the best development team, you need to understand how to make a profitable mobile game through monetisation. The first step would be to determine if you want the app to be paid for or for it to be free. Below we will break down the benefits of both options.
Upfront Payments: Most paid mobile games use upfront payments. Some users like this method because the app is there after the one-off payment. However, some are put off by the upfront cost and might have second thoughts.
Subscription: A subscription model method has become more prevalent in recent years as a constant revenue stream. This is more appealing to customers as they can split the cost over a more extended period. To encourage users to subscribe, mobile apps offer free trials to start with.
Advertisements: App advertising is the most noticeable money maker on mobile game apps is adverts. Adverts can be used in several different ways, such as:
- Native- Integrated into your app by using layouts that match your design
- Banner- Usually at the top or bottom of the screen, banners can stay throughout the time the user uses the app.
- Interstitial – these ads take up the whole screen and can pop up in between levels or breaks in the game.
There has been innovation in this space recently, with companies like AudioMob providing none intrusive in-game audio ads.
In-app purchases: Arguably, one of the most profitable ways to make a mobile game (or anything really!) is getting your marketing right. Buying ad-ons, such as outfits, boosts, or special items which can help the user progress in the game is an easy way to make money. For example, Fortnite made $44.3bn in April 2020 by just having in-app purchases- pretty crazy, right?
There are plenty of ways to make your mobile game profitable; the hard job is coming up with the best monetisation strategy for you.
Choose appropriate developers
We don’t expect you to be an expert in everything, so that’s where we are here to help! As experts in the field, we’re an outsourced game development company specialising in virtual reality and mobile games. We even work across Unity and Unreal Engine 4/5 – meaning you don’t have to look any further than Redux.
You must get the best developers to make the most successful mobile game and manage your mobile game development cost.
Much more goes into developing a game than just the people, you need the expertise.
We can help convey your ideas perfectly, which is key to making a profitable mobile game come alive.
The best way to pick the right developers is to jump on a call with them or meet in person. If you really want to know what it would be like to work alongside them, then trial if needed!
A common mistake people make when learning how to make a profitable mobile game is trying to develop the game as cheap as possible. Unfortunately, this not only wastes all your hard effort in creating the game but limits your chances of it making any revenue in the future. Quality comes at a cost, but it’s worth the investment when done right.
Use the right mobile app platforms
When learning how to make a profitable mobile game, picking the best mobile app platform for your game can be tricky. First, you want to ensure that you are reaching your intended audience.
We think you should try and make your app cross-platform as it allows you to open up your audience. The main two are Android and IOS (iPhone). Sticking to one platform can reduce your reach, but it can also create intense desire.
Look at Clubhouse. While it’s a flop now, Android users were begging for it to become cross-platform when it was only available on iPhone.
Suppose you do decide to move to cross-platform. In that case, It is essential to have a seamless continuity between the two as you don’t want the user experience to alter due to software issues. It needs to be the same experience to make a profitable game no matter what phone or console you have.
Utilise social media
Now that you have your game storyline, chosen your monetisation strategy and got some amazing developers, you need to market it correctly.
Using social media to promote your mobile game is a great marketing strategy to help create a profitable mobile game. Building up an audience before the game launches helps to ensure a surge of downloads when it launches.
After it is launched, you want to promote features, updates, special offers and access’ to help retain your audience. One way to do this is by offering a free boost if you send a link to your friend to download. Offering something to the user in return for a download will only help you build trust and respect with your audience.
How to make a profitable mobile game comes with creating an engaging and fun game that retains an audience. Social media will help to elevate your game.
Get in touch, and we can help advise you on a good marketing strategy that we have seen work for our customers.
Final thoughts on how to make a profitable mobile game
Do not be put off by the challenge of the current app market. Making a profitable mobile game isn’t easy, but that’s where we are here to help! With 5.03 billion internet users in the world today, there’s plenty of room for extra competition.
There is a target market out there ready for a new mobile game to launch and a gap for you to make some serious money; if you do it right.
Go in with a strategy, a USP, our excellent developers and the will to invest money to ensure yourself the best chance of making the most successful mobile game.
Follow the above steps and put yourself in the best possible position when looking at how to make a profitable mobile game.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us; we are here to help you!
How to make a profitable mobile game FAQs
Is making mobile games profitable?
The simple answer is yes. Mobile games are very profitable if you get them right and know how to market to your target audience. It is not easy, but it has made companies millions a month. Some of the top grossing mobile games make over $100 million every month.
How much money can a mobile game make?
Gaming apps are notoriously more profitable than any other category of apps. Of course, this does not mean every gaming app makes money, but it can do if you are successful. In 2022, according to sensor tower’s report, Honor Kings and PUBG are the highest earners over $ 1 billion.
How much does it cost to create a mobile game?
On average, a mobile game can cost between $20,000- $50,000. Saying that some have cost less and others have cost a lot more depends on your budget. As we have mentioned before, the more you invest in the creation, the more likely it is to make a profitable mobile game.
What is the most profitable mobile game?
Some top-earning mobile games are PUBG mobile, Honour of Kings and Pokemon. All of them make over $1bn per year.
How much does an app with 1 million downloads make?
So, on average, $50,000 per day. Of course, this will be different for every app, depending on its monetisation strategy and how many people use the app. But if you wanted to put a number on it, $50,000 is the average.
How can I earn from play store?
You can earn money from the play store by uploading your app and having an upfront cost attached to it through AdMob. This can be a one-off cost, subscription for premium features or sponsored ads.