What’s Your Game Business Model?

Game business model for most indies is pretty simple (and simple is good in my books): make game that sells. That’s pretty straightforward idea regarding where the money comes.

In the past I wrote an article about being game developer versus game engine developer. (See also part 2).

While there’s nothing fundamentally wrong spending time coding the engine, I think it’s good to think a bit about the business model. Or in practical terms: it’s good to ask “where the money comes from?”

Making & selling games is good, but developers shouldn’t ignore the potential that might come with selling the engine (or parts of the code). Jake Birkett – who has is spending time programming & selling games – realized that he had done a nice BlitzMax Framework for easy game creation (he uses it by himself) and decided to start selling the framework to developers. There was a recent thread at the Blitzcoder forums where Jake mentioned he had crossed 100 sales ($60ish each) within about a year. $6,000 perhaps is not loads of money, but a great addition in my opinion. After all – if somebody has made a good framework (something that others can use) – then why not get some money from the engine sales as well.

Naturally it’s not a path that everybody should automatically take. Selling to developers means that you need to promote your software and handle customer support like when selling to players. That can be time consuming, so one needs to really think where the money comes from.

So, what’s your business model?
That’s what I want you to ask (if you haven’t asked this yet):

  • Are you going to rely only on game sales?
  • Or are you perhaps going to sell framework/engine/code to developers?
  • Or have you considered a mix of these two?

These aren’t the only alternatives, but definitely worth pondering. Who is your audience? Only gamers – or perhaps also fellow developers?

Juuso Hietalahti