Game Development Reference
8.1 Show Us the Money
We've touched on some of the different ways games have found to make
money from their users, but in this chapter we'll take a much closer look at the
different monetization options available for games, both “social” and otherwise.
Naturally, different types of games lend themselves to different types of players
and play profiles; thus, we'll need to talk about which monetization strategies
are best suited to particular types of games. We'll review the most common vir-
tual items sold in today's dominant Facebook games and peek into the design
mechanics that make this model so successful. Finally, we'll look at an interest-
ing case study of a game that combines a hybrid of old and new monetization
models in order to appeal to a varied audience.
8.2 Classic Premium Download Model
You've built a great game, you've tested it carefully, and you're ready to sell it.
Under this model, the user learns all about your game through clever pre-
release marketing and PR, or they hear about it from their friends, then go to
a hosted site to download it. Possibly, you've linked this site to your game's
Facebook page, where you advertise special deals on certain days, encourage
players to invite their friends, and generally drive customer awareness by tak-
ing advantage of modern social media marketing. Perhaps you've partnered
with an online retailer who has a virtual storefront, or maybe you're directly
managing the download process. Either way, what we're describing is a classic
premium download model. This approach is uncommon on Facebook (though
there's no law that says it has to be that way). But Facebook aside, let's look at
some of the places where this model thrives.