Game Development Reference
History of Game
3.1 What Do We Mean by Monetization?
Throughout this topic, we'll be talking about ways to monetize users. What do we
mean? We're talking about the ways you can get users to pay you. It's that simple.
The ways you can go about trying to accomplish this goal are numerous,
and the strategies that you can use can become quite involved. But at its heart,
we're looking at games as a business that is designed to provide entertainment
to customers in exchange for revenue. Throughout this chapter, we'll look at
the ways games have traditionally been monetized and how the industry has
evolved to its current point.
Along the way, keep an eye out for the major types of monetization:
l Retail purchases
l In-game microtransactions
l Digital downloads
l Subscription models
3.2 A Brief History of Game Monetization
Originally, games were free. They were simple programs like Spacewar! (though
writing them was anything but simple at that time) that were passed around
mainframe labs and later around college computer science departments. Within
a few years, these games were being sold on floppy disks packaged in sandwich
baggies at small specialty software stores, then on cartridges in retail outlets.
Most of these games were first at specialty computer stores that sold hardware
and software, and then, a few years later, in more mainstream retail outlets
like Sears and Babbage's. The transaction was straightforward; you paid your