Game Development Reference
ARPU [average revenue per user] tend to be mainly in North America, Europe, and parts of Asia, South Korea
in particular,” Pidgeon says. But this doesn't mean teens aren't paying to play too: “[N]ote that many young
players are spending, albeit with their parents' cash and so are not counted as payers.”
“ARPUs are lower, with lower-spending whales, in emerging regions, but volume makes a big difference
in South and Central America, developing Asian regions, Eastern Europe, India, Africa, and the Middle East.
Advertising blends are likely to contribute heavily.” Pidgeon adds that mobile games are rapidly outpacing web
games in the developing world, something to remember if you're pursuing a market in those regions.
Where the Money's Made in Web Games
The following sections break down the core ways web game developers typically make their money—through
advertising, third-party service providers, prepaid cards, mobile usage, and credit cards/PayPal.
As with most web content in general, most web games are largely monetized with advertising, from general
networks like Google's AdSense to Mochi Media, which has advertising solutions specifically made for web
games. As you'll read in the next chapter, there are ways to optimize your website to boost your ad revenue, but
there are also methods to hone the ad stream itself. Matthew Annal, Managing Director of web game developer
Nitrome Limited, which makes most of its money through web ads, offers some advice here.
Vary Your Ad Network by Country
Ads that appear before a game launches.
“For preroll, we have found video networks such as Intergi, Alfy, Spot Exchange, Adapt TV, Brightroll, and so
on outperform AdSense and Mochi's solutions,” Annal tells me. However, he adds, “they mainly perform well
in western territories, so in order to make that work for you, it is best to show different ad solutions based on
geo-targeting, so that you can better fill territories that video ad networks do not cover. It is also worth noting
that some networks will not work with smaller sites, so it may be necessary to wait until you have grown a bit
before you can get on them.”
Incorporate a Large, Reliable Ad Network
When you develop a web game, expect to have it distributed on third-party sites you do not directly control;
this adds some complexity to the ad network you embed in your game. As Nitrome's Annal explains, “Unlike
games on your own site, you cannot change your game on another person's site once it has been placed there.
If an ad network stops working for you, you're unable to change the network remotely.” For that reason, Annal
recommends going with established advertisers like Google, Mochi, or CPM Star.
Nitrome developed an even better solution, by distributing their games in a Flash container that streams the
game from the company's servers. That way, they can control the ad network delivery (see Figure 7-1 ).