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How exactly do they make money their money? Do they go by a paid-per-copy system, or some other form of compensation?

Edit: To clarify, I just saw "Indie Game - The Movie" and was wondering how developers like Team Meat get compensated for every copy of the game they sell. Do they get say, a dollar for every $10 copy?

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    \$\begingroup\$ This question is too broad and basic, but there are a number of ways monotize your game (see but does ROTMG make $$$? section) \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 24 '13 at 16:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ If Team Meat is selling the game directly, they get $10 for every $10 sale sans processing fees. Where would you imagine that $9 would be going? \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Apr 24 '13 at 16:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yea, I was just curious as to exactly how much they got from the $10. Not seeing anything specific on the subject on Google. \$\endgroup\$ – Ray Lee Apr 24 '13 at 17:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ Steam takes 30% of each copy sale, (Team Meat is on Steam). The Apple App store also takes 30% of each sale. \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 24 '13 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's not. Steam and the Apple App store give you visibility and accessibility you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere .. as well as basic protection with a key system. Do you want sales or the 90% piracy rate? \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 25 '13 at 3:29
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  • Sales: Selling their game, per copy. Or selling the rights to their game.

  • Ads: Advertisements placed in game, on their website, etc. Admob, Adsense, etc.

  • In-App purchases: Mainly mobile apps, in app purchases can be character upgrades, xp bonuses, etc.

  • Dontations: Releasing their game for free, and asking for donations. Dwarf fortress does this.

  • Subscriptions: Recurring fees to play their game, typically in an online setting.

  • Their day job: Many indie developers don't make money from their games. They have to work a real job to get paid.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ :) I like everyone of these except for ads. Ads are usually a way to force purchase, but I detest ad popover placement within serious games (like games that people actually developed for people's enjoyment rather than to pop money out of people). Now product placement is a type of "ad" I have no problem with. \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 24 '13 at 16:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ But is that a seriously viable option? There has to be a certain lack of self-respect for a developer to allow popover ads in this "game experience" they are creating. \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 24 '13 at 16:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Viable, I think so. In the free versions of mobile games this is fairly common. Ads in the transition screens, main menu, etc. They don't have to be popover ads. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Apr 24 '13 at 16:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know it's common. But I think it should be evaluated -- how much money do people make on ads really? I consider it as more nagscreening -- "a way to annoy users and make them purchase" \$\endgroup\$ – bobobobo Apr 24 '13 at 17:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would rather have some ads in games than pay for the game up front. And I would rather a developer gets some money for their work than release a game for free. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Apr 24 '13 at 22:56
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This question is too broad and basic, but there are a number of ways monotize your game (see but does ROTMG make $$$? section).

1) Sell it on your website / via Steam or in an appstore like the Apple App Store or Google Play

2) In-app purchases (managed by Apple App or Google Play)

The world of in-app purchases is huge. And what you can sell depends on what kind of game it is .. is it a persistant MMO type world? Then have permadeath and sell scrolls of resurrection in the store. Is it a shooter? Then sell the ability to "unlock" the better weapons. The list goes on, what you can sell as in-app really depends on what your game about.

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