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We are a team of 3 (1 graphics designer, 2 developers). We're almost done with our first Android based indie game. Which monetization model will be suitable for us? We don't want to disturb users with a lot of ads (at this point we're thinking to put only banner ads) also, if we go with in app purchases, can we also keep ads as well? or is it a better practice to follow one model at a time? How much will it affect the user experience?

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closed as primarily opinion-based by Alexandre Vaillancourt, MAnd, MichaelHouse Apr 17 '16 at 5:36

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is more of a development/business decision you need to make on your own. There's no correct answer to this. Typically in a situation like this, you'd make a list of the available options, then list the pros/cons of each and make a decision based off that list. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Aug 30 '13 at 17:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ But I added it here because we're newbies in this field. Maybe some experience game developer here can share their experience? As to which strategy is more efficient, both in terms of User experience and revenue generation. \$\endgroup\$ – Jazib Aug 30 '13 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sure, if there was a most efficient strategy, it would be the strategy to use. But user experience is very difficult to quantify and revenue generation has so many other factors, it would be near impossible to relate it to a specific monetization model. That's what I'm saying, there isn't a "best" way to do things. There's only "best for you". And that's not a general answer for everyone, it's specific to what you want and your game. Your question is probably "primarily opinion based" as it stands. \$\endgroup\$ – MichaelHouse Aug 30 '13 at 18:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ There really is no wrong answer so long as you don't break your gameplay (sell super powerful item, ads that block the screen midgame, etc.). It's all a matter of personal preference. \$\endgroup\$ – Benjamin Danger Johnson Aug 30 '13 at 20:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ You may find this blog post from Flurry Analytics interesting (their free analytics app with event logging is really awesome by the way): blog.flurry.com/bid/99013/… \$\endgroup\$ – ashes999 Aug 30 '13 at 21:36
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Like other comments have said, its entirely a personnel decision. That being said, I would like to point out a few things:

If you decide to have ads, be careful with your buisness model you represent to the player. If you're charging to get the game (not releasing a free version) people may be a bit turned off that you're still showing them ads. That being said, ads on a free version of the game are golden. Several games out there have a free version that has ads that offers a paid version that doesn't.

As someone who gets almost exclusively free mobile games and frequently reads web comics, I honestly don't mind looking at ads for sites and games I enjoy if I know that this is how the developers make their money.

With microtransactions (in game purchases) its also important to understand if this works with your game model. Are there things you CAN sell to the player? Extra Lives, Experience/stat boosts, extra items, vanity items etc. If your game doesn't have anything like that then you might not have anything to really sell with microtransactions. You can also have these same items out there for an in game currency. (Check out how Guild Wars 2 does gems or Jetpack Joyride does its shop if you need examples) A common practice is to offer it for a somewhat ridiculously large number of in game credits or for a small real world amount (like $1 or $2).

It is possible to have both ads AND microtransactions HOWEVER I highly advise being very careful when doing this. You don't want to make the player feel like the entire game is a grab at their money, this will turn anybody off. It is very doable but just be mindful of what the player may think when they see these things. If you're not sure of what the player will think, download a few games for yourself and try to find good and bad examples (I have a feeling you already have a few of these on your mobile device) If you do decide this though, I highly suggest making a version that is ad free that is a paid version.

Ultimately it comes down to what game are you making and what kind of business decisions you want to make. This is entirely up to you. Coming on here and asking "What are some pros and cons?" is fine, but truth be told there is no golden ultimate answer here. (unless your game is named "golden ultimate answer")


EDIT: I just thought of something else.

Any team that makes the ads as a part of the game gets major props in my mind. I'm not talking about "Do so many surveys and you can get a free _!!!" I mean a pop up ad occurs and when you close it the character (if the game is an RPG) says something, like "Bloody ads, mess up my aim" or "Hey, that might be cool." if the player clicked on it. It may be too late for your team to do this since you said you're almost done (congratulations by the way), but it would be fun to see anyways. PLUS this gives added immersion since you would be making the character experience the same thing as the player. (Think something like in the Never Ending Story)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot. I was expecting something like this when i asked this question. Agreed that there is no "golden ultimate answer" still, suggestions like these can really help when we're finalizing our model. :) I'll accept it as answer in a day or two, let me get some more insights from other developers here. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Jazib Aug 31 '13 at 10:47
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Being a gamer , what annoys most is too much ads . Avoid placing ads as much as you can if you want a successful game. Focus more , more and more on game-play . If game-play is awesome , anything is tolerated. People dont mind in-game purchases but keep in mind that these purchases should not in any case affect the actual game play , they should be more like customizations etc . Hope it works out for you guy :) Best of luck

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome to GDSE. This is not really and full answer, it's more like an short opinion of yours. It's more suitable as an comment. I understand that it's hard to answer this kind of question without opinions. You could try to open this up little more. \$\endgroup\$ – Katu Aug 31 '13 at 4:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TahaRushain You don't seem to realize that the goal of a game developer is not to develop a good game. It is to develop a profitable game. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Aug 31 '13 at 6:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp I do not agree. Primary purpose of a game developer is to develop a good game! If it pays well, then good for them. \$\endgroup\$ – Jazib Aug 31 '13 at 10:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jazz I absolutely agree that the main goal of a game (or any other "creation") should always be quality (the definition of which varies depending on the medium) and not money. Games that are created purely to make money usually feel like "games that are created purely for money" - it always shows :) I hope your game is successful! \$\endgroup\$ – free3dom Aug 31 '13 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp Brother only good games are the ones that are profitable games. \$\endgroup\$ – Taha Rushain Sep 1 '13 at 0:57
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Being a gamer myself,I would prefer IAP, but it wouldnt be as profitable as Ads As everyone here said, it's up to you, but if you choose Ads, make sure they are subtle and don't spoil your games example: You dont want an Ad where a user might touch it by mistake and ruin their gameplay :)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello and welcome to GDSE. This is not really an full answer, it's more like a comment. This answer alone, without other answer's would not help anyone and that's why -1. \$\endgroup\$ – Katu Aug 31 '13 at 4:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnitejBanerjee Can you provide some source to back up the claim that ads are more profitable than ingame purchases? Because I frequently heard the opposite. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Aug 31 '13 at 6:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Philipp : Ads are seen by everyone, and thus will multiply with the number of players. However, only a certain portion of players -- that spend enough time at the game -- will be willing to buy IAP. Katu : Since he asked a question about a game, I thought I should tell him what a gamer would think. Yes, there were no numbers/facts, and I will take this into account next time :) \$\endgroup\$ – Anitej Banerjee May 19 '14 at 13:29

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