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19 Aug 2014

‘Out of the Box’ Ways to Make Money With Your First Indie Game

Yesterday, I wrote a post detailing how to make money with your first indie game, which detailed some straightforward ways to earn an income from your indie game. It’s a great place to start before you read today’s unofficial sequel. Check it out if you haven’t read it, then come back to this post after you’ve finished reading.

Today, we’re going to think a little more ‘outside the box’ regarding new, interesting ways to earn money with your first indie game. While the tips below won’t be for everyone, they’re still worth considering all the same. Take a look at some of these neat tips below, and consider using them in your first indie game!

 

Donations

Believe it or not, but giving your indie game away for free and asking for donations works for a lot of indie developers. It’s a method that has worked very well for many indie authors as well. Simply give away your product for free and ask your fans to donate if they enjoy your product and want to see other, top-quality products like it.

At face value, it seems kind of ridiculous: after all, why would anyone pay you whenever you already gave your product away for free? It’s an understandable argument, but it’s missing the big picture. By informing your customers that they are not obligated to pay for your product to experience it, but can instead donate a few bucks your way if they enjoy what they played, then you are going to find that people are much more willing to donate to you.

Moreover, if you build a community around your brand, you are going to find that more people than ever are willing to donate to your indie game – especially if they enjoy it. It’s a model a lot of indie developers don’t think about, but believe me: it works.

Along the same lines of the donation model is the ‘pay what you want’ model that has become popular thanks to indie bundles such as the Humble Bundle. It’s proven to work too, as most people will buy your indie game based on what they think they should pay rather than what you tell them to pay. Ensure the minimum amount a customer can pay for your indie game is 99 cents (or 0 cents if you want to give them the option of buying it for free – it’s entirely up to you), and from there? Your customers will only pay you what they think your indie game is worth.

Combine this method with the donations method, and if marketed correctly, you will find that your indie game could sell reasonably well via this unique, ‘outside the box’ method.

 

Premium services

I use the app Splashtop to remotely connect to my PC on a daily basis. It’s fantastic if I need to use my computer from my tablet or my smartphone when I’m away from my home, but that’s beside the point (but seriously, the app is awesome). When I first installed the app, I noticed something unique about the app: it charges customers to unlock new features.

Now, this isn’t exactly revolutionary, but it is interesting what types of features they took out of the free version of Splashtop. For example, by default you can’t remotely access your PC anywhere in the world – that costs $1.99 per month. Even so, not everyone needs to access their PC anywhere in the world. For most people, accessing it on their home network (which is free, will suffice).

It also costs a few extra bucks a month to gain access to the whiteboard, customize certain shortcuts, and access a virtual gamepad controller. Again, the average user probably doesn’t need these features, but for those that do? They’re available for a fee.

See what they’re doing? They’re providing a free product that is useful for the average user, but for those that need specialized features? It costs them (albeit a very reasonable monthly fee).

You can do the same for your indie game. If there is a specialized feature you are thinking about including in your indie game that you know the bulk of your players may not use, consider charging for these features.

 

Merchandise

Does your indie game star a marketable protagonist? Can you picture the cast of characters of your indie game sitting on retail shelves? If so, then consider merchandising your indie game with products that your fans will want to purchase. Especially if your protagonist/cast of characters are ‘cutesy,’ you can certainly sell plushes, toys, t-shirt – anything like that!

 

Have any questions/comments? Let us know in the comments below!

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