Comment & Opinion

Why are indie game developers losing money?

Yodo1 urges developers to consider monetisation earlier in your game plan

Why are indie game developers losing money?

Turning a passion into a business can be a challenge, and it’s a particularly real one for indie game developers. If you’ve faced this, you’re not alone. Imagination and creation are the first steps, but what comes next?

Leaving monetisation out of your game plan

When most developers start out in game creation, they are - understandably - focused on how to create the best game they can in terms of design, gameplay, and so on; often it is only after the game is nearly complete that they begin to think about its monetisation and try to slot in ads and in app-purchases.

Riccardo Russo, Yodo1’s head of growth marketing, noted that "this then becomes an additional unnecessary challenge", explaining that monetisation is a consideration developers should take while they are creating their game - or even earlier, when it’s still in the idea stage. Russo continued: "It’s key to remember that your monetisation is as important as any of the game’s other core elements, like the music, design, and gameplay.

It’s key to remember that your monetisation is as important as any of the game’s other core elements
Riccardo Russo

"It’s vital to keep this in mind from the very start, because if you're not building monetisation into your game design it has the potential to be disruptive to the game if inserted later, not to mention much more ineffective."

How many users do you need before you monetise?

Another misconception is that developers believe they must acquire a large number of users before they can make any money. And while acquiring users is indeed important, having a solid monetisation system in place from the start is equally important, to ensure that however many players you have, you can begin earning income right away.

Waiting to get a large user base before implementing a solid monetisation strategy is a common rookie mistake. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Don’t stop at one game

There is so much opportunity out there - the gaming industry is broad and expanding daily, but many first-time developers believe that making one game will be enough to set them on the path to success. The reality is that you need to hone your skills and put a lot of games on the market, especially in the beginning. Experimentation is key, don’t worry so much about whether it’s perfect or not. Try lots of things, and see what sticks. If you do this, you’ll soon get the feel of the market, learn what is successful, which players are loving your game, and why.

This experience will put you in a much better position to put what you have learned into a game that has the potential to become a big hit and discover the path that will turn your game development from a hobby into a business.

Do your research

How can you avoid these pitfalls and set yourself up for success? As a developer it’s vital that you look into the options and research the right monetisation solution for your games. You put so much time and effort into making all the other angles - gameplay, graphics, music and so on - just right, and you have to do the same with the financial side.

Failing to prioritise monetisation from the start is a mistake that can have long-term consequences for a game developer
Riccardo Russo

Failing to prioritise monetisation from the start is a mistake that can have long-term consequences for a game developer. If your game has been produced on a shoestring budget, you might quickly break even and be initially happy with that. But you can go so much farther.

If you simply choose to go with ad networks, without implementing mediation into your game from the start or early on, you’re losing a significant amount of revenue that, especially in the early days, you could be reinvesting in other areas like marketing, creating games, and more.

MAS levels the playing field for all developers

How can you best meet these challenges, so you can focus on producing new and better games? MAS is the perfect monetisation solution for indie developers who want to make sure they are not leaving any money on the table.

It’s not only the easiest solution on the market, it’s also a great equaliser, giving every developer access to personalised, specialised ad solutions that are tailored to your game’s audience.

MAS is the easiest solution all around: integration is simple and you will be assigned a dedicated Customer Success Manager from our top notch global team who’ll focus on your specific game needs. MAS is the most effective solution because it ensures you have the widest coverage in terms of ad networks and ad mediators in your network. You can then feel at ease that we will find the best and most profitable ads for your game which will in turn make sure that any users you have – whether many or few – are well monetised from the start.

If you have been looking for a more efficient and profitable monetisation solution, you can partner with the best today by registering on our MAS Portal. You can set up MAS in just three easy steps or contact a Games Growth Specialist to learn more.


PocketGamer.biz regularly posts content from a variety of guest writers across the games industry. These encompass a wide range of topics and people from different backgrounds and diversities, sharing their opinion on the hottest trending topics, undiscovered gems and what the future of the business holds.

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