How to Make Money as a Video Game Developer

How to Make Money as a Video Game Developer

How to actually make money as a video game developer?

Gaming is booming, and as the industry expands, the money-making potential grows for aspiring game developers.

In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to make money online with video games and the incredible online video game profits available in the world of online gaming. So buckle up and get ready to discover the numerous ways you can turn your love for gaming into a profitable career.

Game Development Basics

Did you know that video game development has become really popular lately? The industry is expected to be worth a whopping $200 billion by 2023!

What is Video Game Development

Simply put, game development is the process of creating video games. It includes creating and testing games for different platforms like consoles, phones, PCs, and online platforms.

Different Types of Video Games

Video games come in various genres like action, adventure, puzzles, sports, and role-playing. Each type of game requires a particular set of skills, creativity, and methodology.

Video game types

Online game development, for example, has become increasingly popular, with more people shifting towards online gaming. This game development type requires networking, server architecture, and database management expertise.

Skills Required for Game Development

Learning valuable skills such as C++, Java, and Python coding, graphic designing on Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, 3D modeling with Blender, and creating soundtracks on Audacity can greatly enrich your skillset.

Having knowledge of game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine is also essential.

How to Start Learning Game Development

There are various online game development courses available that offer hands-on training in game development basics. Some of the popular online game development courses include Udemy, Coursera, and edX.

Along with online courses, practicing and working on small projects is important to gain real-world experience and improve your skills.

Moreover, read this “How To Get Into Game Development (10 Steps)” article for a quick head-up into your development journey.

6 Ways to Monetize Video Games

If you’re a video game developer, you’re probably wondering how to create a successful video game monetization and turn your passion into profit.

Video games and monetization

There are many ways to do this, so let’s take a look at six effective methods to monetize video games and make money from your hard work and creativity!

1. Advertising in Games

One popular monetization strategy is to include ads within your game. Whether it’s a banner ad or a video ad, companies will pay you to show their ads to your audience.

For example, mobile games like Candy Crush and Subway Surfers generate revenue through in-game ads that players see while playing. Mobile game developers can earn up to $20 CPM (Cost per thousand impressions) for in-game ads.

Just keep in mind that too many ads can drive players away, so the key is to find a balance.

2. In-game Purchases

In-game purchases are a great way to monetize your video game, especially if it’s free-to-play. You can sell virtual goods, such as weapons or skins, or you can sell a currency that players can use to buy those goods.

This monetization strategy has proven successful with mobile games like Clash of Clans and Pokémon Go earning millions annually. According to Statista, in-app purchases (IAP) are estimated to generate an average revenue of $145 billion in 2022.

3. Premium Game Sales

Charging players upfront to buy the game is a traditional monetization method that continues to be successful in the video game industry. What’s important is ensuring your game is flawless and has enough engaging elements to justify the price you put on it.

Gaming giants like Blizzard and Nintendo are known for this model. Indie developers can also charge players for premium game sales. According to VGInsights, the average indie game on the platform costs $9.1, and many earn significant video game income.

4. Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding is a way to gather money through small contributions from many folks. Platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are popular for video game developers to showcase game ideas and solicit funds from supporters.

For example, the popular game Shovel Knight raised over $300,000 on Kickstarter.

5. Sponsorship and Partnerships

Partnering with companies can bring additional revenue and exposure to your game.

Popular streamers and YouTubers are often sponsored by gaming companies to play and promote games, generating millions of views. Game developers can also partner with brands to integrate their products or services within the game.

6. Licensing

Licensing involves licensing your game’s intellectual property (IP) rights to other developers and companies for use in their games, merchandise, or other media.

This monetization strategy can provide a considerable revenue source, as with the mega-hit game Minecraft, which licenses its brand to merchandise and toys. According to Business Insider, Minecraft has generated over $2 billion in licensing revenue.

How to Market Your Video Game

Marketing for game developers is an essential aspect of video game development. Even if you have created the most incredible game, it won’t mean much if nobody knows about it.

A marketing panel for video games

Proper marketing is crucial for a developer’s success in today’s highly competitive video game market trends. So, how does one go about marketing their video game?

1. Effective Marketing Strategies

There are countless marketing strategies available to promote video games. Some proven methods include making gameplay trailers, offering exclusive early access to certain audiences, or partnering with major influencers in the gaming industry.

Exploring multiple strategies to find what works best for your game is important.

For example, look at the success of Among Us. The game’s unique concept and effective social media marketing led to explosive growth and millions of downloads. They turned a small indie game into a massive success using clever tactics.

2. Social Media and Online Presence

No marketing plan is complete without utilizing social media and online presence, as it provides an opportunity to reach a broad audience and connect with the community.

Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok can be effective tools for promoting your game and building a fan base.

3. Building a Community of Fans

A strong community is vital for games that are designed to be played for long periods. Building an active and engaged community helps generate buzz surrounding your game, attract new players, and create a sense of community among players.

Look at Warframe, which has an enormous and loyal player base, created by the game’s developers engaging with their fan base, seeking feedback, and actively implementing said feedback in the game’s design.

4. Creating a Marketing Plan

Every video game marketing campaign should begin with a detailed plan. This includes setting goals, developing a budget, targeting your audience, and selecting the right channels to promote your game.

A well-conceived marketing plan for video games will help maximize your resources and ensure that your message is consistent across all platforms.

One example is the marketing campaign for Cyberpunk 2077. The game’s developers, CD Projekt Red, extensively utilized social media platforms, online influencers, and a detailed marketing plan to build hype and anticipation for the game’s release.

Career Opportunities in Video Game Development

Video game development is a growing industry offering a wide range of career opportunities for those passionate about gaming and technology.

A game developer reading a book

Career Paths in Game Development

Some of the most common career paths in video game development include:

  • Video game designer: Responsible for creating a game’s overall look and feel, developing the game mechanics, and creating the levels and missions.
  • Video game programmer: Responsible for writing the code that brings the game to life, ensuring it runs smoothly and is bug-free.
  • Video game artist: Responsible for creating the artwork, graphics, and animations that make the game visually appealing and immersive.
  • Video game producer: Responsible for overseeing the entire development process, from conception to launch, and ensuring the game is completed on time and within budget.
  • Video game tester: Responsible for finding and reporting any issues with the game and offering suggestions to the development team to enhance users’ overall experience.

Job Requirements and Skills

The video game job requirements and skills necessary for a career in video game development vary depending on the specific role. However, some of the general skills and qualifications that are often required include:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science, game design, or a related field (for some roles).
  • Strong programming skills (for video game programming jobs).
  • A strong portfolio of artwork (for artist roles).
  • Creativity and innovation (for video game design careers).
  • Attention to detail and problem-solving skills (for all roles).
  • Familiarity with game engines and software development tools.

Pros and Cons of Working in The Gaming Industry

The video game industry is full of exciting and rewarding opportunities but can be tough. Some pros and cons include:


  • Working on cutting-edge technology and participating in the development of new games.
  • The chance to be creative and innovative.
  • Working in a field that is constantly evolving and growing.
  • Opportunities for career advancement and growth.


  • Long hours and tight deadlines.
  • It’s crucial to keep pace with the most recent tech and trends.
  • The pressure to consistently deliver high-quality products.
  • The risk of burnout due to the demanding nature of the industry.

Job Prospects and Salaries in The Gaming Industry

The game development job prospects and salaries vary depending on the specific role and the company. However, the industry is generally expected to continue growing, with an increasing demand for skilled professionals.

Glassdoor reports that a video game designer earns an average of approximately $85K annually, while a video game programmer earns roughly $81K.

A high-paying game developer

Check out this “How Much Do Game Developers Make?” article to learn more about different roles in the game industry and their salaries.

Loads of online resources are out there to help kick off your career in video game development. Some of the best online game development resources include, Gamasutra, and Unreal Engine’s online learning resources.


Video game development offers a plethora of opportunities for financial gain. The gaming world is growing quickly and will be worth over $300 billion by 2025.

Moreover, the progress in technology like AR, VR, cloud gaming, and AI are creating fresh opportunities for game development.

To turn your passion for creating engaging games into a successful career, stay current with industry trends, master the relevant skills, and always be innovative.

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