Business Models

Retail is where a game is a physical disk copy at shops such as Game and CEX. This also includes online shops such as eBay and Amazon that deliver the game to your house. These shops have started selling pre-paid cards that give you a code for the full game as a digital download as many believe that the gaming market will go completely digital at some point. Due to these digital pre paid cards shops like CEX will go out of business as they will not be able to resale used copies of games as there will be no physical disk to trade. Retailers have started selling exclusive copies of games with content that you can only get by buying it from them this draws more people to retail.

Digital Distribution is where online game markets such as Steam, Origin and the PlayStation store distribute digital copies of games that are downloaded using there program like Steam. This is good because it allows players to download the same game on the same account on different platforms.

In-Game Advertising comes in the form of small banners or pop up ads during games. These games typically tend to be free as they make there money from the advertisements in them. This is similar to TV channels that rely on adverts to make money.

Around-Game Advertising are the adverts commonly found on flash games on websites and come as banners around the games window (not obstructing the game) so that the adverts can still be viewed when the game is being played. These games also tend to be free as they make there money through the adverts.

Advert games are basically one big playable advert. These games are common on movie websites. The advertiser will help fund the creation of the game and depending on the deal this determines who earns cash from its earnings. Bigger companies often get paid more then smaller companies.

Try Before you Buy/ Trialware is basically a short playable demo of a game usually used to make people want to buy the full game. As a demo it should not include too much or too little content as this may hider sales for the full game. Companies will tend to give you a playable level that will leave you on a cliff hanger which will make you want to buy the game to see what happens.

Episodic Entertainment is where a game comes in installments or episodes such as games from telltale games. These game will allow you to buy each episode individually or will allow you to buy a season pass for a reduced price. Some companies will even make the first episode free like life is strange similar to the demo this draws people in to buy the rest of the episodes.

Member’s Club are used to provide people who pay for it exclusive content and areas unavailable to other players. They also may get access to things early such as a beta version of the next update or a new item.

Subscription Models are used in games such as World of Warcraft where you pay monthly. It’s sometimes coupled with a retail purchase such as a physical base game that will come with manuals. Commonly players have these games setup on an automatic payment plan so they do not lose out on playing at the end of a month/repayment.

Micro-Transactions include things such as coins that allow you to speed up game play. These virtual coins are paid for with real money. This is called pay to win where they will put ludicrous times and allow you to speed it up with these with the virtual coins you have purchased.

Sponsored Games are non profit games where all the money made goes to charity. Websites like humble bundle allow you to pay what you want for a bundle of games (the more you pay the more games you get).

Pay per play games tend to be found in old style arcades where you pay a small amount of money for a certain amount of lives. These tend to be games like Pacman or Donkey Kong.

Player to Player trading is where players trade in game items for others. Games like Counter Strike have this in terms of trading weapons skins, music packs and other in game items. You keep a cut of all the money exchanged where the company that make the game tend to take a small cut. These games can be exploited and can be dangerous in terms of defrauding the system and scamming other players. This makes the whole system very risky.

Freeware are not there to make money although you can offer to pay for the game to support the developer. Many smaller developers do this as it allows them to just get there game out there. This is also common in smaller games that don't have a lot of game time.

Loss Leader where you sell the game far cheaper than it is worth. You use the fan base for your game to help sell something else like a Toy etc. and that’s where the focus is for making money.

Peripheral Enticement is popular in VR games where they sell there game but require that you have a VR headset. Other examples are console exclusive games such as The Last of Us where it is exclusive to PlayStation this means this specific game cannot be played on other consoles or PC's.

Player to Player Wagering is where players place bets on a tournament the winner of the round keeps the pot and you keep a percentage of every pot. These games are skill based games.

User Generated Content is where users can create there own assets in a game and sell them to other players. The developers of the game get a small percentage of the profits from each asset sold.

Pay for Storage Space this is used in services such as Dropbox where they will give you a certain amount of storage but will charge you money for anything over that. For example Dropbox will give you 5GB but will charge you to upgrade to a 1TB account.

Pay for Private Game Server is where you rent or buy access to a private server for you to invite your friends to (these servers normally have a player limit).

Rental is where you do not own the game put pay a company like Blockbuster to rent there game for a set amount of time. This is good for players that tend to sell the game after buying it (works out cheaper for them).

Pre-Sell the Game to the Players. This allows your fans to help fund the game before its release by putting a deposit to pre order it. This also allows fans to provide feedback on the game and any fixes that are required before release.

Jeremy Liew. (2008). 29 Business Models For Games. Available: Last accessed 20/11/2016.


Created with images by Luis Anzo - "GameStop"

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