5 Methods to Monetize Your Indie Game

Guillaume Chichmanov
June 29, 2024

Generating profit from an indie game is not everyone's cup of tea. Making money off their games is a bonus for many. According to research, only 30% of indie games are financially successful, while the remaining 70% are failures. Even more, only 7% of those successful games make enough money to support a second project. 

That might seem like it's difficult to monetize indie games, but it's not. There are so many methods to monetize your indie game; when done right with strategic planning, you can remain successful in generating a steady income stream. 

So, let's get in and explore those methods to convert your popular games into revenue-generating machines. 

What are Indie Games?

Indie games refer to "Independent video games." The concept of indie gaming is similar to that of indie music and films, meaning they are not financially supported or backed by big publishers. Such games are developed independently by teams of game developers or even individuals. 

These games are typically developed with passion and creativity and are often found exploring unique concepts and innovative features. Since indie game developers have more creative freedom, you will see unique mechanics and art styles in them. 

How to Market an Indie Game?

It's no surprise that indie games are developed primarily out of love and passion for creativity. Otherwise, the financial opportunities are rarely enough to help developers make a living. However, it's possible to make money with the right indie game marketing strategy. 

Here are a few things you can do to market your indie game effectively: 

  • Focus on user acquisition campaigns using advanced analytics to target the right audience. 
  • Employ A/B testing and multi-channel marketing on platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. 
  • Optimize games for app stores 
  • Engage gaming influencers to promote your games to increase visibility.

While these marketing strategies can help attract players, you still need to learn the methods to monetize indie games. So, let's see those. 

The Best Ways to Monetize Indie Games

Let us look at the best methods to monetize your indie game.  

1. In-App Advertising

If you are looking for the easiest and most effective way to monetize your indie game, in-app advertising is the way to go. You only need to place ads within the game application to generate revenue. This allows you to make money without charging players upfront. You just need to follow the right strategy for effective in-app advertising that doesn't frustrate the players. 

Here's a breakdown of how you can do it:

  • Choose the Right Ads Format: First off, you need to choose the right ads, as they are of different types. 
  • Banner Ads: Small, placed at the top or bottom of the screen, non-intrusive, generate less revenue. 
  • Rewarded Video Ads: Full-screen video ads, watched voluntarily by players, rewards. 
  • Interstitial Ads: Full-screen ads appear at natural breaks in gameplay when overused disrupts the user experience. 

This will give you an idea of the types of ads and help you pick one that best suits your needs. 

  • Partner with Ad Networks: Next, collaborate with different ad networks like Unity Ads or AdMob, as they have extensive reach. 
  • Integrate Ads Smoothly: Once you have everything in place, ensure you integrate the ads smoothly and they don't interrupt the gameplay. 
  • Monitor and Optimize: Continuously track ad performance using analytics tools. Adjust the ads' placement, frequency, and format based on revenue data and player feedback. 

The crux is that you can generate sustainable revenue through in-app ads. The need is to integrate them thoughtfully while keeping the game accessible for everyone. 

2. Subscription-Based Model

Indie games that offer regular content updates can opt for this model. In a subscription model, gamers pay a recurring fee to get access to new or premium content or features. A couple hundred or a few thousand users paying a small monthly fee is enough to kickstart a small gaming studio. This strategy works best for games with frequent updates and a dedicated player base. 

According to research, consumers spent an average of $1.6 billion per week on mobile games in 2022. With such a large amount going into subscriptions, this model has great potential for indie games. 

However, if you opt for a subscription model, make sure you take care of a few things:

  • Provide free trial periods or discounted initial subscriptions. 
  • Offer exclusive content to new subscribers, such as new features, characters, or new levels. 
  • Regularly update the game and give fresh content.
  • Communicate the benefits of subscription through in-app messages. 
  • Use analytics to understand the subscribers' behavior. 

You need to deliver value continuously and come up with strategic planning to make this a successful revenue-generating model for your studio. 

3. Paid Downloads

Another effective monetization strategy for indie games is paid downloads. To play such a game, players need to pay a one-time fee, after which they can download and play the game without any more charges. 

This method requires a compelling description, a unique proposition, and competitive pricing. The game should offer something that would compel a player to pay and download the game. 

Here are some effective strategies:

  • Offer a free demo: Provide a lite version to let the players experience the gameplay before paying. 
  • Offer discounts: Limited-time offers and bundle discounts help bring initial sales. 
  • Promote on multiple platforms: To maximize your reach, make your game available on popular platforms like Google Play, Apple App Store, and Steam.

The best thing is that games with this model require minimal maintenance and no ads to manage. 

4. Merchandise

Another creative way of monetizing an indie game is through merchandise sales. This method works great and is effective when your game has a loyal customer base. You can sell t-shirts, hoodies, mugs, posters, and other such items to generate revenue. This helps build brand recognition at the same time. 

You need to find out the key element of your game that players love the most. It can be a character, logo, element, or simply a phrase. Once you get that, the rest is easy. Collaborate with a designer to create appealing designs, ensure high-quality merchandise production, and start promoting it. 

Pro Tip: create limited edition items for events, as urgency and scarcity drive interest and sales.

5. Crowdfunding

As the name suggests, it is a practice of raising funds for the people to develop the games. Fortunately, there are platforms, like Kickstarter, that allow you to pitch your game and get support. Here is how you can make it successful:

  • Pick a platform, develop a detailed campaign page, and make a story about your game.
  • Set realistic funding goals and outline how they will be used. 
  • Provide reward tiers to incentivize backers and keep engaging with them. 
  • Spread the word about your game through social media and gaming communities. 
  • Deliver on your promises, meet deadlines, and provide the rewards as stated. 

Crowdfunding gives freedom to indie developers as there are no publishers' or investors' demands to hold them back. It is truly secure funding for your indie game. 


Indie games are labor of love for many developers, but they can also be profitable. There are several ways to monetize your indie game, such as in-app advertising, subscriptions, and paid downloads. You can also sell merchandise or use crowdfunding to raise money for development. The best method for you will depend on your game and your audience.

If game art is a hassle for you, consider outsourcing your work to Cominted Labs. We have been working to provide quality 3D art and video game animations at competitive rates. With years of experience working with reputed companies, we offer the best work you'll ever find. So, get in touch with us today and let us transform your indie game experience. 

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