Some of you may have heard that there is a new way to make money from game development. It is called game templates and many developers already use it as an alternative way or in addition to publishing their games on the app store. The problems game developers face today on the different app stores is that with over 1 million apps in each one of these stores it is becoming really hard to get discovered. This is especially true when big publishers are pouring money into user acquisition and paid marketing campaigns. Some developers are partnering with publishers hoping that they can get some of that budget into their games but the reality is that most publishers prefer to push a small number of games so they either focus on their homegrown games or simply wait to see what games monetize better and push them forward while giving the developers only a small cut of the success.
Well, the good news is that like I mentioned before some developers have figured out a better way, which is stripping down your game’s design and keeping only the core, hence, the game’s “template”. You can then sell the game template to other developers who will re-skin and re-publish it under a different title. In fact, if you’ve made a really good game you can sell the source code for up to $500 and get dozens of orders per month from different individuals and companies who are looking to just focus on the marketing and distribution of the game. To get started, here is a list of the top 4 places to sell your game template.
Chupa Mobile – Buy and Sell Game Templates
chupamobile.com is a marketplace for templates. It features 4 categories – iOS, Android, Unity and Coronoa although the last one is not as buzzing as the others. The website comes with an easy way to take care of the billing. The fee for their service is a 30% cut of your earnings. Very similar to the app-store’s cut.
Code Canyon – General Plugin Marketplace
codecanyon.net is a much broader website selling anything from jquery plugins to wordpress extensions and one of the categories is mobile which includes app templates. The quality here is lower, the games are usually more simple and they are priced accordingly. Another thing to note about Code Canyon is that they are very agressive on the share they take. From $100 you will only be making $36 if you are not exclusive with them and $60 if you are exclusive with them.
Apptopia – Data Driven Marketplace
marketplace.apptopia.com brings much more data into their store. Buyers can see the past performance of the game before they make a decision to buy the code. The site offers purchasing templates as well as games which are more exclusive nature.
Unity Asset Store – Community Asset Marketplace
assetstore.unity3d.com is both a website as well as an integral part of the Unity game engine. There are many categories in the asset store but one of them is complete game projects. Due to huge size of the ecosystem around this leading game engine, you should consider posting your game template there as well. The guys from Unity offer a pretty fair deal and take only a 30% cut. Another advantage is that buyers are willing to pay more knowing that they can publish in multiple platforms and that customizations are easier.
Sell AND Buy Game Templates
The monetization strategy of building game templates leans on the simple fact that the genres of casual mobile games have consolidated to a narrow number. Everywhere you look you’ll find Match-3, endless runners, platformers, single tap games and gyro-based racing over and over again. So as a developer, you might consider not only selling your game template, but also for your next game – buying one. This is a quick, cost effective method to bootstrap your next title. You will of course be left with the duty of designing a new skin, backgrounds, characters, props etc. but you’ll save months of development dollars for the cost of several hundred.