Key Points

  • Game monetization is the process of earning revenue from a game you've developed.
  • Techniques for monetizing games include paid downloads, subscriptions, in-game purchases, and advertising.
  • Advertising is one of the most effective ways to monetize web-based, desktop app, or mobile app games, as long as you have an effective ad monetization partner.

After months (or maybe even years) of hard work, you've created a game that people actually want to play. Congratulations! 

Now that your game is out in the world, you need to begin thinking about how you can start earning from it.

There are a few different approaches to monetizing your game. The method, or combination of methods, you'll use to maximize your revenue depends on your platform, your goals, and the game itself.

Whichever route you choose, remember that the process for how to monetize your game is just as important as the game itself. If players feel like they're being asked to pay for every tiny feature, they're likely to get frustrated and stop playing. On the other hand, if you give them too much for free, they may never feel the need to spend any money at all. 

Finding the right balance is key to making sure your game is both fun and profitable.

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Game Monetization Guide

Game Monetization Guide: Monetizing with In-Game Advertising

Basics of Game Monetization

Game monetization is the process of turning your game into a revenue-generating asset. There are a number of ways to monetize a game, including: 

  • Advertising within the game, from rewarded video ads to full-screen interstitial ads displayed during loading, in menus, and during other transitional periods
  • Having players pay a one-time fee to download your game
  • Leaving your game free-to-play, but offering in-game purchases such as custom player outfits or exclusive features
  • Having players pay an ongoing subscription fee in order to play your game
  • Combining multiple game monetization models for maximum revenue

Understanding game monetization models and the way they interact to maximize revenue is essential for turning your creation into a top earner.


And for mobile gaming app publishers, before you can even get started with any of these methods, you'll need to integrate an SDK (software development kit) into your game.

Game Monetization Models

The complexity of game monetization may be daunting, but we think it's downright thrilling. (What can we say, we're monetization nerds.)

That complexity means you have a range of options available to you, and you can even mix and match them to find the perfect revenue-boosting strategy for your unique game and audience.

One-Time Purchase

The one-time purchase game monetization model is a great way to earn revenue from your game without having to rely on in-app purchases or advertising. This model lets you sell your game for a one-time fee, and it also gives you the freedom to offer additional content or features as paid DLC (downloadable content).

To make this model work, you need to ensure that your game offers enough value to justify the initial purchase price. This means offering a high-quality game with plenty of content and replay value. 

You also need to make sure that your DLC is well-crafted and adds value to the game experience. If done correctly, the one-time purchase game monetization model can be an effective way to earn revenue from your game.

Freemium (In-App Purchases)

With the freemium model, you make your game available for free with optional in-game purchases that offer additional content or features. This can be a great way to generate revenue, as it allows players to test your game before they commit to buying anything. It also means that there's no barrier to entry for players who might not be willing or able to spend money on a game upfront. 

Of course, this model isn't without its risks - if your game isn't addictive or engaging enough, players may choose not to make any in-game purchases. 


The subscription game monetization model has become more popular over the last few years. The basic idea is that you offer a free trial period, after which the player must pay a monthly fee to continue playing your game. 

This model has a number of advantages including: 

  • Generating revenue on a predictable basis. 
  • Giving you a steady stream of ongoing income.
  • Creating a loyal player base, as players who are willing to pay for a subscription are more likely to stick around for the long haul. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when using this model. Make sure that your game is high-quality and worth the price of admission. You also want to ensure your free trial period is long enough to give players a chance to get hooked on your game. 

In-Game Advertising

At Playwire, we've seen time and time again that an effective advertising strategy is the most powerful way to monetize a game. 

One of the most effective options is to use rewarded video ads, which allow players to watch an ad in exchange for a game item, in-game currency, or other reward. These ads give players the power to choose, making them more likely to feel engaged with the content of your rewarded ads.


Interstitial ads are another option. These full-screen ads appear between levels or during breaks in gameplay. 


Both of these options can be effective, but ad format, placement, quality, and frequency are all key. If you show ads that disrupt the game and user experience, aren't relevant to your players, or appear so often they become a nuisance, players will become frustrated and leave your game.

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Game Monetization Resource Center

The Complete Game Monetization Resource Center

Choosing the Right Monetization Partner

Game monetization is a complex process. The good news is that you're not in it alone.

An experienced, innovative, and transparent game monetization partner can execute on the entirety of your monetization process, from initial setup to ongoing management and optimization. 

But the most important trait of the best game monetization platforms is the ability to monetize your game across any medium- web, mobile, desktop app, and even console (where possible). 

The partner you choose should offer established methods for selling your ad inventory that include pure programmatic demand, programmatic preferred demand, and direct demand. This ensures that you get the highest possible bids from the widest range of bidders.

Industry-leading platforms like Playwire also offer features like the ability to fill unsold ad inventory and continuously analyze, improve, and optimize ad placements. We do this through our proprietary Revenue Intelligence process.

Playwire: The Experience, the Skills, and the Support You Need

For everything you need to monetize your mobile app, desktop app, or web-based game, there's no better choice than Playwire. We've been optimizing ad revenue for publishers and gaming app developers for 15 years, constantly refining our technologies to stay at the cutting edge of what's possible.

Ready to monetize your game? Contact us online.

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