Video Games as a Commercial Product
There is a saying that goes ‘If you do what you love you will never work a day in your life’. The idea is that going to the office won’t feel like work if the job you need to do is what you would be doing in your free time anyway. Now whether you agree or disagree with that statement, the result of your work needs to produce money that will fund the operations of the company, pay salaries, and keep the lights on. We all want to make games and we all dream of our games making some money because people willing to pay for your game will validate its quality and allows you to make more games.
Over 2 and a half decades ago your options were limited, you would have had to travel to an arcade and put coins into the machine to play Street Fighter, not to mention you could only play the few other games that the arcade had. Today you have access to large digital libraries where with a few clicks you can purchase a game that has 600 hours of content (I recommend Skyrim if you haven’t played). And the one-time premium direct payment isn’t the only way for your game to generate money.
1. In-Game Purchases
4. Sponsorship or brand deals
5. Merchandise Sale
The Unique Roblox model
As Roblox is a platform and not a single game, it leverages several of the above-mentioned revenue models that are unique to the platform.
In-game currency: The platform has a large library of purchasable items, mostly avatar attire, and customizations. Players can buy ‘Robux’ (the in-game currency) with real money and use it to purchase avatar items. Robux can also be used to purchase items within a user-created experience, a large percent of the money spent in an experience goes to the developer of that experience, which is how developers make money on the platform.
Subscription: You can choose to purchase Robux at any time, but additionally there are subscription plans that allow a recurring payment on a monthly basis for Robux. You can choose a plan and receive a fixed amount of Robux to spend in any game.
Advertising: The platform generates advertising revenue by giving developers banner ad space and sponsored game placements on the website.
Sponsorships and Brand deals: Some of the experiences on Roblox are sponsored by brands, not to generate money but to use the platform as a space for advertising real-world products.
If you ask me, I personally prefer the premium one-time payment model. But I do think it's important to know and understand the different ways games generate revenue. As a developer the most traditional way might not always be the best for the game you’re working on. We all love making games and need to understand the business so that we can continue to make more games and eventually financially and critically successful games. Read here Video games as Art