Today we are sharing with you a case study from Ivan Panasenko, a game developer who was able to create a simple mobile game from scratch and earned over $30 000 in the first 6 months.
In this case, we are sharing the downloads and revenue details of his game “Endurance” within the six months of its creation. We are going through the download numbers, revenue, monetization methods, and every other detail that led to the $30 640 revenue figure.
Sources of the Game’s Revenue
The revenue comes from both the iOS and Android versions of the game, and also from the console version on Steam. 85% of that revenue comes from mobile versions and 15% from Steam. The game uses 3 main monetization methods, which are:
Total App Downloads in 6 Months
In the first six months from release on mobile platforms, the game got about 515 000 downloads in total. It has about 2 000 to 2 500 downloads a day. 90% of them came from Google Play Store and the rest from iOS App Store. Somehow, the game doesn’t perform so well on iOS.
Monetizing With Ads
For the first two weeks after the launch, he was using only AdMob as the ad network for monetizing and generating ad revenue.
Afterward, he signed up for another ad company called Yodo1. Yodo1 sent him their single SDK, which includes a lot more ad networks including Unity ads, AdMob, Facebook ads, and so much more. However, Yodo charges 10% of the ad revenue you generate per month, which isn’t too much.
Since he opted to use Yodo, his eCPM has increased from $2 to $7, and it got even much higher at some points. Sometimes it went up to $9/1 000 ad impressions, though for the last couple of months it’s settled back at $7.
The total ad impressions he gets per day are generally between 13 000 to 16 000 views and on the weekend it usually gets higher. Mainly because people have more time to play the game.
The ads generate him between $90 — $150/per day.
The game also has in-app purchases which generate between $20 to $35/per day. He tried to monetize with different stuff like limited-time offers and bonuses too.
Summing the ads and in-app purchases, the game generates an average of about $135 per day.
Premium App Version
But that’s not all because the game, Endurance, has a paid/ premium version on Google Play. The premium version is literally the same game as the free version. The only difference is that it has no ads and in-app purchases.
That version gets around $500 to $600/ month. It gets around 10 to 15 downloads/ day. He also does a sale on the last week of each month, and that increases the earnings from the premium version.
We won’t say the specific earnings of the console version on Steam because of non — disclosure reasons. However, when included in the total revenue of the 6 months, the revenue totals to $30 640. The average monthly revenue from the game is $5 100, and all this is from organic downloads, with no paid traffic.
Sources of Traffic for App Downloads
He mainly focused on organic traffic because working with paid traffic wasn’t profitable for him at the start. However, organic traffic is not so stable because it drops at times. He tries to maintain and improve it when it drops by using App Store Optimization (ASO) for the game.
There was a moment when the game’s downloads dropped to 1 000 downloads/ day. He then used App Radar to change the ASO. Within a few weeks, it got back to 2 500 downloads/ day.
Endurance is Ivan’s second game. His first game is called Ailment, and it’s also available on both Google Play and iOS App Store. Ailment gets him around $1 300/ month on both mobile platforms, PC, Nintendo, and Xbox.
This altogether makes his total earnings from simple mobile games $6 400/ month which is all passive income.
Final Advice from Ivan, the Game Developer
“I wanted to tell you the one last thing. If you're working on your first or second game, and you're struggling and looking for some inspiration. I just want to tell you that you’ve got to finish it. It's going to be so cool. It doesn't matter how much revenue you’ll get, but you're going to be so excited. And it’s going to give you so much experience. So just finish your game and publish it, that's the most important thing.”