A slight change of subject. This week, I am going to talk about Game Distribution -the Pros and Cons of it. Game distribution companies do help with game distribution (go figure!) but what are the benefits and apparent disadvantages of using a game distribution site?
Let me start with the advantages
1 – Distribution
Game distribution platforms have millions of active players across one or more websites that are ready to play your game. So with a simple submission, and minor modifications, a game developer can post the game and let users play his/her game. Note- don’t confuse it with easy user acquisition because you are not acquiring users (I will come back to it shortly)
2 – Ease of Monetization
Game distribution companies provide easy way to monetize your game with banner ads, pre-roll ads, Rewarded Video Ads or Interstitial ones. As a game developer, you certainly wont worry about contacting Ad Networks, managing or optimizing user impressions.
3 – Minimal Operating Expense
As far as I know, there is no cost involved in hosting or running your game on a Game distribution site. As a developer, all you need to worry about is Game content and not running a business. No overheads, hosting expense, or etc.
Now that I have listed the benefits of using a Game Distribution company, let me go to some of the downsides.
Some of my reservations on using Game Distribution sites are
1 – Distribution is not Acquisition
What do I mean by ‘Distribution is not acquisition”? Its true your game will be played by hundreds, potential millions of game players. But those are users of the game distribution site, they are not your users …. You are not acquiring users. Let me clarify – Netflix owns the viewers not the movie maker. Movie makers / Game developers make their content / game available for Game distribution sites / Netflix. Apart from the obvious fame you get from launching a successful game, you won’t acquire your own users / players.
2 – Closed Circuit
One thing that worries me about Game Distribution sites is that everything is owned, measured, and reported by the game Distribution company. As a game developer, you do operate within the perimeter and associated restrictions of the Game distribution site.
3 – Cannibalization
The downside of hosting your game on a popular a game distribution is that they have thousands of similar games, hence a LOT of competition between games. Each of these games have to compete for the same player’s attention. Most game distribution sites boast 3000 game titles = 3000 competition. Ultimately the newer fish will certainly eat the old one; the cycle continues for players’ attention.
Now what? How should you go about your game?
My answer – it really depends on what your want to get out of your game. If what you want is a passive (but low) income without worrying about building a successful game studio, game distribution is your better choice. But if your goal is to create a successful game that will potentially worth millions, then I recommend otherwise.