Nowadays most people in the world have a smartphone and they install various kinds of apps and games on it. App and game creators earn money when people install their apps and games on their mobiles. You too can earn money by creating mobile apps and games.
What are mobile apps and games?
Mobile apps and games are software applications that run on the mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets just like the computer programs and games that run on the desktop and laptop computers. Mobile apps and games are installed on the mobile operating systems such as Google Android and Apple IOS just like the computer programs that are installed on the computer operating systems such as Microsoft Windows and Apple MAC. If you have a smartphone, (which I am sure you have) then you must be using various apps and playing games on your smartphone.
Mobile apps and games are also called as smartphone apps and games or just phone apps and games.
Why mobile apps and games?
You should consider creating mobile apps and games for below reasons:-
(1) Mostly passive income. Once you create the apps and games, you do not need to do anything else other than promoting them. You may need to update the apps and games occasionally.
(2) The use of smartphones and tablets has increased so much since the last few years and it is increasing every day. In the future nearly, everyone would own a smartphone. Therefore, the use of apps and games would continue to increase.
(3) Apps are the main thing in smartphones. People like to use all kinds of different apps on their smartphones. They are always installing various kinds of apps on their smartphones. People also like to play games on their smartphones. Many people are addicted to mobile gaming.
How you can earn money with mobile apps and games:-
You earn money by creating mobile apps and games and uploading them to the mobile app stores where people would download and install them on their mobile devices. There are three models by which you can earn money with mobile apps and games:-
In the free model, you do not charge any money to the users for using your apps and games. You keep the apps and games totally free. You sign up with the ad networks such as Google admob and show ads in the apps and games and earn money from the ads. The ads are shown when the user is connected to the internet on his mobile device. There are various types of ads such as banner ads, interstitial ads, popup ads, video ads, etc. which can be shown in the apps and games. In games, you can offer some non-monetary reward or benefit to entice the users to watch video ads such as getting another try or attempt after they fail, game coins, etc.
In the freemium model, you create two versions of the apps and games – free and paid. Free version comes with the ads i.e. the users are shown ads when using the apps and games. Paid version without ads i.e. no ads are shown to the users when using the apps and games. You can also include some extra features in the paid version, which the free version does not have. In this way, you earn money when people buy the paid version of apps and games. You can charge more for the paid apps and games if they contain some extra feature or features. You also earn money from the free version of apps and games by way of ads.
Another way you can earn money with freemium model is by way of in-app purchases. It is mostly used for games where the game is free to play but the users have to pay money within the game to unlock next levels, get game coins, more characters, etc. You can also use in-app purchases for apps where the basic functionality of the app is free but the users have to pay money within the app to unlock additional feature or features.
In the premium model, you give a free trial of your apps and games to the users for few days and after that they have to pay money to keep using the apps and games. You can even ask the users to first purchase the apps and games by paying money before using them i.e. without trial, which is not a good idea.
Free and freemium earning models work the best for mobile apps and games. Purely premium earning model does not generally work well for mobile apps and games. You can use different model for different apps and games depending on their type.
What you need for creating mobile apps and games:-
Knowledge of programming language Java or Kotlin for creating android apps and games and knowledge of Swift for creating IOS apps and games.
Android studio IDE for android apps and games and Xcode IDE for IOS apps and games. Both are free to use. You would need MAC operating system to install Xcode IDE. If you do not have a MAC computer then you can install MAC on virtual machine using VMware or virtual box.
If you do not have the knowledge of programming languages:-
If you do not have knowledge of the above-mentioned software programming languages and if you do not want to learn them, creating mobile apps and games is still possible. You have three options:-
(1) You can outsource the development of apps and games to freelancers on freelance sites such as freelancer, elance, upwork, etc. There are also companies who specialize in the development of apps and games for mobile. Obviously, this option would cost you significant amount of money initially to get the apps and games developed. If you think that you have very good ideas for apps and games, which can be very successful and give you high return on your investment, then you may not hesitate in spending money in advance for getting the apps and games developed.
(2) You can use block based online app builders such as MIT app inventor and thunkable which let you build apps and games using drag and drop method. You do not need to have knowledge of software programming languages to use them. However, you still need to learn how to use these app builders. Also a bit of programming knowledge and logic is still useful to use these app builders. It is based on blocks language where you have to slot together blocks of code. It simplifies the programming process. The concept is similar to programming but instead of writing code from scratch, you have to put together blocks of code by dragging and dropping using logic like a puzzle. Therefore, it helps to have basic knowledge of programming. You can only build apps and games for Android using MIT app builder. Any app or game, which you build with thunkable works on both Android and IOS. Thunkable founders used to work for MIT app inventor. MIT app inventor is free but thunkable is no longer free to use.
There are also other drag and drop software, but they can only be used for making games and not apps and they are not free to use. Some of the popular ones are:-
There are tutorials on YouTube and udemy and their own sites on how to use these app builders and game maker software.
(3) You can buy the app and game templates and reskin them. Reskinning simply means purchasing already made apps and games by other developers, modifying and customizing them according to your needs and then publishing them on the app stores as your own apps and games. You just purchase the source code of an app or game and make some minor changes to it such as changing the package name, changing the app or game icon, changing some images in the app or game, etc. and some other changes to personalize the app or game so that people think that you have made it. There are also other people like you who buy the same source code. Therefore, it is necessary to personalize it. Reskinning is much cheaper than outsourcing. Also you do not need knowledge of software programming language to do this nor you need to learn any software.
You need to download and install android studio on your computer to make modifications to Android apps and games and Xcode to make modifications to IOS apps and games. The seller generally provides instructions i.e. documentation regarding how to do basic changes. Sometimes developers make games using game development engines and software such as unreal engine, unity 3d, construct, etc. Therefore, you would need access to those game engines and software to make modifications. I suggest purchasing game templates made in android studio and Xcode as both android studio and Xcode are free to use.
Some of the popular marketplaces to buy app and game source codes are:-
If you have knowledge of Java and Swift and can develop apps and games yourself, then you too can sell your source codes on these marketplaces and earn money. This is another way you can earn money by creating mobile apps and games.
Where to sell mobile apps and games:-
After creating mobile apps and games, you need to list them on:-
Google play store for android apps and games
Apple app store for IOS apps and games
You have to create a developer account for listing your apps and games on google play store and apple app store. You have to pay 25$ one-time to Google and 99$ every year to Apple for listing the apps and games. There is no point in selling apps and games on your own site as people generally install them only from Google play store and Apple app store.
App store optimization:-
It is important to do app store optimisation (ASO) at the time of listing apps and games on Google play store and Apple app store. ASO is the process of optimising the apps and games so that they appear or rank higher in the app store search results. The higher they rank in search results, higher the visibility they would get which means more people would find and download your apps and games ultimately resulting in more income for you. ASO is similar in concept to SEO the main difference being that ASO applies to mobile apps and games while SEO applies to websites and blogs.
Some of the main factors, which leads to higher rankings in app store are including high search volume keyword in the app and game title, writing a good description of the apps and games with keywords, higher amount of downloads, good ratings and reviews. Use attractive and unique icons for apps and games, which would catch the people’s attention. Provide good screenshots of the apps and games, which would make the people, feel like downloading and installing your apps and games on their mobiles. Provide a preview video of apps and games. There are some more things too but these are the most basic and important. You should focus on these. There are millions of other apps and games on app stores. Doing ASO will increase the chances of your apps and games being found and downloaded by people.
Explaining everything in detail about ASO is outside the scope of this post. It would require a separate post of its own. You can get lots of useful free information about doing ASO by searching on Google. There are also courses on ASO available on Udemy.
Some tips for mobile apps and games:-
Finally some useful tips if you decide to start creating mobile apps and games:-
Make Apps, which are useful to the people and solves some problem or helps them in some way. You can also make apps, which are funny and entertaining.
Go on Google play store and Apple app store and see what types of apps and games are downloaded the most. Download and install some of them on your mobile and see how they work and what features they have. You can then incorporate those features in your app and game. Also, see what are the things, which they lack. You can then include those things in your app and game. Read the reviews of people who have used those apps and games. What are the people saying about them? What do they want which is not there in the app or game? What are their criticisms about the app or game?
You can make simple games. There is no need to make big complex graphics heavy games. Many people like to play simple games such as chess, carom, tic-tac-toe, snakes and ladders, word search, puzzles, etc. These simple games are easy to make and take less time to make too. Even if you outsource them, it would cost you much less than other complex games. You just need to make them unique and better than other similar games. Simple games like these do not require high-end smartphones to run so they can be played by anyone who has a basic smartphone.
Make the games moderately difficult to play i.e. not too easy and not too difficult. If the game is too easy, people will not feel any challenge and would soon get bored. If the game is too difficult, people will feel frustrated and annoyed and would remove the game from their device. Moderately difficult game would keep the peoples interest in the game.
People using Android phones are much more than people using Iphones. Therefore, you can concentrate more on making apps and games for Android. Some developers only make apps and games for Android while some only make apps and games for IOS. Do not completely ignore IOS even if you focus on Android. IOS users are willing to spend more money on apps and games than Android users. So develop apps and games for both Android and IOS if you can.
Test each app and game thoroughly on your own phone and ask your friends and relatives or some other people you know to use the apps and games created by you on their phones and ask them for their feedback. Fix any errors, make necessary changes, if required, and then list the apps and games on app store.