Making Money with HTML5 Games in 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 7:30 – 9:00 PM

HTML5 Games members, clear your calendars and get ready for an awesome Wednesday night!
Congratulations! You’ve created an amazing HTML5 game!  Now what?  Where do you distribute it?  How do you make money with it?

We put together some rockstar presenters who will answer these questions and help you learn how to make money with your HTML5 game.

Our presenters will provide an overview of the current state of distribution and monetization for HTML5 games.
They will also reveal the latest best practices for monetizing your HTML5 game in 2013.

Jesse Freeman, Windows 8 Game Evangelist at Microsoft and Author of “Intro To HTML5 Game Dev”
Jamie Hall, Co-Founder, President & CTO of MocoSpace
Elle Chen, License Manager of BoosterMedia
Robert Grossberg and Vincent Obermeier, CEO and President of Tresensa
and more …

Please RSVP at our page –

Hi, I’m organizing this free HTML5 Games Meetup event on Thurs 3/14 at Tresensa!

Ibon at Ludei is presenting.  Should be a great event!

Thurs, 3/14/2013 7:00 – 9:00 PM


443 Park Avenue South (at 30th St.), Suite 601., New York, NY

Ludei will present an in-depth overview of how the Ludei HTML5 Game Platform can help developers
- Accelerate HTML5 game canvas performance by up to 1,000%
- Monetize HTML5 games using ads and In-App purchases
- Deploy HTML5 games to the App Store and Google Play with no code changes

Additionally, will give explain how each of the following work together to help HTML5 game developers
- CocoonJS Virtual Machine
- CAAT Game Engine
- Ludei HTML5 Enhancement APIs – Graphics Acceleration, Multichannel Audio, other HW APIs
- Ludei HTML5 Extension APIs – Access to In-App Payments, Native Ad Networks, Analytics, Push Notifications, Live App Updates
- Ludei Cloud Compiler – Turn your HTML5 project into a native app for delivery to the app stores, automagically.

Pizza, Beer, soft drinks, snacks and awesome door prizes.

Please RSVP at our page –

If you’re around for GDC this year come see my presentation about HTML5 Games!



If you’re in New York July 24 – 25 2013, I’ll be giving a presentation about HTML5 games at DevCon5 NYC HTML5 Conference.  Come check it out!




Like last week’s post on mobile revenue models, gaming isn’t a revenue model itself, but it does offer a number of interesting revenue models and is worth discussing in a post in this series. This is the last post in the revenue model series, which is based on the peer produced revenue model hackpad we created at the start of the series.

Gaming is interesting because there are a number of revenue options that game developers can choose from when thinking about how to make money from their game. The hackpad lists the following:


Freemium – Free to play w/ virtual currency – ex. Zynga

Freemium – Free to play w/ pay restricted levels. ex LOTR online

Free to play w/ cosmetic items – e.g. Dota 2, Team Fortress 2 (differs from freemium in that there’s no premium)

Subscription- ex. World of Warcraft

Premium – ex. xBox games

DLC – (Downloadable Content) – ex. Call of Duty

Ad Supported – ex –

transaction fee ex

betting – e.g.,

Refer a friend opens new levels

Part of a teleco/OTT partnership

There is still a sizeable business in selling a version of the game to the game player. That’s how the console game (xbox, etc) market works. It is also how downloadable games market works. And there is a vibrant market in mobile games that you have to pay for to play.

But the games market has been moving to newer models in recent years. In app upgrades is certainly one of the more important revenue models. Many of the most popular mobile games are free to play but offer in app upgrades to get more game elements or simply to eliminate the ads. This is an example of the freemium business model in action.

Advertising is another important revenue model. For many web based games, advertising is the dominant form of revenue. On mobile, advertising supports the free offer and the elimination of advertising is often the value proposition for the in app upgrade.

The revenue model that is mostly (but not totally) unique to gaming is virtual goods. Virtual goods (like a tractor in Farmville) allow the player to have more capability in the game and they can be earned over time but are often purchased to enhance game play. This revenue model was inititally created in the asian gaming market but has been adopted by game developers all over the world.

I have been waiting for non gaming web and mobile services to adopt the virtual goods model but have yet to see anything that feels like it is working really well. Virtual goods is another excellent implementation of the freemium approach to business model.

There are game developers who use all of these models at the same time. They might sell their game on certain platforms, they might offer a free ad supported version on mobile with in app upgrades and virtual goods. In many ways, I think the gaming market is the most sophisticated about revenue models of all the sectors in web and mobile. That may stem from the fact that most games have a finite life and so the developer has to extract real revenue quickly to get a return on the investment they have made in developing the game. I think there is a lot that the rest of the web and mobile services world can learn from the gaming market.

A VC: MBA Mondays: Revenue Models – Gaming.

In between the miles of booths at the Consumer Electronics Show, we stopped at the Gaming Summit to listen to a Q&A between Rick Thompson, the gaming investor who co-founded Playdom, and Michael Vorhaus, the managing director of Frank N. Magid Associates research firm. Thompson has had great successes as a tech investor, most recently selling Playdom to Disney for up to $763.2 million in 2010.

He left Playdom in August, 2011. Since that time, Thompson has funded the next generation of game companies, including mobile-gaming firm Funzio, which Gree bought last year for $210 million. He has also invested in Wild Needle (acquired by Zynga for $3.8 million), Idle Games, Red Robot Labs, Grand Cru, Rumble Entertainment, Project Slice, Fun+, Airy Labs, Noise Toys, Viki, Social Shield, Udemy, Triangulate, AdChina, and Iddiction. That probably makes him one of the most active investors in games to date. He serves on the advisory board and is a general partner of Signia Venture Partners.

mobstersIn his interview with Vorhaus, Thompson wasn’t shy. He said that Mark Pincus, the chief executive of Zynga, should give up his supervoting rights that give him control of the social-gaming company. If Pincus does so, said Thompson, Zynga’s stock price would double overnight. Thompson has had the luck of being at the right place at the right time. At Playdom, his team built Mobsters with six people in a week. Within a month, the game was generating $4 million a month.

Here’s an edited transcript of the interview between Vorhaus and Thompson.

Mike Vorhaus: Rick has been spectacularly successful, the founder of many companies with total exits well in excess of $5 billion. Flycast a lot of us remember from the 2000 period, $2 billion dollars there. One of the earliest engineers at Octel, a $2 billion dollar exit. Playdom, which we all know about. Adify, which some of you know about, a statistical ad network. Funzio is Rick’s most recent well-acknowledged success.

I will tell you that Rick does find time for other hobbies. Sometimes for a stand-up paddle board, which reflects the excellent shape Rick is in. He’s a remarkable poker player. Do not play poker against Rick Thompson. So, Rick, how the hell did you get into this whole world? How does a University of California Santa Cruz guy become the founder and entrepreneur of $5 billion worth of companies?

Rick Thompson: How did I get into investing? I remember my first investment. I was 10-years-old. Space was a new thing, the new frontier. I invested in a company called Rocket Research. I saw it double in the course of about six months, and I was hooked.

funzioI’ve always had an interest in the markets and the idea of investing. To me, it has some of the same properties of gambling if you will. Making smart bets. But I didn’t get into investing in private companies until I was an early employee at a successful startup. Even though I was employee number three, I didn’t get a lot of options. I started buying options from departing employees and ended up doing fairly well acquiring secondary shares. Obviously, I didn’t have a lot of capital to work with.

My career path was as an entrepreneur. I identified a new platform — a growing market — online advertising, in 1995. Started a company there. Had an exit and had some capital to work with. I started doing some social investing, I would say, investing alongside some friends angel-style. But I still considered myself an entrepreneur. I started up another company, Adify, in 2005. It was at that point I realized that I liked the early-stage startup process. If I spent my time around fundraising and investing, I could also bring capital to the table. Adify was an instance where it was self-financed by the founders. We got follow-on financing.

As a man approaching the middle 50s with a four-year vest, I wasn’t going to get that many new startup opportunities if I did it serially. I started working with really good teams, investing in them. Sometimes bringing the ideas, sometimes investing in their ideas. Helping with capital formation as a founder but not having an investing schedule. That led to a model that we’re now calling the founder-investor model, where we’ll take oftentimes a percentage of the common, provide some debt financing to the company, and be part of that early stage.

Vorhaus: Founder-funder, I’ve heard you say.

Thompson: Yeah. We’re struggling a bit with the name, but we’ve actually settled on founder-investor.

Vorhaus: Are you a super angel?

Thompson: No, not a super angel. Super angels are super because they do lots of deals — very high velocity — putting in fairly small check sizes. $100,000 to $250,000 dollars in maybe 50 or 60 companies a year.

Vorhaus: Why games? Adify was an ad network. Flycast was advertising infrastructure. But you’ve been in quite a few game companies – six or seven in your portfolio.

Thompson: I didn’t intentionally start out as a games investor. I found myself as one. I invested in a company that was doing applications on the Facebook platform. It was a young, pragmatic team. We looked around and saw what was working. It was pretty clear that there was a big opportunity in games. We had 200 million free users. They wanted games.

We spent one week building a game called Mobsters with six people. We were earning $4 million a month within a week of launch. I found myself in the games business. I gained some insights. My background was online advertising, so I understood customer acquisition, which was a big advantage on Facebook in 2008. As a founder-investor, I didn’t have an investing schedule. I was chairman of the company, but I was also free to invest in other gaming companies.

Vorhaus: Are you a gamer at all? Do you play any games yourself?

Thompson: I play chess. I play poker. My partner Dan Fiden taught me how to play craps last night. I like board games a lot.

How Rick Thompson became the über investor for gaming (interview) | GamesBeat.

Jennifer Schulz is the global head of commerce at Visa.

Nearly one in 10 Americans has purchased a digital good in the past year. Today’s gamers have an unprecedented range of platforms, payment options and preferences to choose from, and there is little doubt that the digital goods economy will continue to grow.

If you’re an online game developer or publisher, there are a lot of questions to answer to determine how to best monetize game content — what platform is best suited to the game environment, how to attract and convert players in different countries, what types of goods will gamers purchase and what fee should be charged for these items? While there’s no single answer, the recent growth of global and local payment options have at least made transactions easier to facilitate.

With this in mind, PlaySpan took a deeper look at four key payment trends that will have a positive impact on the future of game development.

1) Gamers are using multiple channels to make payments

In a recent Magid survey sponsored by PlaySpan, gamers purchasing virtual goods indicated using a wide variety of payment methods. Traditional payment options like credit or debit cards continue to be popular, but alternative payments have increased in popularity and are now being used by a much wider audience of gamers. It’s not surprising considering how “global” online games have become and the myriad of payment options that people are comfortable with around the world.

In the survey, closed loop prepaid game cards, smartphone payment apps, and electronic transfers from personal bank accounts proved to be equally popular to traditional payment methods with more than 10 percent of respondents. In-game credits and virtual currency were also popular payment methods, ahead of services like PayPal.

The data shows there’s no single alternative payment method that stands above the rest. With such broad payment preferences among gamers, developers should be careful not to limit themselves to a single currency type. Without multiple payment options, publishers risk turning away gamers who might not have access, the means or desire to pay with a particular tool.

2) Alternative payments offer appealing features and benefits to gamers

There is already a significant number of gamers who are using alternative payment options, but that number is expected to increase sharply.

The survey data indicates gamers prefer to use alternative payment methods that allow them to pay without entering credit card information each time they make a purchase. Some of the advantages uncovered in the survey results include: alternative payments gave gamers easy access to perks such as loyalty points and rewards, they eliminated the risk of lost or stolen cards and offered easy access to tickets for things like movies, buses and airlines.

More than half of all respondents to the survey revealed they were either “interested,” or “very interested” in these features, which bodes well for greater adoption among mainstream consumers.

3) In-app purchases dominate the growing mobile platform

When smartphone and tablet games began to move into the mainstream, mobile apps fundamentally changed the pricing structure of the gaming industry. In many cases developers could earn more charging $1.99 for a single game than they had charging $10 in the past. However, this model is quickly eroding.

Currently, on the iPhone App Store, of the top 10 highest-grossing games, only one (Angry Birds) is not free to play. And according to Newzoo, a gaming industry market research firm, in-app purchases make up a staggering 91 percent of Android and iOS game revenue (not counting advertising).

Thanks to the growth of the mobile games market, it’s projected that revenue from in-game purchases will increase from the 2011 global total of $2 billion to almost $5 billion by 2016. By then, integrating in-app purchases will be a necessity for any developer wanting their game to succeed financially.

4) Digital wallets gain acceptance, but there are strong differences between genders

Along with other forms of alternative payments, gamers are showing a growing acceptance towards digital wallets and payments made by smartphones. In fact, research shows that 77 percent of gamers are now open to the idea of using digital wallets like by Visa, whether for purchases online or at the point-of-sale.

There are notable differences however when it come to the sexes and the appeal of digital wallets. Awareness of digital wallet payments is almost 50 percent higher among men, and among non-digital wallet users, men showed that they were much more likely (41 percent) than women (31 percent) to adopt them in the future.
What do these trends signify for game developers?

Mobile, PC and console platforms are converging, and there’s no longer a single, one-size-fits-all solution. As consumers move between games, devices and environments, they need their payments to move seamlessly with them and work reliably from any device. Preferred methods of payments are as divergent as players’ interests and tastes in games themselves. As player behavior evolves, so too must developers tailor their games to target these users. In the adoption of new technologies, gamers have historically offered a fertile testing ground for developers. Now developers have the power to capitalize on this trend and provide the choices necessary to help more effectively monetize game content.

With alternative payment methods and digital wallets growing in acceptance, especially for those games with a global appeal, it’s important for game developers and publishers to consider adapting an open payment platform approach.

4 payment trends that will shape the future of game development | GamesBeat.

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes to us from Jan Beckers, co-founder and CEO of HitFox, an incubator focused on investing in and acquiring game distribution and user acquisition startups. This article will be the first in a five-part series of articles analyzing game platforms and the patterns that historically repeat itself.

In the middle of the first decade of the new millennium, the browser materialized as an important new gaming platform. Shortly afterward, Facebook, and other social networks, emerged as the crucial gaming platforms of the time. At the start of the current decade, mobile systems, iOS and Android in particular, moved to the center of attention, revolutionizing global communication and the games market along the way.Jan Beckers headshot

These are also the three distinctive eras of the gaming industry that I experienced as an entrepreneur …

Guest Post: Learning from the past: Patterns in the recent history of game platforms part 1.

Talk about starting early. Jordan Casey made his first game a couple of years ago, and he’s only 13. He isn’t old enough to formally incorporate his business, Casey Games, yet. But he has published multiple titles and is hard at work on his next big release, My Little World.

To all of you overachievers in the video game industry out there — Jordan has got you beat. By the time he’s your age, he’ll probably be running a gaming empire. He is already on the publicity circuit, giving talks at game events and at one of the prestigious TedX conferences. The baby-faced resident of Waterford, Ireland, gets help from his parents, who are the directors in his company and the ones who incorporated it.

Most other kids his age are playing games, but Jordan thinks that making them is more fun …

This 13-year-old boy runs his own mobile game startup | GamesBeat.

OnLive exists as both a troubled cloud gaming service and a product ahead of its time. Regardless of the company’s vision, its recent problems have given a black eye to the public’s perception of cloud gaming. Agawi, led by co-founder and executive chairman Peter Relan, is positioning itself to be a major player in the cloud gaming space by pursuing evolutionary models rather than revolutionary ones, and knowing from the onset that they can’t convert millions of gamers to the cloud overnight.

Agawi, an acronym for “Any game, Anywhere, Instantly” first saw life within Relan’s YouWeb Incubator – which also spawned OpenFeint (purchased by GREE for $104 million). Back then the company was known as iSwifter, offering a flash-based iOS app focused predominately on cloud-based delivery of casual and social games. Agawi is now expanding to Android and Windows 8 tablets as well as Smart TVs – and they’re hoping to bring major publishers and big-budget video games along for the ride.
[Updated] OnLive: “We Are Not Going Out Of Business” Jason Evangelho Jason Evangelho Contributor
Nvidia And Other Tech Powers Betting On Tablet Gaming Revolution Jason Evangelho Jason Evangelho Contributor

I recently spoke with Mr. Relan about the obstacles and misconceptions of cloud gaming, the company’s confidence in the phasing out of traditional consoles, and why Agawi’s roadmap is the right one.

Agawi's Peter Relan: The Problem With Cloud Gaming Isn't The Technology, It's The Business Model – Forbes.