By: Bill Gephardt, KSL
Earlier this month, the creator of the extremely popular, and some say extremely frustrating, "Flappy Bird" pulled the plug
on his game.
At the time, it was earning him about $50,000 every day.
Very few apps or games generate that kind of money. So, is developing and selling a game worth it for the average designer, especially if the app is free to download?
“In the case of 'Flappy Bird,' it made money off advertising,” said Roger Altizer, who leads the video game design and production program at the University of Utah.
It's called in-app advertising. Every time someone starts the game, they're bombarded with banner ads paid for by advertisers.
“So you're paid per 10,000 views,” Altizer explained. “You have to get a lot of eyeballs on your app to make sense.”
"Flappy Bird" definitely had a lot of eyeballs on it. It had been downloaded more than 50 million times. Altizer said the majority of games will not get that kind of attention.
“With your average app, with advertising, you could expect to become a dozen-aire. That's about it,” he said.
Other apps generate revenue through in-game purchasing, for example, the ultra-popular "Candy Crush Saga."
“If you want to clear a level, maybe you're stuck on it, you can buy a special little piece of candy for 99 cents, or you can spend $99 and get a special ability that will last the entire game,” Altizer said.
The strategy helped earn the makers of "Candy Crush" $1.9 billion last year. But there's a whole company behind that game.
The man who created "Flappy Bird" said it took him just a couple of days to develop. Altizer said that's the beauty of today's mobile gaming market.
"It used to be when you make big money you had to make a big game. But now we’re seeing some of these smaller games can be very profitable," he said.
Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.