Truly free games

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You have probably heard that nothing is free ... and that is true, so what do we mean when we say a "free" game ... and how is this different than "Free to Play".

A free game is simply a game that is monetized through some external mechanism and is not monetized through the player at least not directly. There are a few ways to accomplish this as shown below.

Ad Funded

The idea here is to avoid predatory monetization scams ... I mean schemes ... by instead using the broadcast TV model; that is commercials / ads. With games that old tried and true model of ad space can be made less annoying and more valuable by adding engagements of various types.

Tip Unity and others have tools to help you with ads ... did you know Google is not a search engine its a marketing company. Yes ads make money and a lot of it. They can be problematic in and of them selves but ads are at least capable of being an honest form of revenue.

Playable Ads

These are mini-games ... or really they are ads in the guise of a mini-game usually with some reward for doing it.

Ad Rewards

Like the above but lower effort, here you simply ask the user to consume an ad for a required period of time to get a reward.

Product Placement

A lot of work is being done here and a lot of it feels dystopian hell scape ๐Ÿ˜จthat said depending on the game it can be done well ... it can even deepen the game ... done poorly ... yes its a hell scape, still miles better than whaling though.

Old School

Simply have ads in your game like a web page would. Its low effort, likely to annoy your games and not likely to drive much ad engagement which is where you get paid ... but it is a thing you can do.

Companion Games

Many believe that engagement is the key to a successful game. If you do then you want to find ways to get your gamers engaged and keep them engaged in your world. Companion games are a good way to do that. These are usually small light ... "casual" ... games set in your game world and perhaps even connected to your "main" game in some way.

Classically you do not monetize the companion game its self and you do make it playable without requiring the "main" game. This companion thus serves as really engaging advertisement for your main game and a means to keep your players engaged when they aren't playing your main game.


You will note that most of these are dead ... or they have been stuffed with tools to help the player monetize through predatory practices while out of game. There is something to be said there. Still companion games/apps are a tool available to you and an interesting one.

Anno 2205 Asteroid Miner

This was a simple match the gems style game for mobile platforms that let you earn rare materials that you could send to your account and use in your desktop game.

Fallout Pipboy App

An interesting take as this was meant to be used while playing the game ... ??? is it still a companion game ... its also really just a menu ... so is it relevant we don't think so but thought we would mention it to give you some ideas

WoW Companion

Lets you interact with the game and your in game community while away from the main game.

Eve Portal

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