[DZone Research] Games: How They're Made, and How They Make Money

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[DZone Research] Games: How They're Made, and How They Make Money

There's a lot of different way to develop games, especially if it's a mobile game. But what are the most popular platforms, languages, and monetization strategies?

· Web Dev Zone ·
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This article is part of the Key Research Findings from the 2018 DZone Guide to Game Development: Building Immersive Worlds.


For our 2018 Guide to Game Development, we surveyed 476 software professionals on various surrounding the practice and craft of game development. In this article, we focus on the data we collected that has to do with languages and platforms used for game development as well as how modern games are monetized. 

Languages and Platforms

Examining the platforms developers are making games for and the languages they use to make those games, some interesting trends emerge. Of the survey respondents who told us they are interested in developing games, the platform that garnered the most interest was Android (70%), while the majority of respondents use Java as their primary language at work (62%). This makes sense, as the Android OS itself is based on Java, and recognizes Java as its official language. Furthermore, the third most mentioned platform among interested game devs is Apple’s iOS (41%), yet only one respondent claimed to actively work with Swift. An interesting correlation emerges here, as JavaScript was the third most popular language among our respondents and the second most popular among those who develop native mobile applications. One possibility is that cross-platform JavaScript frameworks such as React Native are a more popular option among iOS developers than Swift as they allow applications to be deployed on both Android and iOS devices.


With the advent of mobile gaming, internet-connected consoles, and platforms like Steam, game monetization has changed dramatically in the past decade. As established earlier, most respondents who are developing or have developed games are not doing so for commercial purposes, and this is reflected in the responses on how games are being monetized. 48% of respondents with game dev experience say their game/games are free-to-play, and another 43% say they don’t know yet or that it’s too early in development to tell whether the game is free-to-play or pay-to-download. Only 9% of respondents say they are monetizing through pay-to-download games. 83% of respondents say their game/games do not offer unlimited in-game purchases, and 73% say their game/games do not offer one-time in-game purchases such as expansions or additional levels. When asked about personal approval on game monetization strategies, 45% of respondents approved of unlimited in-game purchases; 35% approved of one-time DLC purchases, and another 36% approved of DLC as long as the content was not released and charged for on the game’s release.


The recent explosion of Epic Games's Fortnite titles seems to confirm the trends discussed in this article. A cross-platform game that can be used on all major consoles and mobile operating systems, that's free to download and play but allows for in-game purchases, Fortnite fits the profile of a successful game as delineated by our respondents. 

Do you think these trends in game development will continue or even become the new norm? Or this model just a passing phase? 

Additional Sources

This article is part of the Key Research Findings from the 2018 DZone Guide to Game Development: Building Immersive Worlds.

android development ,dzone research ,game dev ,ios development ,web dev

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