Making money on Android – tips from an Android developer

I decided to start posting articles to update other Android developers with information I’ve found from in my games released in the past 3 years.

First Game

My first released Android game: Ackmi Dress Up was released on the Android market in the end of 2011, and is still going pretty strong, with regular updates.

The key ideas for that game were:

  1. Find a niche area with high demand and low competition (described in “The 4 hour work week” by Tim Ferris)
  2. Create something as simple as possible, to decrease the development time to as little as possible for first release. Both to test the Niche area, as well as fund further development.
  3. Create something that we could update regularly with new content, to keep it fresh, and players returning to try out the new content.

After we released the game, it was slowly bringing in a few dollars per week, but as October hit, the number of downloads started increasing drastically, and increased even more in December. During December, we made enough from Ad money from Admob to potentially afford a one bedroom apartment with normal food an utility bills!

January Blues

As soon as January hit- we went from making low livable wages, to making about what groceries would cost for the month. The number of people downloading and playing didn’t decrease until the end of January- just the Ad network paid a small portion of what it paid in December for eCPM.

So from this- you can generally expect December to be your best month of the year, and January to be the worst (but it actually continued to decrease for us, occasionally increasing until October again).

In summary:

Things that worked:

  • Find a niche market that isn’t overcrowded yet, and hopefully with high demand (use Google keyword research to determine monthly global searches)
  • Create a product with the smallest development time possible in that market- then try to decrease it as much as possible.
  • Make sure you can update regularly to keep some users

Things that didn’t work:

  • Creating a game that requires months of content creation, with only minutes of gameplay
  • Creating a game with limited re-playability
  • Only having one game during the Christmas season, and not realizing that October->December will give a temporary boost to download numbers/ revenue

I’ll try to touch on more issues/ things learned in future articles.

Let me know if you want to know any specifics! (Aside from very generic questions like “How do I make a game”, or things that you could easily use Google to find out yourself)

2 thoughts on “Making money on Android – tips from an Android developer”

    1. Yep, I used Eclipse with LibGDX (framework- lighter than a game engine), because it allows you to compile in Java and run it on your computer, and deploy to Android effortlessly, which speeds up development.
      AndEngine looks good too, but would take more time, since you actually have to test it out on a device/ emulator.

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