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AFA Play 2018 Panel Recap: Tips on How Game Companies Make Money (Part 1)

By Muhammad Bilal Syahrir

From what the best way to monetize your games to tips to be a VR developer, this is our first part of tips on how game companies make money.


During AFA Play 2018, four game industry actors stepped up to share their experience in “How Game Companies Make Money” panel. I had the chance to listen to what they discussed, and here is the recap.

This year’s AFA Play 2018 collaborated with Anime Festival Asia (AFA) at Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE). Aside from all other Anime-related events at the stage, one event was related to the game industry. The panel is called “How Game Companies Make Money”.

There were four panelists during this panel. Those four people were:

  1. Shieny Aprilia: CMO of Agate International
  2. Nico Alyus: CEO of OmniVR
  3. Kris Antoni Hadiputra: CEO of Toge Productions
  4. Febrianto Nur Anwari: Senior Editor at Duniaku.net and Lead Editor at Game Prime

I will share the recap based on the topics that were brought up and the insights from each of the panelists. Note that there will be 2 parts for the recap. So for the part 1, here we go.

In terms of selling games, which one is the better platform for selling games for Toge Production, digital or physical?

Kris Antoni shared his thoughts by saying:

“At Toge, we are currently focusing on the digital platform. First is because that the distribution process is far faster and there are many platforms such as Steam, GOG, PSN, and Nintendo eShop.”

“However, this does not mean we do not go for the physical aspect. We sometimes create limited edition games/merchandise. And we also only select a couple of regions. This is to reduce the cost of production and shipping.”

“In terms of revenue share, it’s basically the same for digital and physical. However for physical, since you have to put in production cost, the margin is much smaller.”

How many downloads or active users do a developer need to utilize the maximum of ads to at least break even?

Shieny, who is an expert and experienced in game marketing explained:

“If we are talking about ads, it’s not basically from downloads, but rather, active users. Let’s say there is a game that has millions of downloads like Juragan Terminal from Agate. The total number of active users are around thousands. This is because we do not update content routinely. So this impacts to the revenue we earn, which is low.”

“In Indonesia, however, to maximize the ads we use and to at least break even, a game would need at least hundreds of thousands to millions of active users. You will need to work hard in order to get revenue through ads. I will say this, it is not recommended to monetize only from ads if the target audience is Indonesia.”

If ads are not a great way to monetize games in Indonesia, then what is?

Shieny went on to explain:

“In-app purchase. In a world where virtual payment is far easier to access these days, this feature definitely will help out in terms of monetizing. The in-app purchase may include loot boxes, diamonds, characters, and others.”

“Another effective monetization feature for Indonesia may be “peer pressure”. In Agate, we have a game named Football Saga. It is a co-op game where you play football with other friends.”

“When your friend buys a good character and plays in your team, you will feel that you are not as good as before. Hence, this makes you want to also buy.”

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In Kris’ perspective, he shared:

“In terms of Indonesia market, we feel that the audience are not willing to spend much on games. Especially when piracy is something closely related to the country. This is why Toge aims its games in the international market.”

“Countries abroad are more tolerant in spending money for games. But luckily, the Indonesian market is slowly but surely starting to realize themselves. And we try to amplify this by selling cheap Steam codes during events in Indonesia.”

Want to know what Nico Alyus had to say regarding VR in Indonesia and the best way to make money? Check out the next page.

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My main mission: Making Indonesian Game Industry big!