How Games Make Money
By Jeff Grubb
How Games Make Money is a podcast where host and GamesBeat editor Jeff Grubb talks to people in and around the business of video games. The purpose of each episode is to find out how different people are bringing in cash from games. Jeff talks with developers, publishers, executives, content creators, tool makers, and more.
Look for new episodes every Friday.
Look for new episodes every Friday.
How devs can more intelligently spend money to make money
Adam Lieb sits down with me to talk about GameSight, which is a performance marketing company for the rest of us. While performance marketing has dominated mobile gaming, it’s coming late to the traditional console and PC space. GameSight tries to connect data from various resources to determine how spending money can make developers and publishers even more money – but it brings in that data from places like television ads and other traditional avenues for marketing.
November 24, 2021
How Serenity Forge ships physical games when China runs out of cardboard
I talk with Z and Kevin Zhang of Serenity Forge, which is here in Colorado. I met these fellas back at a Denver Comic Con a few years ago, and now they have found themselves in the business of publishing physical games. Most recently, they distributed Doki Doki Literature Club+ into Targets and Walmarts around the world. And they have plans for more projects like that in the future. Discord Patreon
October 13, 2021
How empathy can make your game money
I talk to Steven Spohn and Dr. Chris Power from Able Gamers about their APX certification for game developers. This is a certification that teaches best practices for accessibility to game creators. Steven and Chris explain how those conversations with devs have changed over the last few years as well as the challenges they continue to face. APX Discord Patreon
August 31, 2021
How Plitch is trying to bring back game cheats
On this episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb speaks with one of the cofounders of Megadev, Robert Maroschik, about its game-cheat service Plitch. That is a subscription program that uses programs called "trainers" that can adjust the way games behave. But unlike similar programs, like Cheat Engine, Plitch takes out all of the guesswork. But while Plitch is simple, it faces a complicated landscape where game cheats are no longer part of the norm. Megadev wants to change that. Plitch Discord Patreon
July 26, 2021
HOW SPLITGATE IS PREPPING FOR CROSSPLAY SUCCESS
Discord Patreon I speak with 1047 cofounder Ian Proulx. Ian helped build 1047’s Splitgate competitive shooter that combines combat with a futuresport aesthetic. Splitgate is already available on PC, where it has gained a lot of traction. But now it is headed to console as well, and we talk about that process, self-publishing, and a lot more.
June 22, 2021
How to build a studio that builds a game about building cities
Discord Patreon On this episode, Jeff Grubb speaks with Colossal Order chief executive officer Mariina Hallikainen about the studio’s city-building simulator Cities: Skylines, which is now six years old. Mariina and Jeff talk about supporting a game for more than half a decade as well as how things change when a game immediately surpasses its sales expectations.
May 27, 2021
How Intel is helping people fall in love with gaming laptops
Discord Patreon On this episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb has a conversation with Intel's Joakim Algstam about the new Tiger Lake-H CPUs. These chips are speedy, great for gaming, and great for creation, and Intel is working with OEMs to build laptops that can serve all of those needs.
May 13, 2021
How Xbox will stream games to iOS with Rainway
Discord Patreon Rainway + Xbox news On this episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb speaks with the CEO of streaming-technology company Rainway, Andrew Sampson. Rainway revealed this week that it is working with Microsoft to power the Xbox streaming solution to browsers on mobile devices. Sampson explains how that deal works and why Rainway is well positioned to deliver on that promise.
April 19, 2021
How Gamefam built its business around Roblox
Discord Patreon On this week's episode, host Jeff Grubb talks to Joe Ferencz, chief executive officer of Gamefam, which is a studio that works exclusively on Roblox games. Ferencz started the company a few years ago with an idea of bringing traditional-game-development processes to the Roblox community. Now, Gamefam works directly with those creators to build the best and most lucrative versions of their Roblox games. We talk about all of that and more.
April 02, 2021
How Jake Randall can help you find a next-gen console
Discord Patreon Jake Randall is a YouTuber who helps people get a PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. His streams have resulted in a lot of success for people who just want to get into the next-gen but previously couldn't find the hardware. So now he sits down with Jeff Grubb to talk about what that is like.
March 24, 2021
How to bring Frostbite Engine to Nintendo Switch
Support this show on Patreon.com/jeffgrubb Join my Discord: https://discord.gg/qktBHjGG8W On this episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb talks to PopCap Vancouver producer Melvin Teo. The team at PopCap is porting Plants vs. Zombies: Battle for Neighborville to the Nintendo Switch, and Teo explains what that process was like. That includes the challenges of bringing the Frostbite Engine that powers PVZ to the Switch for the first time. Teo also talks about working with a porting studio and about hopes of reaching a new audience on Switch.
March 02, 2021
How making games has changed over 30 years (w/ David Whatley)
Support this show on Patreon.com/jeffgrubb Join my Discord: https://discord.gg/qktBHjGG8W David Whatley is the founder and chief executive officer of game developer Simutronics, which he founded out of his parents home in 1987. He built games back then that are still in active development today. Now, however, his team is working on a new mech shooter called Galahad 3093 that is getting an open test on Steam this Saturday, February 6.
February 05, 2021
How PUBG creative director Dave Curd keeps the game fun
On this episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb talks to the new creative director on PUBG, Dave Curd. PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds is at a stage where it's continuing to build content for a loyal audience who have returned to the battle royale shooter for thousands of hours. But it also needs to appeal to any newcomers. Curd, however, doesn't view that as a two different goals. Instead, he thinks the answer is to make the game fun, and then listen to player feedback. He talks about that and more and you can listen to it now.
December 14, 2020
How Dead Cells lives on after the cooperative model
On this week's episode, host Jeff Grubb talks to Evil Empire chief executive officer Steve Filby about starting Evil Empire to take over development of Dead Cells. He also speaks about the advantages of the cooperative model and why Evil Empire is not using it.
November 10, 2020
Chris Person on saving Highlight Reel and going solo
On this week's episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb talks to Highlight Reel host Chris Person about taking his show solo after Kotaku's owners nuked its video staff. Highlight Reel is now a YouTube channel that collects the most interesting and entertaining clips from the world of gaming and then presents them in a slick, Sportscenter-style package. It's great. Chris explains how he started the show and how he was able to take it with him when he left Kotaku. Support the show on Patreon.com/hgmm Thank you for listening You can get more from me at GamesBeat.com Email me about the podcast at email@example.com with the subject line: How Games Make Money Or reach out on Twitter: I’m @JeffGrubb The podcast is @HGMMshow
October 21, 2020
How Tempo Storm is building the Bloomberg of esports
On this week's episode, host Jeffrey Grubb talks to Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk, who is the chief executive officer of the esports organization Tempo Storm. He started out as a pro gamer, but he also equally embraced life as a content creator. Eventually, he started Tempo Storm and stepped into the CEO role to focus on creating a multimedia company that leverages the popularity of its talent both as competitors and as influencers. And now, after years of promoting other people’s games, Tempo Storm is working on a game of its own. And Andrey sees this as his opportunity to turn his business into the Bloomberg of esports. Support the show on Patreon.com/hgmm Thank you for listening You can get more from me at GamesBeat.com Email me about the podcast at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: How Games Make Money Or reach out on Twitter: I’m @JeffGrubb The podcast is @HGMMshow
October 07, 2020
How Quadpay's payment plan works for buying Xbox and PS5
Support the How Games Make Money Patreon Watch on YouTube Email: email@example.com (subject line: How Games Make Money) @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb Rate us on Apple Podcast Quadpay CEO Brad Lindenberg joins me to talk about hooking up with GameStop to help people pay off their purchases over time. As the name suggests, Quadpay enables customers to buy something online or in a store and then break up paying for those goods into four installments over a six week period. Quadpay is one of the new options that GameStop added recently to make it easier for people to pay for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. And I had a lot of questions about how something like this works, and Brad was kind enough to walk us through it. I guess I’ll say that the quick takeaway is that it seems like a fair service that isn’t really equivalent to financing.
September 23, 2020
Is the world's first PS4 owner ready for PS5?
Support the How Games Make Money Patreon Watch on YouTube Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: How Games Make Money) @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb Rate us on Apple Podcast Joey Chiu joins the podcast as a guest this week. He is my friend and a gamer. He was also the first person to buy a PlayStation 4. If you go back to November 2013 and look for news stories from the launch of that console, you’ll find plenty about Joey waiting in line to get the first PS4 in New York City. I actually hung out with Joey that week. I was in town for the PS4 launch event where Sony enabled journalists to get hands-on time with the machine and face-to-face time with the developers. And at night, we would mingle -- remember that? Mingling? -- and Joey was there and I knew him from our time in the 1UP community. So we talked and hung out and then a few days later, his photo was everywhere as the first person to buy a PS4. Well, I realized that I hadn’t had a gamer’s perspective on this show before, so I wanted to do that. And who could possibly be better than the first PS4 owner? This will give me a chance to take his temperature on the PS5. We recorded this before Sony announced its Wednesday PS5 Showcase. But we went over each possible price point and tried to figure out if Joey was going to be among the first to buy a PS5.
September 14, 2020
What it takes to run a game store and the Video Game History Foundation
Thank you for listening! Support the How Games Make Money Patreon Watch on YouTube Email: email@example.com (subject line: How Games Make Money) @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb Rate us on Apple Podcast Kelsey Lewin joins me to talk about running the Pink Gorilla game stores in the Seattle area. She explains what it takes to make that business work and how it has changed over the years. But Kelsey is also the co-director of the Video Game History Foundation, which dedicates itself to preserving the industry’s past. She also shares how she came by her expertise through a long process of curiosity and doing the work.
September 02, 2020
Patreon and episode update
A quick update and the next episode and Patreon announcement. Please help support the show: https://patreon.com/hgmm
August 31, 2020
How security shaped gaming
On this episode, host Jeff Grubb talks to ModernVintageGamer. He’s a YouTuber and game developer who works with Limited Run Games and Night Dive Studios. And he explains that weird amalgamation of job titles. But MVG also talks about homebrew and how security has shaped gaming since the NES.
August 25, 2020
What Xbox is doing to help the next generation of indie games
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb (Let me know this week if you would be open to supporting a Patreon!) gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts Chris Charla, the director of ID@Xbox, joins me to talk about bringing indie games onto the Xbox platform. Chris explains where that program is headed, but we also dive into how far it has come since the days of 50MB limits and publishing requirements on the early Xbox 360. I loved this conversation, and I hope you will to.
August 17, 2020
How games PR agents help developers protect themselves
Stephanie Tinsley joins me to talk about running public relations for a number of video game developers and publishers. Stephanie has her own shop where she provides a much-needed connection between the people who make games and the media as well as consumers. During our conversation, Stephanie and I talk about what it’s like to miss E3, teaching developers how to avoid big mistakes, and the similarities she sees in herself as a mom and a PR person. email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts
August 10, 2020
How Thatgamecompany uses data to build a loving relationship with players
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts Tim Nixon, the director of online experience at Thatgamecompany, joins host Jeff Grubb to talk about designing Sky, which is the studio’s followup to Journey and Flower. Unlike those previous games, though, Sky is a live-service game that is meant to run for months and years. It has already had six seasons of content, and Tim explains how Thatgamecompany uses behavioral data to understand and build relationships with players based on respect.
July 20, 2020
How a GIF can sell a game
email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts On this week's episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb talks with Stuart Morton, publishing director of indie publisher The Irregular Corporation. Morton and Irregular focus on producing simulation and tycoon style games. That includes PC Building Simulator and Balse Model Flight Sim from some of the creators of Kerbal Space Program. Morton explains how important it is to find a game that is easy to share as a GIF on Twitter. He also provides thoughts on the difficulties of working with the tools that platforms like Steam and the Nintendo eShop provide.
July 09, 2020
How a bootstrapping games startup makes money
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts I talk to Jeffery Thompson, Jr. who is one of the founder of Epoch Media. Epoch is a gaming startup that is currently part of the ReaktorX accelerator program in Poland. And it is Jeff’s goal to become the first black American to get venture-capitalist funding in that country. We also talk about the racial biases he faces and whether we should have strong alternatives to the VC-funding system.
June 26, 2020
How Tonic Games Group Plans To Thrive On Live-Service Games
email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts This week I’m talking with Paul Croft and Dave Bailey from Mediatonic, which is sort of morphing into Tonic Games Group. Paul and Dave are cofounders of Mediatonic, which is an indie developer that does a lot of work-for-hire business. But now, the pair are building Tonic Games Group as an overarching publishing company to oversee multiple game-making labels. In our conversation, we talk about what it looks like to build a resilient studio, how live-service games have enabled developers to thrive, and more.
June 20, 2020
How does PC Gamer puts together its PC Gaming Show for E3?
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts This is the How Games Make Money podcast. On for this episode, host Jeff Grubb speaks with PC Gamer editor-in-chief Evan Lahti about The PC Gaming Show. Every June for the last several years, PC Gamer packages together announcements from the world of PC gaming into one, slick presentation. But how does that work? Is it a big effort? And does it even make money? Evan and Jeff talk about all of that and more. Join us, won't you?
June 12, 2020
Why Brazil needs an indie game festival
email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts BIG Festival is Brazil's indie game celebration. It started eight years ago, and it's moving online for BIG Digital this year due to COVID-19. On this episode, host Jeff Grubb speaks with Eliana Russi and Gustavo Steinberg about running BIG Festival. They also explain what it's like to move it online and why Brazil needs something like BIG to establish its own voice.
June 01, 2020
How publishing indie games is like building a band
Guillaume Jamet is the VP of publishing and marketing at Dear Villagers, which is the indie-publishing division of game-distribution company Plug-In Digital. Guillaume joins How Games Make Money host Jeff Grubb to talk about the kinds of studios he wants to work with. He also explains what Dear Villagers looks for in games. Join us, won't you?
May 22, 2020
How gaming YouTubers make money
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts YouTuber and video producer Jake Baldino of Gameranx joins host Jeff Grubb this week to talk about that job. Jake explains how he came to accept the "YouTuber" job title over time. He also explains the back-and-forth relationship that Gameranx has with YouTube's algorithm, viewer expectations, and sponsorships. Join us, won't you? Theme music: Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
May 15, 2020
How developers can still squeeze opportunity from a crowded mobile gaming market
email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts On this week's episode, host Jeff Grubb talks with Idil Canal, the general manager of Max at AppLovin. She oversees a product that enables developers to monetize their games with ads. She also explains how that process has improved over time and whether there's still room for innovation in mobile gaming. Join us, won't you? Theme music: Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
May 08, 2020
How Xbox Game Pass freed Microsoft to make Gears Tactics
Microsoft is releasing Gears Tactics for Windows 10, Xbox Game Pass for PC, and Steam next week, so host Jeff Grubb sits down with the company to talk about it. How did The Coalition settle on a PC-first Gears game? And what does Games Pass enable the studio to do that it otherwise wouldn't? We talk about all that and more. Join us!
April 24, 2020
How to make an indie game that can survive (with Rootpew)
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts On this week's episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb talks with developer Rootpew, who is the creator of prisoner's-dilemma simulator Split or Steal. While Split or Steal has found an audience, it's not a huge source of income for Rootpew. And he talks about how he overcame the costs of keeping the game up and running.
April 17, 2020
Rami Ismail on why games aren't "recession proof"
email@example.com @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts Over the last three weeks, 17 million people filed a jobless claim in the United States. The country is certainly in a recession (or even a depression) -- as is the rest of the world. But hey -- at least video games are "recession proof," right? That's the line Activision chief executive officer Bobby Kotick gave investors back in 2008. But indie developer Rami Ismail doesn't agree with that. Ismail is one half of indie studio Vlambeer, and the executive director of the online multilingual GameDev.World event. And this week he joins the How Games Make Money podcast to talk about all of that and more.
April 10, 2020
How Amber makes money as a work-for-hire studio during a global recession
firstname.lastname@example.org @HGMMShow @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts This week host Jeff Grubb talks with Amber chief executive officer Mihai Pohontu. Amber is a game-development agency that produces its own games but also works with external companies to provide support services. That includes art assets, game design, engineering, and more. Mihai gets into how that business works. He also provides insight into what coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic mean for the future of making games. Mihai then tells the story of how Amber started a studio in Guadalajara, Mexico. Join us, won't you?
April 03, 2020
How do designers create games that make money?
Email: games+podcast.com @HGMMShow My twitter: @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts Mobile gaming is a massive business that makes billions of dollars worldwide each year. On this week's episode, host Jeff Grubb speaks with Metamoki chief game designer Mitch Zamara (@IMakeDotFun). Mitch provides perspective on what it's like to work as a game designer within the rapid-paced environment of mobile games. Join us, won't you!
March 27, 2020
How Spawn On Me makes money talking about people of color in gaming
Email: games+podcast.com @HGMMShow My twitter: @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts On this week's episode of the How Games Make Money podcast, Kahlief Adams of Spawn On Me (@kahjahkins) swoops in to talk about scraping by in the world of content creation. Kahlief makes a podcast about people of color in gaming. He's worked on Spawn On Me for the last six years. For this How Games Make Money, he talks about the costs involved with that project. Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
March 19, 2020
How does Kinda Funny make money talking about video games?
Email: games+podcast.com @HGMMShow My twitter: @JeffGrubb gamesbeat.com Rate us on Apple Podcasts Making money in video games isn't just about developing games and tools. Sometimes it's about developing an audience that wants to hear you talk about PlayStation, Xbox, and more. That's exactly the business that Kinda Funny cofounder Greg Miller is in, and we talk about all of that and more on this week's episode of How Games Make Money. Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
March 13, 2020
How do sports-management games make money?
On this week's episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeff Grubb speaks with Out of the Park Developments chief operating officer Rich Grisham. Out of the Park is the name of the studio as well as its beloved baseball-management simulator, which has had a new release every year for the last two decades. While OOTP has always relied on selling their game as a product, things are starting to change. Now, the studio is getting into subscription services like EA Access, and it has even introduced microtransactions in its new Perfect Team mode. We talk about all of that and more. Join us, won't you? Theme music: Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
March 06, 2020
How do hypercasual games make money?
On the pilot episode of How Games Make Money, host Jeffrey Grubb talks with Ironsource chief financial officer Omer Kaplan about serving up ads in hypercasual games. Do those ads really make money? And why are those ads always for other games? We talk about all of that and more, so listen, won't you? Theme music: Blippy Trance by Kevin MacLeod Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/5759-blippy-trance License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
February 28, 2020
How Games Make Money: It's A Podcast!
This is going to be the How Games Make Money podcast. It isn't that, yet -- but it will be! For now, this is just a quick intro to explain what the show is. If you don't want to listen, here's the short version: How Games Make Money is a podcast where I ask smart people how they make money in the games industry. That's it. Each episode is about 30 minutes. I'll be talking with publishers, developers, content creators, and more. And the conversations are really fascinating so far, and I think you're going to like it. So tune in, give it a chance, and let's all figure out how this business works.
February 27, 2020