Making money online is quite a dream for many. And you will find plenty of gurus claiming how you can just click a magic button and the money will only flow in your bank account. However, it’s important to ignore those shady marketers and focus on what works in the real world. I used to run an arcade website in my earlier days on the Internet and have learned a lot. I wanted to share my experiences and also some of my competitions from back then to help you see whether running an arcade website is something you wish to pursue long term. There’s plenty of money to be made in an online arcade; the question is, do you know how to run one successfully?
Is There Money in Online Arcades?
Before you jump into any business idea, it’s important to understand it thoroughly. You need to understand the target market, the work involved and what your day to day activities are before you pursue this line of work. Like many things in life, running a website or an online arcade will consume a bit of your time. You certainly can make a ton of money from sponsored ads, sponsored games or even charging a membership fee to join your online arcade. So, the lack of money isn’t there; it’s the patience and commitment you need to develop to become a success in this type of businesses.
There is plenty of evidence of why arcades are successful. Look at websites like Facebook Games, Android PlayStore, Apple’s Game section on their store. These are mostly a big collection of arcades. Similarly, sites like Miniclip, Pogo, and Shockwave.com have been in business for decades! In the earlier days, they were mostly based on Flash, but they have adapted to HTML 5 games and mobile app games to keep up with the latest trends. They don’t invest so much of their time, money and energy just because it’s fun. They do it because there’s also money to be made in these market.
Why Start an Online Arcade?
The cool thing about starting an arcade website is that they are much less expensive to get started. You usually don’t need a custom theme or a custom website. You could buy a domain name, shared hosting, install WordPress and upload some free games to get started. You could purchase these games from a provider, ask a developer to make games for you to showcase as a portfolio or you could hire someone from websites like Freelancer or UpWork to make games for you on a monthly basis.
The other reason is, as long as there are children and grown-ups, there will be gamers! People love playing video games and take some time off their busy schedule. So, in a way, video games or online arcade websites are considered evergreen if you take the necessary time to cultivate it regularly. Don’t assume running an arcade website is something you set and forget. You certainly could do it for a little bit of your time, but if you are gone for too long, then the competition will eat you up right away. So, if you want to be like some of the big players like Miniclip, Pogo, etc., you have to go in with full commitment!
Compared to other businesses, the business model is straightforward. People will come to your website, click on a game and play. And you make money from Ads or by offering a premium membership. But in other businesses, you would need to build a list, curate them, survey them to learn more about your customers and much more. You certainly can do all that in your arcade business, but it’s usually much easier to just copy from your competition. Because odds are, they already researched for you!
Pitfalls of Running an Arcade Website
Although it’s great to start an arcade website, one of the major challenges you’ll run into is the gamer’s interest in your games. Sometimes the competition will introduce something so cool that they will make your games look very dull or boring. Or sometimes players just grow up and move onto other things. So, you always have to check your stats on a regular basis to make sure that you are consistently hitting that targeted traffic, income, etc. Keeping a close eye on your competition will also aid you tremendously.
Like any business, there are risks involved. For instance, if your website suddenly becomes a hit and you are getting a ton of traffic on a regular basis, it could spike up your server costs. For situations like those, a standard shared hosting might not be sufficient. You might have to move to a VPS or move to a costly Dedicated server. If you already have money rolling in then moving to a Dedicated Server should be a no-brainer.
Nowadays, people enjoy games that are connected to social networks like Facebook, MySpace, etc. So, developing games with such connectivity can get expensive and could be costly on your server as well. Most developers nowadays use Google’s Cloud SQL or Amazon EC2 to host the backend of their games. But these services can get very expensive as your userbase grows. I recommend getting a fancy dedicated box or integration with these services only after you have money coming in and notice your userbase growing!
What Should You Do?
Before you make up your mind, ask yourself whether you will enjoy doing these kinds of work on a daily basis. You won’t be just making a game or uploading them and forget all about it. For long-term success, you will have to keep your eyes on the competition, notice the latest trends, make adjustments as necessary and also market your website to bring more people in. So, to become an Internet millionaire by running an online arcade does require commitment from you but it’s usually much faster to get started compared to other business opportunities you might come across. All these top arcade sites make millions of dollars each month, but they didn’t do it on their first day. It took a strong commitment and consistent work to get them where they are today!
What do you think? Are you committed enough to start your arcade website and become an Internet millionaire?