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How to

HTML5 games: 3 ways to make money

How can you make a living writing games? Read on to find out more...

Once you’ve built your HTML5 game what do you do with it? There are various options and each one depends on what sort of game you have built and what your ambitions are for it. There are three main ways to make money from your HTML5 games: client work, licensing and monetising the game yourself.

Client work

Client work is arguably the least glamourous way to make money from building HTML5 games, but it is potentially the most reliable for an individual game developer. Many brands and advertisers like to use games in order to sell or publicise their products. They are willing to pay developers to design and create a game specifically for them. Usually the game will feature their product or be somehow related to the brand. If you’re lucky the client will be looking for an exciting game that lets you flex your game developer skills but often they will be looking for a simple version of a classic game, which may not be that fun to create.

The tricky part about client work is finding the work in the first place. The best way to get noticed is to create some great games as a showcase and use those to bring in the paying clients.


Sites like provide a marketplace where HTML5 game developers can showcase their games in front of game publishers who are looking to buy games for their websites. You can build a game and list it in the marketplace and a publisher will offer to buy your game with either an exclusive or non-exclusive licence.

Selling a game licence can make between a few hundred and a few thousand pounds for each licence but you are not guaranteed to sell a license for your game. This means the games need to be made pretty quickly over a few weeks or months to be worthwhile. For this reason, games made for licensing tend to be 2D, casual games, such as simple puzzle games.

Monetise your game

The riskiest but also the most rewarding way to publish your game is to monetise it directly. That could be running adverts in your game, or using virtual currency or in-app purchases to create a free-to-play game. This is how the creators of and have made their fortunes. Are they just lucky or is this a real business strategy?

No doubt that these two games are outliers and extremely popular, yet many other games are much smaller but still successful. For example, take a look at, another online game created by just a single developer (Przemyslaw ‘rezoner’ Sikorski). It is currently partly funded by in game advertising and partly funded by a campaign on crowd-funding site Patreon.

Finally, sites like Facebook, Kongregate and Miniclip all offer Payment APIs so that you can sell virtual goods in your games.It’s a big web out there with millions of players waiting to play your game now all you need to do is build it!