Since the release of GameMaker Studio, a large portion of hobbyists who once used the tool to create freeware Windows games are now taking advantage of the ability to export to mobile devices. This means a new wave of developers, with little experience in distributing their games or conducting business, are now looking for pointers as to how they can profit from their work.
Matthew Bowden’s ‘Making Money with HTML5‘ may be the first e-book to be released that targets this new demographic of developers. Although written from the perspective of someone developing with GameMaker, the book is still relevant to people using alternative tools.
I decided to review this for a couple of reasons. The first, that this is one of the first legitimate e-books written by a GameMaker developer who is advocating the use of tools such as GameMaker: Studio. But more importantly, I wanted to know if Matthew is selling the real deal to the GameMaker community, or if he is just shipping out a piece of e-rubbish for budding developers to lap up? Someone needs to look into it, so I have.
The book, based around Matthew’s personal success in licensing his HTML5 games to publishers, offers a read that is lean and to the point. Certainly, if you are expecting a step-by-step guide on building a game and making an annual salary, like Matthew’s $30k online earnings in 2012, then you probably aren’t the right person for this book.
If you are already reasonably confident with your skills in GameMaker, or another tool (the book cites Construct 2, and even just using a text editor) and you already have some sense of where you want to go, then ‘Making Money with HTML5‘ will likely appeal to you.
This book is more about breaking down the key processes an HTML5 developer will undertake, and covering a handful of different ways to make money from HTML5 games. Specifically, the core focus in the book is about optimizing games for mobile and desktop browsers, and getting it out to web portals in a profitable and sustainable way. From the different ways you can license your software, to advertising methods, and ways to professionally approach game portal administrators.
This book will appeal to people needing support and guidance in the right direction. It will not make you a developer overnight.
Although Matthew does share a number of online resources, it may disappoint you to find that it does not come with a long list of publishers you can sell your games to. Instead, you are encouraged (and shown how) to source your own game portals and websites. Perhaps this is more useful in the long run than a temporary list of existing options, though.
If you are a GameMaker developer interested in HTML5, you will struggle to find any other resource that will be as useful as ‘Making Money with HTML5‘ at this stage, so it’s a reasonable investment. Though this is not a huge book, the information is concentrated. You are paying for purity in the content, not fluff that any snake oil salesman could give you. On top of that, you certainly won’t find information comparable to Matthew’s personal experiences and advice for free.
In all, ‘Making Money with HTML5‘ is a publication with key advice that is highly helpful in pushing you into the right direction and bulking up your confidence and understanding of the HTML5 world. It will serve best in teaching and refining the knowledge of people who already have some level of competency in game design.