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03 July 2021

How to Start an Online Video Game Store?

Video games are one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world economy, with combined income long exceeding that of the music and film industries. At the same time, as the experience of many startups shows, this industry is far from saturation. There is still plenty of room for new projects, including marketplaces. Therefore, in this article we will tell you in detail how to create an online video game store like Steam, what you need for this, what nuances you need to take into account and how much such development costs approximately.

Step 1: choose a platform and niche


Global video game market size by segment. Source


As with common e-commerce startups, when developing your own online video game store, the first thing you need to do is decide what and to whom you will sell. In the case of a video game store, this decision comes down to the choice of the gaming platform - the type of device on which people will play games. Such platforms can be large and portable consoles, computers, smartphones, tablets, browsers. VR devices are also gaining popularity recently, but this is happening rather slowly.

It would be wrong to choose games by direction - shooter, arcade, role-play, simulator, strategy, tactics or MMOG, since games can be downloaded from the marketplace built directly into the game console. There is simply no reason for players to look elsewhere for the game - it's harder, longer and often more expensive. Therefore, you need to lure people to your site in a different way.

For example, mobile video games are downloaded from the App Store and Google Play in almost 100% of cases, while console games are downloaded from the Playstation Store and Xbox Store. There is a small variety only on the computer games market, but the Steam marketplace dominates here, with a share of about 70%. The rest of the market is divided between the stores of major distributors and developers (Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and others).

Besides choosing a gaming platform, you also need to decide:

Step 2: create a unique value proposition


Number of players by region for 2020. Source


Few of the ordinary players know, but when video game developers or distributors list their game on Steam, they commit to selling it on that site at the lowest price. For example, if they sell a game on Steam for $ 50, then that game should be at least $ 50 in other stores. If the game out of Steam is sold for less than $ 50, then it will be removed from the Steam listing (+ a penalty may be paid to the marketplace for a breach of contract). And this is a common practice in this market, because you are unlikely to be able to sell video games in your online store lower than on other sites.

Therefore, in order to attract buyers to your online video game store, you need something else - a unique value proposition. The easiest option is to become the exclusive video game provider in your country or region. This practice exists in the MMOG and network games market, where you need not just sell discs, but create a network of servers for games in your region.

Another option is to offer players games with enhanced content. This is also a traditional practice: the player buys not just a game, but also several mods to it, which add bonus levels, items, locations, etc. You can create such mods yourself or outsource a game development company. In addition, the mods can be developed by the players themselves, and you will choose among the best and finance their finishing off.

Another option is to attract buyers with unique content. For example, you can review games and leave a button to buy them. You can also create news content, keep a blog on YouTube. You can also sell not only games, but also related merchandise: figurines, clothes, stickers, etc. A more difficult option is to make your own collectible editions of video games for their exclusive sale only in your online store.

Step 3: decide on the video game store functionality


What functions do online shoppers need the most. Source


User panel. Responsible for the interaction of your online video game store with the end customer. Using the functionality of this interface, users will search for games and buy them on your platform.

Here are the things to add to the user panel of an online video game store:

Admin panel. This interface will allow your employees to monitor the status of the platform and solve problems that have arisen. Requires the implementation of the following functions:

Step 4: choose a technology stack and API for development



Step 5: start developing your online store


When launching your online video game store, you must understand that you will have to compete almost directly with the market leaders, since video games are the same everywhere and cost the same. To succeed in this confrontation, you need a platform with a unique, personalized design, quality code and high security. A project of this level can be implemented only with the help of custom development, which is better to entrust to a full-cycle development company. How to find such a technical partner and what to look for when choosing one, we have described in the article: «How to choose a developer company».

When you choose a partner, you will go through the next development cycle with him:

  1. Signing a contract. First, you, as a customer and a development company as a performer create a technical description of the project, agree on the development time and cost, as well as performance indicators. When all this is agreed, you draw up a contract and sign it.

  2. Prototyping the application. In the second stage of development, the interface designer analyzes user flows and creates a wireframe for your online store. After that the frame is sent to the customer for approval.

  3. Creating interface design. At the third stage, a UI designer comes into play, who, based on the wireframe and analysis of the target audience, creates a layout for the site and / or application of the store. A layout is a static vision of the design as it will be presented to customers. If the customer likes the layout, then a prototype is created on its basis - an animated simulation of the user interface design, where all buttons, icons, videos and transitions work, but functions do not work.

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