Online arcades remain a good way of making money online. They are very popular with younger demographics such as 12 to 17 and 18 to 24.
From a development point of view, creating an online arcade is simple. There are many great arcade scripts available that can be purchased at an affordable price. All you have to do is upload the script and then customise the design to your liking. There are dozens of game distributors online that allow you to download tens of thousands of flash and HTML5 games from their archive free of charge.
The hard work is promoting the arcade. While you may only spend an hour or so creating your arcade, you will undoubtedly spend weeks and months generating traffic through backlinks and networking.
However, if you do manage to generate traffic to your arcade, you will have a website that makes money for you, but requires next to no maintenance on a day to day basis. This is the kind of passive-income generating website that all good internet marketers should have in their portfolio.
In this article, I would like to present to you a selection of popular arcade scripts. Unlike my reviews, I have not purchased and used these scripts. I have simply curated this list to help you choose an internet arcade. It is up to you to research each script thoroughly before downloading or purchasing.
How to Make Money with an Online Arcade
I recommend you check each arcade script listed in this article thoroughly before you take out your wallet and purchase a script. For each arcade script, I recommend that you:
- Check the admin demo and the front end demo – Be sure to spend a lot of time looking at what it has and what it does not have
- Check out the quality of the games
- Take a note of the quantity of games
- Pay attention to the last update of the software – If it has not been updated in a few years, it is probably unsupported and may also be buggy
- Take price into consideration when comparing scripts if you are on a limited budget
- Contact the developers with some questions to get an idea of how good support will be (though a quick pre-purchase reply is no guarantee of good post-sale support)
Once you have chosen an arcade solution and created your internet arcade, you need to focus on promotion. Spend time building backlinks in order to increase your ranking in the search engines. And test out traffic exchanges with other internet arcades as it is a good way to bring new players to your arcade (though it may be better to avoid text link exchanges).
Please remember that the games you will be offering to players are available in thousands of other arcades. Therefore, you need to try and offer something different.
- Display high scores prominently and offer prizes to the top players every month
- Launch a blog to keep players updated of the latest movements in the leaderboards
- Add a discussion forum to encourage players to hang out on your arcade on a daily basis. You can use a free solution such as phpBB or MyBB; or a premium solution such as Xenforo. The goal is to keep players coming back on a day to day basis.
Do not automatically think that more is better. Many website owners make the mistake of spending all their time adding games. While this does increase the number of pages on your website search engines can index; do not place an emphasis of quantity over quality. It is better to be selective about the games you add to your arcade to ensure the overall quality of games for players remains high.
Once you have traffic, you can make money through traditional online advertising methods such as banner ads and Google Adsense. You could also launch additional arcade websites and link them back to your original arcade.
Worst case scenario: If you fail to make money with your arcade website, you will always find a buyer on marketplaces such as Flippa.
Without further ado, let us take a closer look at the arcade scripts that are available online.
Website Arcade Scripts & Solutions
Free Arcade Script – FREE
Free Arcade Script should probably be the first arcade you try. Not only is the script free to download, it is actively updated and support is free through their forum.
The design looks great. It has many zones for displaying advertisements and widgets for statistics and top users. Games can be uploaded manually. You can purchase a game pack from their store that contains thousands of games.
While Free Arcade Script is free to download, if you do choose to use the script, I recommend making a small donation of $5 to the developer to help support ongoing development.
AV Arcade – $39.99+
AV Arcade is one of the best arcade scripts available online. It features an AJAX powered admin area in which you can download flash games from major games distributors such as Kongregate.
The script has great social media support and has an in-built ratings system and pre-defined ad positions to help you increase income. Four unique template designs are included with the script.
A single license for AV Arcade costs $39.99. A 2 website license retails at $54.99 and a 5 website license retails at $64.99.
A number of add ons are also available, such as copyright removal for $20, and a forums add-on for $4.99. The best add-on is the Gamepack; which will add an additional $1,250 games to your arcade for only $5.
Nexus Arcade Script – $39.99
With support for 7 game feeds and over 20,000 games, Nexus Arcade Script is packed full of features. It allows you to trade traffic with other arcades and the built-in ad system supports geo targeting of advertisements.
A mobile version of the arcade is also provided. Users can bookmark their favourite games and message other gamers. High scores are also recorded.
Nexus retails at $39.99 with support being provided through their discussion forums.
MyArcadePlugin – €20+
MyArcadePlugin is an arcade plugin that is available to WordPress users. It allows you to fetch over 70,000 arcade games from 12 game distributors. It also allows you to save users scores.
It comes packaged with a number of bonus plugins and a great looking arcade theme. Since MyArcadePlugin uses WordPress, you can enhance your arcade utilising the thousands of plugins that are available on marketplaces such as WordPress.org and CodeCanyon.
A starter license for MyArcadePlugin is available for only €20. I do not recommend this option as it does not support game translations and only permits one installation.
The ultimate license is the best option. Retailing at €35, it comes with all major features, allows an unlimited number of installations, and comes packaged with over 27,000 games. MyArcadePlugin can install this plan for you for an additional €25.
WP Arcade – $35
Another good option for WordPress users is WP Arcade. They have 11 arcade WordPress themes available on their website. Each theme comes packaged with their WPArcade plugin.
The plugin allows you to fetch games from up to 7 game providers. Each theme comes with a page builder to help you customise pages the way you want. The themes also have pre-defined ad positions and are compatible with WordPress plugins such as BuddyPress and bbPress.
Each theme costs $35. The differences between each theme are mainly cosmetic as they all use the WPArcade plugin. Therefore, regardless of what theme you choose, you will receive the same features.
Arcade Booster – FREE+
Arcade Booster is a mobile friendly arcade script that has good advertising integration. It supports game feeds from ArcadeBooster and TalkArcades.
The script has a built-in membership system that allows users to manage their profiles and their activity. It also has a link exchange system that allows you to swap links with other arcade owners.
Arcade Booster can be downloaded free of charge. The free version includes a basic theme, but does not provide support or allow you to remove their copyright notice.
The premium version is available for $49.99. It offers a mobile friendly theme, the booster theme, and 24 hour email support. A number of other themes can also be purchased from the developers.
Game Site Script – $49.95+
The design of your arcade can be modified using an advanced theme system. The script also lets you ban malicious visitors.
A standard license for Game Site Script is available for $49.95. This permits the script to be installed on one website, access to all standard themes, and free installation. A license for three websites retails at $99.95.
A premium theme entitled Flame is also available for an additional $29.95.
Best Arcade Script – $99+
Best Arcade Script is an interesting arcade script that supports six regular game feed websites and four HTML5 game feeds. It has support for advertisements and a unique grid design that sets it apart from competitors.
Best Arcade Script is one of the most expensive options in this list. The standard license costs $99 and allows use of their script on one website and includes three themes. The professional license costs $299. This allows use on an unlimited number of websites and includes eight themes.
Arcade Trade Script – $29.95
Arcade Trade Script is an arcade content management system that supports four game distributors. It allows you to trade links and traffic with other arcade websites.
Arcade Trade Script retails at $29.95. This permits use of the script on one website. An additional license will need to be purchased for each additional website you use.
A number of plugins and themes are also available; with themes costing $29.95 each.
Pro Arcade Script – FREE
It comes packaged with more than 10,000 flash games and has advertising positions built into the design. A page manager is also available for publishing content and there is a statistics module for seeing how many game plays there were for a given time period.
The Pro Arcade Script, and all games and themes, are 100% free to download. There is also a discussion forum where you can receive support for the script.
Online Games Site Script – $49
Online Games Site Script is a PHP based arcade script that comes packaged with 10 unique themes. It has native support for Google Adsense and banner advertising.
Over 400 games are included with the script and additional games can be installed via the fog.com feed. A user system allows players to submit their high scores to leaderboards.
Online Games Site Script costs $49. This provides you with support and upgrades for the lifetime of the script.
Your Arcade Script – FREE
Your Arcade Script is not the greatest looking arcade script available online; however, it is free to download and comes packaged with over 500 games.
The script was last updated in 2013, though their discussion forums are still very active. Therefore, you should be able to get help with the script if you choose to use it.
Your Arcade Script is 100% free to download and comes with 500 games. The credit link can be removed for only $5. You can also download a 5,700 game pack for $15 and a 1,100 game pack (all games for girls) for only $7.
Scripteen Arcade Script – $15
My first impression of Scripteen Arcade Script was that it looked very basic. However, I actually believe this simple one column design is one of its strengths as it is very easy to navigate and does not present many distractions to visitors.
The script comes preloaded with over 2,700 games. New games can be added manually. The script was built for Google Adsense too; all you need to do is insert your Adsense code in the admin area. Scripteen Arcade Script also has a link exchange system to help you generate traffic (though this technique is probably not the best way to increase traffic to a website today).
A single license for Scripteen Arcade Script retails at $45 and an unlimited license retails at $45. Removing the footer credit link costs an additional $10.
Interestingly, the developers also offer a resell license at $75 that allows you to resell their arcade script to others. Could be an interesting way to make additional income from your arcade (e.g. add a “Run an Arcade like this” link at the bottom of your website that links to a sales page).
The arcade script from Konsort allows you to import games from Goodgamestudios, Kongregate, and Minicip. Based on PHPFox 3, the design looks like a traditional CMS and displays categories and featured games on the sidebar.
Konsort is available for $19. The arcade can be extended through other PHPFox 3 add ons.
OnArcade – €44
OnArcade is a good looking arcade script that offers players a full membership system and an integrated discussion forum. It allows you to import games from MochiMedia and FlashGameDistribution. This opens up to 40,000 games for you to import; however, 1,200 games are provided with the script to get you started.
A traffic exchange system is included to help build traffic and a template system helps you customise your arcade design.
OnArcade retails at €44. After purchase, support is provided directly via email or through their discussion forum.
idev-GAMESITE – FREE
idev-GAMESITE is a basic arcade script that comes with a few different theme options and a few simple games.
idev-GAMESITE is 100% free to download. The themes can be downloaded free too.
3arcade – FREE
Formerly known as ArcadeBlocks, 3arcade is a basic arcade script that features advertising integration. Over 500 games are provided in the zip file.
3arcade is supposed to retail at $10; however, the purchase link does goes to a dead page. The original ArcadeBlocks script and gamepack can still be downloaded free of charge.
ctArcade – €20
ctArcade is an arcade script that lets you import up to 60,000 games through game feeds. It has a built in advertising system for generating income and a template system to help you change your website design easily.
Saved scores and leaderboards are available too, and there is a statistics option to help you track game plays.
A license for ctArcade retails at only €20.
Flash Games Script – $29.95
Flash Games Script is a Google Adsense ready arcade script that comes packaged with over 200 games. Additional games can be uploaded via the admin area.
The front end can display new games, top rated games, and most played games. There are zones for advertising too.
A single license for Flash Games Script retails at $29.95. Five websites will cost you $44.93 and their unlimited license retails at a whopping $569.05. If anyone has ever bought that license, I will be very surprised.
And the Rest…
And then there are the arcade scripts which are still being promoted, but their demo website does not work at all. This includes Trade Arcade Pro, DMS Arcade, My Game Script, One Step Arcade, and Advanced Arcade.
Even if these scripts still work, the fact their demos are not working correctly suggests that they are no longer being developer and are no longer supported. Therefore, I would not waste your time with them.
Internet arcades are a competitive niche. However, there are few barriers for you to get started. Once you have registered a suitable domain, you can have your arcade website online within an hour.
Most of your energy will be spent on generating traffic. If you have existing websites that you can promote your arcade on, you have a head start. The the priority should be to network and build up backlinks to your arcade.
I believe that Free Arcade Script is the best solution to try initially; particularly if you do not want to spend much testing things out. It has a quality design, many great features, is actively supported, and is free to download. All it will cost you to launch an arcade using Free Arcade Script is a $10 domain and a few hours of your time.
The two WordPress arcade solutions, MyArcadePlugin and WP Arcade, are also worth checking out. These solutions will allow you to expand your community in a number of ways due to the number of WordPress plugins that are available; not to mention core WordPress functionality such as a blog and pages etc.
I hope that you found this list of arcade scripts useful. If you have ever launched an arcade website, or are planning on doing so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it :)