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Make money from re-skinning Smartphone Apps

Updated on September 15, 2014

What is re-skinning?

Re-skinning is the process of obtaining code for an application or game and changing the appearance of the graphics and sound so it looks like your own game.

Obtaining the code is normally done by purchasing it online through certain websites. The cost of the code will of course vary depending of the complexity of it and the time and effort the programmer put into it. For example there are many Flappy Bird clones out there with very simple and cheap code to purchase. Of course that has become very saturated by now, but code utilizing 3D graphics and environments such as Unity could cost anywhere from $200 to $5000 dollars.

How do we go about developing Apps

For the iPhone and other iOS devices such as iPad you will need normally need to understand C++ along with understanding of iOS Dev Kit.

For Android powered devices, you will need to know JAVA and an understanding of the SDK Dev kit.

If you are skinning an App then of course you will be skipping the programming part but you still need to go through the implementation. You will need to fully understand how these Dev Kits work as it's not always just a matter of loading the code and running it. There is often some tweaking and updating need to get rid of the compiling error and often run time errors.

Once the code is in place, it's a matter of replacing the graphics and sound which just be clearly visible in the folders.

Once complete you compile the code and upload to either iTunes or the Google Play store and hope for the best.

How is money made?

Apps with a price tag of course make money for every download, but why are so many Apps free?

The reason is due to the advertisements and pop-ups. We should all have noticed them, since they come in two formats.

1. Banner Ads - This sit in the footer or header of your screen.

2. Interstitial Ads - These are the full screen pop-up type ads which usually appear between levels.

Many games nowadays have a combination of the above, where the first level are easy but in order to progress, power-ups are needed which come at a price. This is what is called "In-game purchases".

Most code you buy for re-skinning has two options, the non-sell cheaper option, or the price tag more expensive option. Either way you can put ads in the non-sell option to make money. If you have a lot of Apps in the store then it can add up.

The most popular type of ad is the Google Admob which you can use if you have an Adsense account. The earning are combined with your regular Adsense earnings.

The Obstacles

The most difficult challenge with re-skinning must be the graphics design. If you purchase an App for re-skinning with beautiful graphics then you are going to have to design your own graphics the same standard which is difficult for many people. I recommend you purchase a graphics tablet stylus and use the following free software.

InkScape - Vector drawing software

Gimp - Bitmap software

Vector consists of lines and points only therefore it needs to be converted to bitmap before using in games.

It is probably better to use this software than to dive into application such Photoshop, unless you are already able to use it.

Sound is not so much of a problem and there are 1000's of online sound effects free libraries. For the background music if you know how to use music software such FL Studio or Reason, you can create a simple house/techno type tracking by just using the stock sounds. A simple techno track can be put together in less than 30 mins if you know what you are doing.

Inkscape - Free but powerful

How long does it take?

This will all depend on the type of application you are re-skinning. If you are re-skinning a basic App then it could be done in a couple of days, or even a day if you have spare time.

A simple 2D game may take a few days with all the graphics etc.. and a more complex 2D game may take a week or so with all the animations, sprites, objects and backgrounds.

A 3D game could take months, but depending on how many people you have working on it.

Simple Apps can normally be re-skinned by just one person, however a team may be required for more complex Apps.

The costs involved

For the Google Play Developer license for Android devices it costs only $25 for a one time payment and you can upload an unlimited number of Apps.

The iOS is more expensive with a $99 yearly developer fee.

You will normally make this money back of course however, how much money you really make depends on the Game or Apps. Remember you App lack originality however you will have skipped the marketing stage getting into that slice of cake with a popular App or game. Popular games have many clones for a reason - they do well, get a lot of downloads and make money.

If you want to make an original game, you will have to take the longer route and learn how to code in either Java or C++, or pay a coder if you have the budget to do so.


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    • Hezekiah profile image

      Hezekiah 3 years ago from Japan

      Yes it is, and I do use Google to monetize too.

    • novator profile image

      novator 3 years ago from Denver

      Is that your app that you re-skinned? I don't download or use apps, so I can't investigate, but are you using google monetizing methods?