Arcade Thunder

Chris Weber, Founder

Arcade Thunder Arcade Thunder
Building a free digital arcade

In 2006, Chris Weber, then still a high school student, launched his first gaming website called Thunder Games. By the time he reached college in 2011, he had some web design experience and decided to build out the site even more and launched "I put Google Analytics on the site," he recalls, "and at first it was three people a day, then 50, then 100 and it just kept growing faster than I ever imagined.

It reached a point where I started viewing it as a potential business opportunity." Chris turned to YouTube and scoured content to learn how to make money from a website. Soon he discovered AdSense. "When I first started with AdSense in 2012, I was making about $3 per day. Then within about a month I hit the $100 payment threshold and got a paycheck in the mail. I’ve been able to keep the revenue growing ever since, even seeing a 20% bump since March 2019."

Arcade Thunder
Scaling the website

Ten years later, 150,000 people visit Chris’s site,, each month to play games. As the site grew, Chris brought his wife, Brianna, on board to help grow the business. "Brianna focuses on finding games and keeping the site up to date, while I do more of the behind the scenes work such as coding, SEO, and writing game descriptions." And as their ad revenue grows, Chris is able to re-invest in the site, "We’ve made some custom games and bought digital tools to build better games," he says. "The ads provide a healthy monthly income to support the site." Chris also uses tools like Google Analytics to help inform what games he should invest in. "I love looking at Google Analytics to see what the trends are. It has evolved a lot during the pandemic with social and solo player games, and I use that data to help gauge future content."

Along with this growth, Chris has seen positive feedback from the Arcade Thunder community. "People write in sharing that playing a game is part of their daily routine now," he says. "Others share that they’re elderly and immobile and being able to play these games gives them some joy in their day. That makes me really happy and is such a motivator."

Keeping access to these games free is both a business decision and a crucial way of maintaining that connection with his audience. "Keeping the site free is in part just the nature of the business," Chris explains. "People don’t want to pay to play a game, even a small payment, and they’d pass on the site. I have a base of loyal visitors who come back every day and I wouldn’t want to alienate them with a paywall. So to have ad revenue to fund the site is a really reliable business model."

“We’ve been able to build something amazing - and it’s something anyone can do with this kind of business model and the ability to make money online with ads, anyone can do it, you just need the drive and the passion.”
Creating a new family business

Though Arcade Thunder is growing rapidly, Chris still balances working on the site with working at his family’s other business - a local bowling alley, Southland Lanes, in Middleburg Heights, Ohio. "I love supporting the business working at the bowling alley," he shares, "but I’m excited to take ArcadeThunder to the next level." Even with his time split, Chris has been able to scale his business rapidly. "People write in thinking we’re this big business but it’s really just me and my wife, and I think that’s incredibly cool," he says. "We’ve been able to build something amazing - and it’s something anyone can do with the ability to make money online with ads. You just need the drive and the passion."

Speaking of which, – "even last night Brianna and I were working on the site until 4AM trying to fix a problem," Chris recalls. "Just getting that little sense of accomplishment and seeing progress is super rewarding and keeps me motivated. I’m really excited to see where this goes."

About the Publisher

Chris Weber started creating websites in 2005 at the age of 13. He founded ArcadeThunder fresh out of High School in 2011, and since has grown it into a full time business. Chris lives in Northeast Ohio with his wife, Brianna, and their two dogs and four cats. Outside of ArcadeThunder, Chris works full time at his family’s bowling alley and has started a pinball business. Turning my passions into profits and keeping "work" fun has been my goal.
Chris Weber