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Thread: What are Flash Games Good For? (And Do You Really Play Any of Them?)

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    What are Flash Games Good For? (And Do You Really Play Any of Them?)

    I'm quite curious about where you people feel Flash games fit in the overall gaming landscape. And whether you actually play them or not.

    First, I love Flash. And I am a hard-core gamer with several hundred PC games in my collection. And, I have thoroughly enjoyed making several simple Flash games.

    I know there is some limited opportunity to be had selling these simple games to clients as part of a marketing campaign. Heck, I might even sell one to MiniClip for enough to make a car payment or two.

    And, I have seen several very good Flash games created by folks around here. Jobe Makar's mini-golf is a very cool game that I actually played all the way through once or twice.

    But therein lies the rub. Even as cool as Jobe's game is, I would not likely play it more than a few times. (By comparison, my games are so simple, I'd never play them even once! ) And Jobe's game is about as close to retail commercial-quality as I have ever seen in a Flash game.

    So here's the questions,

    1) what are Flash games good for? I don't expect to see them competing with The Sims or Half-Life any time soon but what are they good for?

    2) can someone make serious money creating Flash games? In commercial game development we see small teams break through from time to time (id-Wolf/Doom/Quake, CroTeam-Serious Sam, Crytek-Far Cry, etc.) and they make serious money. Is there anything even remotely like this in opportunity for Flash game developers?

    3) do you personally play any Flash games more than a token amount? If you are a gamer where do Flash games fit in your gaming experience? (I just spent 4 hours burning through Max Payne 2 and then switched over to Alice for a little Y2K retro gaming but I probably won't invest time to play any Flash games any time soon!)

  2. #2
    Run for your life! Phlook's Avatar
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    1) Flash games are good for small games on websites etc. just to amuse the user, keep them coming back. However flash is diversifying, though i doubt it will reach the point that it is well developed enough to begin creating multi-million dollar applications.

    2) Like i said, i doubt games will end up becoming multi-million dollar programs, but you can make a pretty penny from programming games. As far as ive seen, you can make anywhere between 0 -> 50000 dollars for flash games, depending on permissions/quality

    3) I play flash games mostly to test them out, and to get ideas for my own games. Some games i'll play frequently because they are addicting enough to keep me coming back though. For the most part, i just play beta games from here, and sometimes from addictinggames, to get some motivation for my own programming

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    Flash games are usually coffee-break games, which is why people play them. Someone can play a quick puzzle game without interrupting their work on their computer.

    I can only think of one huge breakthrough, which is the yeti-sports games. Too many people play that game.

    jtnw

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    Flash hates me. crashlanding's Avatar
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    Re: What are Flash Games Good For? (And Do You Really Play Any of Them?)

    Originally posted by XcVbSdRw
    1) what are Flash games good for? I don't expect to see them competing with The Sims or Half-Life any time soon but what are they good for?
    Flash games are good for the little stress releif during a teabreak or a way of playing games when the teacher isn't looking. This is i think the main reasons people play flash games, which is why there is a bigger market for e.g., snake than an rpg.

    Originally posted by XcVbSdRw

    3) do you personally play any Flash games more than a token amount? If you are a gamer where do Flash games fit in your gaming experience? (I just spent 4 hours burning through Max Payne 2 and then switched over to Alice for a little Y2K retro gaming but I probably won't invest time to play any Flash games any time soon!)
    Yes i do. I cant play crazy taxi or worms 3d at school, can i? But i do play flash games at home. Otherwise i probebly wouldn't of becom intereasted in them.


    just my two cents
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    Senior Member random10122's Avatar
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    Re: What are Flash Games Good For? (And Do You Really Play Any of Them?)

    Originally posted by XcVbSdRw

    2) can someone make serious money creating Flash games? In commercial game development we see small teams break through from time to time (id-Wolf/Doom/Quake, CroTeam-Serious Sam, Crytek-Far Cry, etc.) and they make serious money. Is there anything even remotely like this in opportunity for Flash game developers?
    Remember that game, Alien Hominid created by Tom Fulp from Newgrounds? Thats coming out on consoles in a few months... So it is possible, though i think thats probably the only flash-console conversion.

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    Hi XcVbSdRw

    1)As far as I can see flash games are good for kill time activity and even more important, they are very portable, so you can play it at your job, continue at home, and also at school or university. I definitely think their are going to enter the cellular phone world, and like the java games which their only purpose is kill time

    2) money creation of it is a bit complex, well that's a tricky question as a developer I heard guys around here r making some dollars out of it.

    3) yep occasionally, here and there, there are some nice ones
    Cheers, KGTRIP

  7. #7
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    i share the opinion of most others,most flash games are made to be coffee break fun.
    flash has many advantages like being able to create nice stuff in reasonable filesize and reachable over the net by most surfers.
    so making flash games in a way that they are ideal as coffee break game is no bad thing,it opens the chance to reach a huge audience.
    To make a flash game with more lastability and replay value,flash games should not loose what makes them up as ideal cofffee break game: being able to get into the game quickly and also being able to quit it equally quickly.
    that means that even games with vast worlds or several levels should have a instant save and load feature so that the player can really experience a bit more of the game within a coffee break.
    with flash´s performance and feature set rising with each version and the other main advantage of being almost totally platform independant,the (commercial) flash game market has much potential to grow, i think its our (the developers) task (but also chance) to show the world that flash games are not only good as coffee break games.
    right now money can be made with flash games in several ways:
    -licensing a finished game to several gaming/entertainment sites
    -porting flash games to other platforms (mobiles)
    -doing custommade games for clients
    from my experience most money can be made from porting (and selling) flash games on mobiles or doing custom games for big clients.
    I think the main reason for this is that selling games to entertainment portals gets harder and harder the more sites there are which offer free games or just leach games from other sites
    Last edited by tomsamson; 05-09-2004 at 08:32 AM.

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    Senior Member webgeek's Avatar
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    Ok, lots of comments on this thread. I've changed the order of these slightly to make my post easier to follow.

    And, I have seen several very good Flash games created by folks around here. Jobe Makar's mini-golf is a very cool game that I actually played all the way through once or twice.
    Ha ha! I'm glad so many people like Electrotank's Mini Golf. Jobe suprised all of us with that one. Who would have thought it would be so popular?

    In commercial game development we see small teams break through from time to time (id-Wolf/Doom/Quake, CroTeam-Serious Sam, Crytek-Far Cry, etc.) and they make serious money.
    Yes, some do. But the VAST majority of them fail immediatly. The game industry has some of the highest employee and company churn of any industry around. The picture isn't near as optimistic as you portray it here. On top of all that, unless you are a huge hit the salary is lower then you would make in the corporate I/T world. Gamasutra has several articles talking about this.

    do you personally play any Flash games more than a token amount?
    Yes, I'll play the newest stuff on MiniClip and run through some of the other major sites. I generally avoid new grounds because while there are some good games on there, most of the stuff is crap.

    I can only think of one huge breakthrough, which is the yeti-sports games. Too many people play that game.
    I disagree. That game is a cute couple of minutes but has no depth. Look at Real-Arcade, Yahoo Games, Game House, etc. and see what games are the most popular. Generally it's things like card and puzzle games. Games with some depth that are easy to get into and play in a short amount of time. There are many other popular games, but these games are consistently near the top.

    Overall, I agree with Tomsamson's post the most. I would only add that you can also sell Flash games directly to consumers. This is how many sites make their money (Real Arcade, Yahoo Games, etc.). Advertising is just a small part of profit on a big game site.

    Finally, the biggest question for last:
    can someone make serious money creating Flash games?
    Yes. Game House was recently purchased by Real Media for $30,000,000 dollars. Quite a few zeros there. I would consider that serious money. That means Game House was making between 10 to 15 million dollars a year. Remember also that a web-based business has VERY low overhead. Office with employees is about it. You don't have to have retail stores, expensive packaging, physical distribution, etc. Very profitable overall.

    Now before anyone mentions it, the vast majority of GameHouse games were either Java or ShockWave. I feel that more then 90% of their games could have been made in Flash without any real problems.

    I think the problem is that most people build Flash games for fun without an eye for profit. This means that they skip out on profitable areas because those games arn't fun to make. I know that I suffer from this problem.

    Have fun!

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    Hi XcVbSdRw,

    You pose some appropriate and interesting questions. They have been addressed pretty well in this thread but there is one point that I'd like to add.

    You mention break through games like Doom, Half life, etc. Web games are not even in the same league (for now anyway). Actually, 'league' isn't the right word since it implies that one is better than they other....so I'll just say 'category' since they really shouldn't be compared.

    Web games, in general, draw a completely different majority demographic. You find that guys pay $50 for a game that they can play for 75 hours (Diablo, etc). Women, who make up a higher % than men in the web game world, pay $15-20 for simple games that have near infinite replayability. These games generally take about 15 seconds to learn.

    You or I may not think Bejeweled or Fruit Smash is a great way to waste half a day, but there are a significant number of people out there waving their credit cards that find that style of game very attractive.

    I don't know what the total industry yearly earnings are, but if the "guy" games sell $500 mil a year and web games sell $80 mil, there is still a market for them, albeit a smaller one.

    Just some things to think about.

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    Personally i love Flash Games, they pass the time really well and when I'm at school i can always sneak the game behind a window in a lesson.

    A lot of the people I know also like them, as simple as they are, they are entertaining!

    Plus, as a newb developer myself, its a great way to show off to everyone, and I find are a lot of fun to make, even if I do screw up~

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    I can only think of one huge breakthrough, which is the yeti-sports games. Too many people play that game.
    I too was "hooked" on the yeti baseball (or whatever) for several hours. But I think it had less to do with how good the game was and more to do with a cute and novel concept that was well-executed. More than a game, I'd describe it as an effective viral piece albeit with a fairly short lifespan.

    To make a flash game with more lastability and replay value, flash games should not loose what makes them up as ideal cofffee break game: being able to get into the game quickly and also being able to quit it equally quickly. that means that even games with vast worlds or several levels should have a instant save and load feature so that the player can really experience a bit more of the game within a coffee break.
    great point. my daughter and I have been playing InsaniQuarium over at PopCap.com because it is 1) easy to get started on, 2) deep enough to be challenging and 3) they automatically save my progress so I have a reason to return and continue playing.

    Yes, some do. But the VAST majority of them fail immediatly. The game industry has some of the highest employee and company churn of any industry around. The picture isn't near as optimistic as you portray it here. On top of all that, unless you are a huge hit the salary is lower then you would make in the corporate I/T world. Gamasutra has several articles talking about this.
    I never meant to portray it as optimistic. but a similar success/failure curve is ever-present no matter what field you are talking about whether it be game development, rock stardom, becoming president, etc. my point was that a breakthrough in retail commercial game development, however rare, could generate immense amounts of cash while I do not see the same breakthrough opportunity in Flash.

    I would only add that you can also sell Flash games directly to consumers. This is how many sites make their money (Real Arcade, Yahoo Games, etc.). Advertising is just a small part of profit on a big game site.
    of everything suggested here this one seems to me to have the most promise. you'd need something with instant appeal and viral capability and then offer it in a high-traffic location for a small amount of money. but the sheer numbers could make this successful. anyone know of any success stories in this area?

    You mention break through games like Doom, Half life, etc. Web games are not even in the same league (for now anyway). Actually, 'league' isn't the right word since it implies that one is better than they other....so I'll just say 'category' since they really shouldn't be compared.
    I tend to agree with you but I'm really wondering where gaming in general and Flash games in particular may be headed. If I were a young graduate thinking about working in the gaming industry which "league" should I throw in with if I want to make big bucks?

    One other comment, even though I generally agree Flash games are not in the same league as retail commercial games, IMHO with only a bit of expansion, Jobe's mini-golf could easily sit on a retail shelf!

    Web games, in general, draw a completely different majority demographic. You find that guys pay $50 for a game that they can play for 75 hours (Diablo, etc). Women, who make up a higher % than men in the web game world, pay $15-20 for simple games that have near infinite replayability. These games generally take about 15 seconds to learn.
    yeah but what about boxed games like The Sims? The demographic on that one includes a LOT more women. probably the same with Myst. I think these questions can be quite hard to answer because PC gaming is only 25 years old or so and web gaming maybe 5.

    I don't know what the total industry yearly earnings are, but if the "guy" games sell $500 mil a year and web games sell $80 mil, there is still a market for them, albeit a smaller one.
    hmmm. I'd bet there is a much wider gap than that!

  12. #12
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    Hi Dudes
    I was reading this topic and wondering, everybody is sayng that flash games are just to kill time, inst it?
    But does anybody already tried to make a BIG game in flash?
    If all they do is mini games, it will become easy to think this is all flash can do...even if flash can do a lot more
    Has anyone tryed to make a big game in flash?Like the comercial ones, ( those on gamehouse,for example )but flash made ?

  13. #13
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    A lot of that is dependant on the actual market Increu.

    For the most part, it's a buyers market, which by default means not great returns ( I'm mainly talking about the gaming portals here ).
    So you can either make that 1 huge Flash game, and spend 6 months of your life on it, or churn out 4 smaller games in the same time frame, which will earn you more in total and bolster your cv a lot better.

    I seem to have a fairly negative view about things like this, but very little has made me think otherwise.

    Squize.

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    Senior Member youmex's Avatar
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    I don't know a lucrative way if not to do contract work for a big customer or do convert a proven successful game to mobile devices.

    Especially the first case can be paid very well, but it's also hard to get one of these clients. Usually you are nothing if you are a one man show or have not done successfull games before and have a good office (yes, that's important )

    I think doing small games and selling them to portals is nothing you can live from if you work fulltime at it (i assume everyone needs about 2.500 Euros / 2.800 dollars per month at least). Especially since more and more portals come up with selling games and quality has to be quiet high. And since every young guy going to school can produce a flash game and sells it for nothing this way doesn't seem to be promising for me at all. Maybe as a second retail channel, but not as a primary one.
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    Originally posted by jobemjobem


    You or I may not think Bejeweled or Fruit Smash is a great way to waste half a day, but there are a significant number of people out there waving their credit cards that find that style of game very attractive.

    I don't know what the total industry yearly earnings are, but if the "guy" games sell $500 mil a year and web games sell $80 mil, there is still a market for them, albeit a smaller one.
    One important distinction is that the "guy" games are generally a niche market, whereas "web games" are pretty much mass market. So, as the market develops and matures, the mass market is at least 100 times as large as the niche. So even if mass market games make only 1/10th the money per game....

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    Originally posted by youmex
    And since every young guy going to school can produce a flash game and sells it for nothing this way doesn't seem to be promising for me at all.
    You make a very interesting point...the fact that Flash game development has a relatively low cost of entry is a problem as well as a blessing.

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    alternative coder murraymint's Avatar
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    I do think that Macromedia's attempts to complicate Flash with AS2.0 etc have made the program a little more daunting for newbies.

    The actionscript list can look very intimidating and for many they wouldn't know where to start.

    At the heart we know it is as easy as it always was.!

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    ********* mentuat's Avatar
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    1) what are Flash games good for? I don't expect to see them competing with The Sims or Half-Life any time soon but what are they good for?
    flash games can be good for building a community of loyal users - a decent multiplayer game with scope for the user to show off their abilities with 'earnings' or a highscore and a forum to allow the users to chat and compare results.

    of course, how you make money from your loyal user base is another story...

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    Senior Member tonypa's Avatar
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    Originally posted by webgeek
    Now before anyone mentions it, the vast majority of GameHouse games were either Java or ShockWave. I feel that more then 90% of their games could have been made in Flash without any real problems.
    Thats correct and actually players dont care what was used to make the game, they dont even know what are Flash or Java or ShockWave. All they care about, is how fast they can start playing, how the game looks and feels and performs. I think Flash has been stuck with kind of bad image because of all the crappy games made with it, so if you tell someone "this is Flash game", their first reaction is "oh no, not another one". Its actually better not to mention Flash at all

    Originally posted by youmex
    I think doing small games and selling them to portals is nothing you can live from if you work fulltime at it (i assume everyone needs about 2.500 Euros / 2.800 dollars per month at least).
    khm, I only need about 500 Euros per month

    Thats pretty much depends, where you live I guess. I expect soon most Flash games to be made in China like everything else. And as much I have seen chinese game portals, Flash is very popular there.

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    alternative coder murraymint's Avatar
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    Yeah, If you live in England where the cost of living is obscene, the future looks very bleak.

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