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Thread: Making Money with Flash games: Part I: Licensing to portals

  1. #1
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    Making Money with Flash games: Part I: Licensing to portals

    Due to some recent talks here and also as i get mails with questions on such things each week i decided to post threads on such topics every now an then once i get to it
    All points are based on personal experience and may vary in your case.
    I try to put this a bit like a FAQ
    Any feedback/ additions are welcome to make this a useful ressource to all developers

    So yea, let´s roll, today´s topic: Licensing your game(s) to portals:


    Q:

    How to approach portals, is it ok to just show em my game right away?

    A:

    There are of course also naughty websites who spread around content as soon as they see it/ get hold of it, so ideally before showing it to certain sites you should at least add a url check in your game and obfuscate the swf.
    Check the protecting games thread and others here for more info on that topic.
    Overall, at least the bigger sites are normally trustworthy so for those negotiating about price/ licensing deal specs,then doing a licensing agreement contract and then licensing the game to them AFTER showing the game to them is fine

    Besides that protection side its not a bad idea to make a promo page for your game which features some screenshots and highlights its USP well though, it can only help you in negotiating talks and quickly showing clients why your game is special.


    Q:

    What about prices? How much can i get for game X ?

    A:

    Regarding pricing i can´t tell any exact sums because that varies a lot from client to client,depending on the specs of the licensing deal and the game with its features itself.
    To give a general ballpark range licensing prices for web games range from 500 $- 50 k $ normally so you could get anything in between.

    Again, your results may vary based on the licensing deal specs you go for, which clients you approach, your negotiation skills/luck etc


    Q:

    Licensing deal specs?

    A:

    Generally speaking, regarding the licensing agreement specs: you have to watch out to clearly state whether you licence a game exclusively to one site or non exclusive (so you can license it to several clients) and what usage rights the client gets
    (like is he allowed to spread the game to other sites,allow users to download it, publish it in other form,edit the source,reuse the source for other things etc) and what rights you get (add mochiads in the game for example,keep all IP rights etc). Also clearly state which todos/features are included in the base price (like adding an intro,adopting game to some hs/tracking system)

    The more the client wants of these points and on some other ends,the more it normally reduces your options to make money with the game in other ways, so regarding that you should change your pricing (upwards) accordingly or reevaluate if the deal is worth it.


    Q:

    So tell me, how much do you get per game?


    A:
    I can´t tell what a normal minimum price for our games is, again, that depends on many points (like many of our current games are custom developed to the needs of a client and licensed exclusively to him for a certain timespan at least, but to that thing more in another post/ thread),
    but yeah, our prices are meanwhile normally higher than what the average portal pays per non exclusive game license.
    (Still a very fair deal regarding dev efforts/timespans though )
    Also its not seen as nice business manner (counted even illegal in some countries) to tell/ discuss prices openly.


    Q:

    I want connections to clients, how?

    A:

    Regarding building up solid connections, those come automatically with time, once clients see you deliver good stuff and you see which clients stick to their word, are friendly and pay well and then you do several deals with em

  2. #2
    Hey Timmy!!! walsher's Avatar
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    Sweet Tom, thanks for the good info.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ray Beez's Avatar
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    It's dangerous to post a price range like you did. It should read "$0 - $50k"
    We're gonna have a ton of amateurs thinking their half-assed crap is worth more than gold now.

  4. #4
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    to walsher:
    np mate, glad if it helps

    to Ray:
    sure a price range can vary a lot more than that, i´ve heard of people paying way less and of others getting way more than the max i stated.
    I tried to state range figures of more common prices though, as i said, it depends on many factors which price you can achieve, if your game is crap or exists a million times in pretty much same form on millions of portals, yeah, then you can´t expect to get a lot without a huge chunk of luck of course

    You should consider how much time you spent on a game, how much you think your work time is worth, don´t sell yourself low but yeah, also don´t ask for an unrealistic price regarding your dev efforts, licensing deal specs and game features etc.

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    Patron Saint of Beatings WilloughbyJackson's Avatar
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    Not to open a kettle of fish...but what about sponsorship.

  6. #6
    Axis Games Djugan's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing the knowledge

  7. #7
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    to Will:
    It would only be actual sponsorhip if the sponsoring site doesn´t expect to have any usage rights on your game.
    In reality, what is often labelled as "sponsorship" actually is a "nicer" wording for getting an exclusive or non exclusive usage license for a game, so at the end generally speaking the same topic as i outlined here roughly.
    Still, yup, it often ends up with some different ups and downs, so i didn´t talk about that under this main topic.
    Just like with the other options outlined above its important to make clear which rights/duties each side has.
    Personally i never went for a deal which was entitled as sponsorship deal in some way as those i heard of normally paid too low regarding our expectations/ dev efforts/costs and also those sites then had usage declerations like they´d be allowed to spread the game to any site/in any form (pretty much reducing other revenue ways for the developer with this game a lot if not completely by doing so).
    On the upside since there are things like mochiads where it makes sense to the developer that his game gets spread around on the web as much as possible, suddenly even such deals could get interesting again (if that site doesn´t have anything against you putting your own ads in there).
    As always you have to judge the specific deal/offer, no way to give a general go or nogo.
    So, yup, decide for yourself what looks good to you, again i´m just posting my personal view on things

  8. #8
    Hey Timmy!!! walsher's Avatar
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    I hate to sound stupid but what exactly is mochaids? I see it here and I've seen a few other posts, never of it till now.

  9. #9
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    mochiads is an advertising system for flash content and is in private beta right now.
    Basically you register,log in,set up a new game and it spits out some code you can copy & paste into your game. Once you do that each time your game is loaded it will show an advert, so normally you´d add the code so the ad gets shown before the game starts,in between levels or on game over.
    That way you get money each time your game is played.
    You can read more about it here: http://www.mochiads.com/
    I think i will also do another thread on that topic later

  10. #10
    When in doubt ask Eager Beaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray Beez
    It's dangerous to post a price range like you did. It should read "$0 - $50k"
    We're gonna have a ton of amateurs thinking their half-assed crap is worth more than gold now.
    Good encouragement for amateurs!
    Who wants to pay and play flash games?
    There are hundreds free on-line games sites on the web.
    There are also thousands of flash game developers in the market waiting to get their games sponsored.
    Getting employed in a multimedia company, is better than trying to sell games as a freelancer.

  11. #11
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eager Beaver
    Getting employed in a multimedia company, is better than trying to sell games as a freelancer.
    Please don´t say something like that as if it was a fact, i know freelancers who earn huge sums just like i know agency employees who earn great,then there are also members of both groups who sadly don´t earn great at all.
    Find a way that works well for you but don´t put it as if it was the only good solution.

  12. #12
    When in doubt ask Eager Beaver's Avatar
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    Sorry Tom! I stand to be corrected. However, Some of the problems faced by game developers are,
    a) The clients do not send complete specs., and game play in the beginning.
    b) The deadlines are very tight even though the specs., and game play are changed frequently.
    c) There is always another guy waiting at your back to do the project at half the price.
    Lucky are those who survive.

  13. #13
    Yes we can tomsamson's Avatar
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    np and sorry regarding your negative experiences. Sure, such things can happen and we´ve all been there in between, but then in between comes a client who gives you a nice budget/project timeschedule and pretty much creative freedom, you work hard to pull something nice, it gets liked and played a lot and that makes up for a lot of pain before
    No worries,if it goes down it can go up again,too

  14. #14
    Trainee coder Viza's Avatar
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    Cheers Tom for the insight.
    It should make a good addition to the knowledge base, and I look forward to seeing the rest of the threads yet to come.

    Viza

  15. #15
    Truimagz.com everfornever's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Eager Beaver
    Getting employed in a multimedia company, is better than trying to sell games as a freelancer.
    I tottally disagree, a company working me 40 hours a week would get alot more production out of me for his money than me freelancing my completed games, and it also leaves me to do other things with my 40 hour work from home week.

    Plus many in house positions are very very very rare, not many companies today do any type of flash or animation in house, they just dont have the steady demand for it, and as an outsourced dev, you can charge more when you go in and do things for them.

    I've worked both ends of the spectrum, and Im telling you, in a years time working for a design team in southbeach I made 50k, and that was a very very rare position to get considering I only have a bachelors from the art institute of fort lauderdale which cost me 65K.

    Now I do my own thing and when I want, I work 90% of the time from the local coffee house, no one ever asks if I have a degree, they just ee my work and say wow, or dont care about my education, they just know I can do the work and thats all they care about.

    If I could do it over, I never would have went to school, and instead started my own business years ago.

    This goes out to everyone, if you truly have a passion for art and design, and coding, your going to make money, just keep at it, one day you'll wake up and you'll have a list of residual income clients and so much busines you cant even keep track.

    I have had a passion for art my whole life, this spanded into websites, and then I found flash, but I tell you, as Im sure anyone here can, I have not left my computer in 4 years and since I started doing flash I spend 10 hours a day on flash stuff, not because I have to, but because "I have to".

    So in conclusion, working for a company would not pay me enough to kill the passions I have in making my own works, and being my own boss, I dress how I want, I do what I want, hell I meet most of my new clients at a coffee house wearing blue jeans and a ballcap.

  16. #16
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    "a) The clients do not send complete specs., and game play in the beginning.
    b) The deadlines are very tight even though the specs., and game play are changed frequently.
    c) There is always another guy waiting at your back to do the project at half the price.
    "

    Sorry about this but...

    a) It's down to you to do a design document and get things signed off. It's true, if you put yourself into a position where you can be messed around by a client, you will be. A good producer will always push you for the most they can for what they're paying.
    If you've not covered things off at the start then you deserve it.

    b) True, but again things shouldn't be changing, and if they are you should be able to highlight that and negotiate terms for it happening ( ie, more money, extended deadline, removal of features ).

    c) I think once you're producing games at a certain standard, that's not entirely true. It's one thing going for a $100 in the freelance section here, yeah you are going to get turned over, but then that's people paying next to nothing and wanting the world, and there are always people willing to do that.
    If you're working ( Freelance ) for a digital design agency they don't just farm the work out to the cheapest developer, they want to keep their standard high.

    Squize.

  17. #17
    hippie hater Cimmerian's Avatar
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    Arent you mixing diferent things?I mean, licensing to portals vs making games to clients to promote their products/business vs sponsorship games?

  18. #18
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    Possibly, but if you're licensing a game to a portal, more often than not it's complete and you're just pimping it around.
    In that case, then none of the points I replied to are very valid ( In terms of portals ), as they don't really request a lot of changes, it's usually just branding and hi-score integration, which can hardly be classed as amends.

    Squize.

  19. #19
    Truimagz.com everfornever's Avatar
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    if you're licensing a game to a portal, more often than not it's complete and you're just pimping it around.
    Yeah the money is just a bonus.

  20. #20
    hippie hater Cimmerian's Avatar
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    Ok,Tom, thanks for sharing your knowledgment on this, SO, will the next episodes be
    PART 2: Selling games that promote their products to clients
    PART 3: Selling games to users in your own site
    PART 4: Selling games to users using real arcade
    PART 5: Making money with mochiAds
    PART 6: Making money with sponsorship in your game
    and finally...
    part 7: Charging players to play your MMORPG!!!
    ?

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