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Thread: [BIZ] Where's The Cash For Flash?

  1. #1
    When you know are. Son of Bryce's Avatar
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    Thumbs up [BIZ] Where's The Cash For Flash?

    Gamasutra has an excellent article on the Flash game development biz hidden on the frontpage. Check it out!

    Where's The Cash For Flash?

    An excerpt...
    Is there money to be made in Flash game development? It depends -- in this feature, Paul Hyman explains the role revenue streams and clever marketing play, with insight provided by notable developers such as Sean Cooper (Boxhead series) and PixelJam's (Dino Run) Miles Tilmann.

    Cooper has a long history in game development going all the way back to 1987, when he joined Bullfrog Productions and worked on titles such as Syndicate and Magic Carpet. He also spent 11 years at Electronic Arts, following the publisher's acquisition of Bullfrog, until 2006 when, on a whim, he built a little Flash game.

    He spent eight days creating the title and received $1,500 for it from a sponsor. At that moment, he decided to strike out on his own and continue to develop small Flash titles:

    "The next step was to create more games, many of them incorporating what would become his signature Boxhead brand, which he describes as 'a collection of fast-paced, zombie-killing games full of action, guns, and loads of blood.' In all, his Web site now contains five Boxhead games plus three under his Wone Games brand and the first in his newest Shadez series brand.

    'The brand is the key thing for me; it's number one,' he explains. 'If gamers like the first game in a series, they'll come back for more when you release the sequels. It's just like the cinema business. That's what drives the revenue.'

    Much of that revenue now comes from sponsorships -- which Cooper says currently go for about $20,000 per game -- and from load-in ad revenue produced by the 1,009 web domains that carry his titles. There's also the online store on his web site that sells Boxhead and Shadez shirts, buttons, and mouse pads. His plan is to add a fourth revenue stream shortly -- in-game advertising."
    Inspiring read. Put everything you have into it and it just may pay off.

  2. #2
    Senior Member flashisland's Avatar
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    Very nice article...good find! It's interesting that they actually quote real dollar amounts for sponsorship and ad revenue from various games.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Draxus's Avatar
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    Great article, very interesting. Thanks for sharing

  4. #4
    formerly hooligan2001 :) .hooligan's Avatar
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    Nice find.

    That bloonsworld.com looks like it was made by a 7year old and its plastered with ads. Talk about cashing in on a popular game. Like George Lucas did with star wars.
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    President PhobiK's Avatar
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    Very very useful, thanks for sharing. It's motivating to read about some good developers in Flash gaming business and how far have they gotten.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Sietjp's Avatar
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    Great article. Didn't know that a flash game can reach those numbers. But in the end, the difficulty is still to make those groundbreaking super popular games.

  7. #7
    Senior Member tonypa's Avatar
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    oh no, now another 10.000 people think all Flash game developers swim in money, they make a game based on tutorial too, put ads in and then complain why no money is flowing in.

  8. #8
    formerly hooligan2001 :) .hooligan's Avatar
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    h no, now another 10.000 people think all Flash game developers swim in money, they make a game based on tutorial too, put ads in and then complain why no money is flowing in.
    Very true
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  9. #9
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    I did start a reply to this last night, and then realised I was really tired and just being an excessive arse, so lets try again in the cold light of day.

    A lot of those figures have been massaged to make everything look rosy ( For example, 25% of games on FGL sold means 1500 games which haven't. That's a lot of games sitting there. We've only had a 50% sale rate on there ).

    Also read between the lines. The Dino Run guys, $40k for 7 months work, so that's $20k for 7 months each. That's not a great deal when you've written one of the best Flash games yet. The article even goes on to say they've made almost as much in a shorter space of time doing a couple of adver-games.

    Finally the BoxHead guy, the last game was excellent, all kudos to him, although he had to build up the brand to get the big pay day, but the whole "If you work hard you can earn $400,000", that's like kiddie maths isn't it.
    That's what you do when you first get some ad revenue figures back, wow, I've earnt $3.47 today already ! So in a year that's $1266.55, so if I have 10 games all earning the same that'll be $126655 a year!
    It just doesn't work like that. Look at it the other way, if he could kill himself and make 10 games in a year and turn over $400k, he would wouldn't he ? If I said to you, work really really hard for 1 year of your whole life, and I'll give you just short of half a million dollars you'd be all over it like a rash.

    So maybe the bloons and the DTD guys are making insane money every month, good luck to them, but look at the maths that everyone seems so fond of quoting when it comes to Flash, that sexy little pot of gold that it is.
    4,400 devs enrolled on FGL. Say only half of those are active game developers, that's 2000 games. Say a quarter again are very active, that's another 500 games every 2 months for arguments sake. In a year, through FGL alone, that's 5000 games. Look how many games are upped to newgrounds and Kong every day.
    Let's say there are 7000 indy Flash games made each year, out of those, 500 will be good ? How many of those 500 make what bloons or DTD or Fantastic Contraption make ?

    I'm not being negative for negatives sake, just trying to advise people to read between the lines whenever they see big numbers to do with Flash.
    You can make a living using it, both myself and a lot of other people do, but that living isn't going to be via mochi-ads and sponsorship, unless you're one of those handful of games out of the 7000.

    Squize.

  10. #10
    Style Through Simplicity alillm's Avatar
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    I agree with Squize. It's very easy to look at the numbers they throw around and think "Wow! You can make THAT MUCH from flash games?!", but in reality it doesn't happen like that very often.

    Looking at my income from games I make (in my spare time), and the time it takes me to develop them, I could say that I could be making as much if not more than Sean Cooper, providing I churn out good games on a regular basis instead of having 2 months breaks between each game. In reality though the "good" part and the "regular basis" part of that statement aren't so easy to achieve.

    You can make a great game and sell it for a lot of money. That doesn't mean that you can do the same thing again 5-10 more times in a row and be rich. That’s why I'm still at uni and not sunbathing on my private island next to my swimming pool of cash.

    Ali

  11. #11
    Senior Member hatu's Avatar
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    The main point seemed to be that come up with new ways of making money and you have a better chance of making good money than throwing your game into the traditional revenue streams
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  12. #12
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    Perhaps the article would be more informative if it balanced that $20000 per game example with a few thousand $1 per game examples!

  13. #13
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    "You can make a great game and sell it for a lot of money. That doesn't mean that you can do the same thing again 5-10 more times in a row and be rich."

    Exactly.

    A lot of indy devs who have the big hits are one trick ponies. That one great game, that spark of "wow" that I can only envy, but then... either endless sequels that are a case of evolution rather than revolution ( Like the guy whose on his 40+ "Escape the..." game. You can either see that as someone refining their art until they perfect it, or a pure lack of creativity and milking a cash cow by going for quantity over quality. I know which side of the fence I'm on with that one ) or... nothing.

    To be expected to pull 10 hit games out of your ass in a year, ideally without going over old ground, is going it some.
    Nitrome are around the only people I know who are doing that right now, and that's not 1 person working on their own, and I bet they'd be pleased to be turning over $400k a year, as would any agency in this climate.

    Squize.

  14. #14
    Style Through Simplicity alillm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squize
    You can either see that as someone refining their art until they perfect it, or a pure lack of creativity and milking a cash cow by going for quantity over quality.
    I personally get very annoyed when I see everyone going nuts over "some game # 23" when all they are doing is taking their previous game, changing things about, adding another couple of features (sure they might be cool features) and then basking in the praise of their enormous fan base.

    Maybe I'm jealous that I don’t have a fan base , but personally I decided after neon 2 that I wouldn't do sequels any more because even doing that I felt that I wasn't being as creative as I could be.

    Oh and before anyone says anything, I didn't make neon 2.5, I just found out that existed the other day!

    Ali

  15. #15
    Hype over content... Squize's Avatar
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    Synchronicity is a mad mad thing.

    When I was writing about one trick ponies there was one very specific game I had in mind where the author had written an article for the mochi blog that really bugged me at the time ( How good the concept was, that it was worth a lot more than he was offered with an exclusive contract, how he got a lot more for it, well done him etc. etc. )

    And now I see there's a sequel. Synchronicity, mental.

    Squize.

    PS. Filler2 btw

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    Quote Originally Posted by hatu
    The main point seemed to be that come up with new ways of making money and you have a better chance of making good money than throwing your game into the traditional revenue streams
    Yeah, I agree. I think the article would have been more effective in a way if it didn't throw around the dollar figures.

  17. #17
    file not found Captain_404's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alillm
    Oh and before anyone says anything, I didn't make neon 2.5, I just found out that existed the other day!
    I googled this out of interest.

    Don't you still own the ip to that game? Doesn't it bug you a bit that someone would create that game under your name (varstudios) without even telling you? I know I'd be a bit mad if someone decided to take one of my ip's and make a sequel to it, ESPECIALLY if they made it look like I made it.

    But I digress.

    I have to agree with the sequel-hate sentiment here. I really don't understand how someone can make a creative new game and then never come out with any new ideas after that. Personally, I can never stand to make a sequel, I have to work on something new or I just get bored.

    I guess I just don't understand why someone would sell their creative spirit for cash.

  18. #18
    When you know are. Son of Bryce's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_404
    I guess I just don't understand why someone would sell their creative spirit for cash.
    I think that for you to actually "finish" any game, you've got to have at least a handful of ideas that you'd want to add for a sequel. A lot of times, sequels aren't warranted (more like a few extra levels, expansion pack status) but a lot of times it can be a good thing.

    I'm not interested in sequels because I've got too many ideas to explore.

  19. #19
    Style Through Simplicity alillm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain_404
    Don't you still own the ip to that game? Doesn't it bug you a bit that someone would create that game under your name (varstudios) without even telling you? I know I'd be a bit mad if someone decided to take one of my ip's and make a sequel to it, ESPECIALLY if they made it look like I made it.
    It's a bit complicated.

    At the time of making Neon and Neon 2 I was working under the title of varstudios with another guy. Although those specific games were designed and largely created by me, he also put a bit towards them, specifically the gui in Neon 2, and everything was released as a varstudios game.

    For the last year I've just been working on my own under my own screen name with alillm.com because pretty much everything I want to make is more experimental or stylistic and it just works better on my own.

    Seeing as the neon games were technically a varstudios ip, there’s no real reason why he can't make sequels without me. It's a bit weird but I'm not really bothered because I've moved on from them now, and I don't really feel like the games reflect me as a designer any more so I'm happy enough. Was just a bit strange to discover a sequel to your own game .

    Ali

  20. #20
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    I guess I just don't understand why someone would sell their creative spirit for cash.
    Maybe because for some of us, this is our job. It's great that some people do it for the love of it, but when you do it to pay the mortgage, you usually have to scrape every penny out of a project you can - which may well mean churning out a quick sequel or reskin now and then!

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