Flash Truth

…about flash gamedev and business

My experience with Flash Game License

From time to time something special happens. Something that can change the face of the world, or at least one specific world. Flash Game License changed the way business is made in the flash market. The idea itself is pretty simple, the implementation is pure genius.

It seems everytime I write about FGL, I have something against it. Let it be written that I don’t have anything against FGL, I am a happy FGL user and I am happy to do business there and pay for it.

But the comments on the last post seem to hit a nerve, one that I didn’t want to be hit. Unfortunately I think that will happen more often because FGL has grown bigger and its creators aren’t close to us as they used to be.

It is pointless to say that it is not so, I feel it personally. Each and everyone of them was at a distance of an email or MSN and it was obvious that they did take the time to help. Their presence in the community forums was refreshing, nowadays they usually appear to address some serious question, raise a discussion about a new feature and say how nice CPMStar or Kindisoft is.

Well… I can understand that and I really don’t take the distance as bad as I would with other people. I also understand that there are more things to attend and so on…

The numbers on FGL show growth, more sales and more money, like Chris stated in the last comment, but the hard truth is that it is more difficult to sell a game on FGL and that I personally rely much more on my business skills than on FGL to sell my games and I’m not alone on this. Many developers spoke with me about how less motivated they are because of lack of attention on FGL. These are developers that have done business there and that know nothing about marketing themselves and their games, therefor they will loose in the battle of FGL listings. How many are there that think this way? I don’t know, I can tell you that all the developers that I speak with complaint more or less in these lines. Why isn’t there any public discussion? I don’t know… but I’ll ask them. 🙂

So if there are developers that feel this way how are numbers growing? In my opinion, if there are more developers and more games there and the percentage of games that make a sale stands, obviously there’s a growth.

Should I present ideas to help with this? After reading Chris’ answer I really don’t feel like it. FGL creators answers to criticism are starting to look as cliches that I really don’t want to argue with. I agree that they have to protect their business, but the most important asset of FGL are the developers, especially quality developers and it really kills me to see FGL becoming more about quantity than about quality. The advertising in the top right corner only holds because of quantity… more developers, more audience, better advertising. It’s like FGL is for developers what portals are to players. The bigger the better. Am I the only one that finds this contradicts the spirit of helping developers?

What I’m hoping is to see a defensive stance, debunking what I’m writing here with statistics and how good FGL is to developers but what I would like to see is a slight change in this trend even if it’s just a simple gesture of understanding what is going on. That, because I really think that FGL is important, would mean the world to me. At least in terms of flash development.

Advertisements

February 12, 2009 - Posted by | General |

5 Comments »

  1. Nice article, a few points though.

    First off,
    “its creators aren’t close to us as they used to be.”

    Me and Chris are much closer than one would think, dinner and a movie would be putting it lightly hehe.

    On a serious note though, I feel that your frustration towards the growing numbers on FGL is legit, I’ve experienced it myself. However, as one of, or possibly the most active community member on FGL I also witness all the development the site goes through. I’ve personally contacted Adam, Chris and Eric on site matters, my thoughts and questions about it’s growth and plans for the future. I stand behind the fact that they are willing to help all levels of developers, although I will say that a VIP status of sorts needs to be further formed to let the serious developers do business in a quick and effective manner. This however is in the works.

    First off there is the market leaders forum only available to market level 1 and higher users. If this place was utilized users could pair up and knock games out incredibly quickly with high quality which I believe was the original idea behind that portion of the site.

    The First Impressions system has gone through some recent changes to reward users with high marks to put them in a showcase of great games that are shown to sponsors. This alone gives any serious developer the ability to spend $10, get some feedback and be placed in a location that will very likely help them get a deal quick and easy. All of these services as well as others yet to come will take time to grow however, which is where the site is at this very moment. First Impressions range from being great, to utter pieces of crap. As a user you have the ability to flag bad impressions and get them replaced. You can also rate the First impressions and every so often they flush the system of bad reviewers. As a new service that is constantly growing it’s inevitable that this will take time to refine itself, but we as users are just as responsible as the creators to make it as effective as we want it to be.

    All in all the site is a great thing for the flash community and will continue to be. I’ve been in the exact position of complaining about the numbers and lack of attention at times, but believe me it’s being worked on and it’s in no way something they plan on overlooking. To further show that I’m on both sides of supporting and feeling the bother of high numbers I’ll let it be known that less than one month ago I contacted Adam and Chris on this exact matter, they both responded to me with help and discussed the matter with me openly. Hopefully I’ve cleared things up a bit for all, long live the flash community.

    Comment by Porter | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  2. I’m sorry if my responses to criticism have seemed like cliches. If that is the case I take full responsibility and it shouldn’t be held against the other FGL staff or the community. But I am very passionate about this space. Not just FGL but with developers and everyone else that we work with.

    I can say in all truthfulness that we are in no way trying to increase the amount of games submitted to our site without trying to attract or help the top developers and top games. In fact, we don’t do any marketing at all to attract developers. We also do not turn anyone away (unless they or their games are blatantly violent, racist, or offensive). As I said, we truly want to help all levels of developers.

    And that includes the best developers. I’m not sure if any number I give would sway you or others, so feel free to ask for specifics, but I can say that at least 2 games over the last two weeks sold for over $10k. Is that what a normal developer can expect? No. Is it something a top developer can expect, yes. And in both cases the developers told me personally that they never would have reached that number by themselves. If that’s not helping the top games and developers then I am open to hearing what more we could do.

    Now, about our involvement in the community. I have to admit that is a valid and true statement. I’m not sure how to change that. FGL started as two guys who had an idea and a hope to change the way the Flash market worked and now, over a year later, we have brought on a few extremely talented people to help achieve our goals, but the same two people who started FGL are still the only ones that put in full time work. And we don’t even make any money personally off of commissions (which some developers still refuse to pay, though I am very thankful that most developer do). We do make a little off of ads etc we have running on the site, but we’ve made sure not to overrun the site with ads and we are adamant in only accepting ads that benefit the developer or sponsor community. And a lot of credit has to be given to Adam because he is really paid almost nothing but works at this as his only job (I still retain a “day” job).

    I, and everyone at FGL, do understand the plight of developers. In fact, I have my very own game going through our site right now! We also have an entire forum just for suggesting ideas, and we’ve even implemented the ideas with the most suggestions. And Adam and I are always open to emails or IMs. Though we do hope you’ll remember that we’re only a couple of guys trying to continually improve our site and help the developer community. We don’t have any financial backing like many of the other companies in this space, yet (at least I think) we seem to ‘hang’ with them pretty well.

    If I’ve seemed defensive in my past post it’s probably because I pride myself most on our constant commitment to trying to improve the site and listen to both developers and sponsors (but lets admit it, mostly developers). So when I hear, not an attack on our site, but an attack on our willingness to listen, I do feel my blood pressure rise. I think any active member of FGL will see that we’ve been very attentive and implemented many things on the site that are there with the sole purpose of helping developers in ways they’ve said they need or want to be helped. And we only have 1 programmer working part time! So feel free to post your suggestions on our forums as well. If your true purpose is to help FGL (and in return improve our site so that it better helps you) then being proactive on the forums, giving us feedback, and asking us any question you like is going to be your best bet.

    Comment by Chris | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  3. “Now, about our involvement in the community. I have to admit that is a valid and true statement. I’m not sure how to change that.”

    That is what I’m for kind sir 🙂

    Comment by Porter | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  4. Hi Porter, thank you for posting.

    Let me shed some light on this. I’m an FGL user for a long time. All the games I’ve put on FGL have been sold and I’m higher than level 1. I’ve bought FI’s and I agree with you.

    I want it to be better but I also see the problems and challenges that it is facing. I see that the number of developers is more important than the quality of developers or FGL would not be interesting to Somatone, Whirled and others that advertise on the site.

    That scares me. It scares me that to have a high volume of developers and games, FGL looses its identity which is, if my memory serves me right a place to buy and sell flash games.

    I don’t argue about what has been done to help developers, the points I want to raise are simple. I used to rely on FGL to do exactly what it’s supposed to do: be a simple and oiled interface for flash licensing. Right now, even if the numbers grow bigger, I rely on my business skills and FGL is just a placeholder.

    FGL used to be about 75% of all my sales, right now it’s about 30% and of those 30% all the primary licenses were contacts that I made through email and that saw and bidded the game on FGL and I’m not alone in this. If I stop paying 10% over the contacts I establish and promote, I’ll be paying about 1% of the money I make. What if everyone starts doing this?

    As far as I know, only once has FGL been involved in pitching one of my games. Why? Well because they can’t help more, they have better and more important things to do, bigger games to attend.

    This means, to me at least, that I’m going back to the old days where I had to contact portals myself, the difference is that there is this repository that I use to keep business tidy and clean and I don’t think that’s good enough for FGL.

    If that’s good enough for FGL admins, that’s fine and I’ll shut up, but never I saw them as people that will look the other way, hidding in statistics that prove very little.

    I’m not an attacker, I’m a concerned user.

    Comment by flashtruth | February 13, 2009 | Reply

  5. Sorry, Chris I crossposted with you.

    What you wrote is exactly what I wanted to read and I’m happy that you didn’t take my post as attacking or negative.

    I hope that many FGL developers read your comment, it will make them very happy and trusting.

    Cheers and if there’s anything flash truth can do to help FGL, let me know.

    Comment by flashtruth | February 13, 2009 | Reply


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: