Flash Truth

…about flash gamedev and business

Building up reputation and business

Hi all and I’m deeply sorry for my absence. I hope this post excuses me for not updating Flash Truth as much as I would like.

Several developers that know my not-so-alter-ego have approached me asking “how do you do it?” related to my own flash develop business. I also read the Where’s the cash for flash issue on Gamasutra and although I have two drafts waiting for me to finish writing, I decided that this is good enough info and discussion to bring up immediately.

Without further due, let me answer the “how do you do it?” question: Building up reputation and business, which is, for some weird reason is the title of the post.

Part 1: Building Reputation

No business flourishes without reputation and no reputation exists without networking, so, get to know people. The more people you know, the more people you will have available for a specific need.

If you are reading this, you have access to the best networking tool available: the Internet. Get involved in communities like Newgrounds, Mochi or Flash Game License, to access developers. Be helpful and be smart. As you find people with some sort of need you can help, just help and don’t make a fuss about it. When you need help, ask for it.

What about portals?! Some developers look for (and easily find) huge lists of emails and go on an email galore. Don’t do that, it’s annoying and many portals have asked to have their emails off those lists. Many portals however, have an email or submission form to contact them about sponsorship, take your time, do that, submit the game to them and has they answer, you will have a name, a person, a contact, so a bigger network.

If your game is good you’ll have other portals contacting you for licensing, so more names… network…

Your network will start slow and grow. Do not nag people. Be professional, polite. Sooner than you think, you’ll be emailing portals directly, having a friendly developer to help you out with something strange and so on. And that is reputation!

Part 2: Building Business

Well, if you have your network, you have half of your business. The rest is professionalism and quality, both quite difficult to achieve.

There are some really basic things you can do to raise your professional behavior.

First, no email goes unanswered unless you don’t care about that specific person ever. If what you have to say is not pleasant, make it pleasant, but answer. Be polite, clear and as much as possible, short.

Second, being professional means that you will go through some really annoying stuff with a smile. I’ve read several times that developers don’t accept offers from portals because there’s too much paperwork involved. This kind of behavior shows only one thing: the developer is a spoiled brat that doesn’t give a damn about business. There are exceptions *cough* Oberon *cough* but what matters is not really the paperwork but the behavior.

All of this should mean money, right?!

Not really, this means that you have the skills to market yourself and your games. You still have to find multiple income streams and raise the quality of your games constantly. Use this formula: Business + Money = Reputation * Quality.

The Cash for Flash

One last word for the issue at Gamasutra. Basically it serves as advertising for the people mentioned there. Life in the flash market is way more difficult than it looks when you read it. I felt that, even if it wasn’t made with that purpose, smaller developers were being told that they’ll get rich if they do what those developers do and/or if they do it on FGL. Success is not a log on on FGL or an idea for a game. It’s blood, sweat and tears that I think most developers are not willing bleed, sweat and cry.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Monetizing | , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Addicted to the number of plays

Just stumbled on a thread in the Mochi forums where a developer proposed to rank other developers by the number of plays their highest played game achieved. Seems logical doesn’t it? I personally disagree and it seems I’m not alone in this. Badim spoke wisely when he said that average playing time, earnings and time spent to develop the game is also relevant and I partially agree with him.

There was a time where all people wanted was to have their games largely distributed. Nowadays, that’s a bit pointless. You spend countless hours making a game, countless hours finding a sponsor, a bit of time integrating the code from an ads network and then countless hours distributing, creating thumbnails of different size and shape only to appeal to the portals.

And what do the tasty high traffic portals do? They don’t want the ads in your game in their site. Isn’t that a killer? Your game will not generate YOU any revenue unless you license the game to those portals, which is fine by the way, but that means you will loose potentially millions of plays because of that. Well, think about it… if you have nothing to win from it, why should you even consider having your game, generating revenue to the said portals and you getting nothing from it?

Flash game developers are too addicted to the number of plays. In reality the number of plays is meaningless if the developer as nothing to win from it. You, as a developer, should not upload your game to any site, even if very high profile, if you don’t have anything to profit from the upload, simply because portals count on your addiction to increase their revenue and most of them, not sharing it with you.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | General, Portals | , | Leave a comment

Flash Game Development Current Status

Flash Game Development is changing.

People are more aware of flash gaming and general free online gaming now that bigger portals offer an added value in the form of high-scores and social networking. Most of the bigger portals left the supermarket approach of displaying hundreds of games for a more social experience. They embed chat windows, allow logins and comments, ratings and so on.

Developers are changing also. Professional teams are moving from the wounded world of casual downloads to a more open market, failing to understand that developing flash games is less risky, but potentially not profitable.

Advertising networks pile up and Google joins the race. There’s a world of opportunity now, but is it worth it and are you taking advantage of it regardless of you being a player, a developer or a portal owner? And are you dealing with the other two sides as partners or as enemies?

This is the status of flash game development today: Exploding! If it’s a good explosion or a nasty one, we’ll see and I’ll be around to tell you about it.

October 15, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment