Ramblings about Flash game portals

I am asking myself a question for 4 years. It was summer 2004 when I read for the first time about Flash game sponsorship. Someone at CrazyMonkeyGames was spamming various Flash related forums announcing his company was looking for good game to sponsor.

Today there are lots of game portals looking for good (and not so good) game to sponsor, there are services that provide in-game ads like MochiAds and Flash games brokers like FlashGameLicense.

In other words, make a decent game and you will earn some bucks in some ways.

What’s the question?

The question is: why a Flash game portal would want to pay developers to put his intro into their games? The simplest answer is: game portals owners know that it’s less expensive to pay a casual programmer that made a good game than having their own studio producing Flash games.

Ok, right… but the real answer is: because they earn a lot of money from your/our games.

If you think about MochiAds, they openly said they earn a dollar for every dollar they pay. Other portals, like CrazyMonkeyGames, probably rely on the ads placed in their site. I can see six ads in their homepage and three in the page where you will play their games.

So if they sponsor a game that will virally spread through the web, millions of people will see their logo, thousands of them will click their logo going to their homepage, and hundreds of them will click their ads and/or bookmark their page, coming back another day to look for new games and probably click other ads.

I got it! Creating a game portal will make me richer than Snoop Dogg!

Well… it’s not that easy. Let’s see all problems you will face:

1) No killer applications

Even if there are some interesting scripts to manage Flash game portal, there isn’t a killer application. Let’s talk about blogging: WordPress is the killer application… with thousands of plugins, skins, themes, addons and so on, if you want to start a blog you can be sure that with WordPress and the right plugins you can obtain the result you have in mind. Almost all successful blogs are powered by WordPress, so if they made it, you can make it.

Moreover, it’s free.

Flash game portals are different… there are, as said, some interesting scripts, but you can’t make your own NewGrounds with them. And they are not free.

So you must spend a lot of time programming your own portal.

2) No cheap hosting

When you start a blog, you can choose the cheapest hosting plan and it will work great. Should your blog get popular, you will have the money to upgrade your hosting plan or buy your own server. With Flash game portals, you will need to host all games on your site, and this may require gigabytes of disk space. Your hosting provider won’t be happy you are going to upload some thousands of swf files… and I am sure you know your games must load quickly, so you need a hosting plan with an huge amount of band. This will cost you more than you can imagine

3) No new games

When running a blog, you choose your niche and start writing articles until people start digging you and search engines start indexing your page. Then, it’s just a matter of contents. If you write good contents, in about six months you can have a good amount of visitors. When running a Flash portal, your content is the same as the one of other portals… so… why should I submit my game to your “visited only by mum and dad” portal? You won’t get new games if you aren’t a big one and soon you will disappear.

Ok, I don’t want a portal anymore

Stop! You can have it! I found a way to solve problems 2 and 3, and I am solving the first problem by myself. As you know, MochiAds updates a feed of its games everyday… so I am going to make a page on my server with images and files from their server and Google Adsense of my account.

And here it is… cheap hosting, new games.

The widget you can see in the right column is only the first step in the creation of a Flash game portal based on widget games. And obviously I will release the source code so anyone of you will be able to have his portal.

Will MochiAds like it?

Probably they won’t drink their best champagne bottle for what I am doing, but everytime I steal their band making people play their games, they earn money… so maybe they won’t tell me to stop.

Are you billionaire already?

No, but that stupid widget that lands on a lame page yesterday scored $1.57. So stay tuned and prepare to see a new generation of Flash game portals

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