Monetizing Flash games: analyzing failures

The web is full of successful stories about monetizing Flash games… you will find some of them in Casual Games, Hard Money or you can read about my results at The experiment – one year later.

Today I am writing about the other side of the coin… when you fail at monetizing Flash games.

You can’t always win, and sometimes things don’t go that well. It’s not a tragedy. But you must learn from your mistakes. Just like in a platform game…

This is my list of such bad things:

1) You publish the wrong version of your game

You may think it’s impossible, but that’s what happened to me. I have two computer at the office, one at home and a laptop. I was working on Christmas Couples and I compiled it on a computer without caring if MochiAds folder was in the same path. Result: in the web there is a version of this game running without MochiAds. That’s why the game has more than 10 million views and less than 8 million ads… and I am not talking about skipped ads… it’s “just” that there is an ad-less version of the game in the web.

Remedy: always test your game before publishing it… also consider using MochiAds version control when publishing your game.

2) A sponsor does not pay

Oh, yes… sometimes sponsor does not pay and do not explain why. They simply disappear. I wasn’t looking for a sponsor for Glomb game… I was just submitting it here and there when I received this email:

Hey! Is this game still available? Have you sold rights or partial rights to anyone else? and what is your exclusive purchase asking price?

Thanks for submitting :)

I replied saying I had no idea about the price, then I got this reply:

How does $750 sound (exclusive only)? Can you make a good flash introduction (clickable) for xxxxxxxxx? and have a link clickable to xxxxxxxx in the game?

I accepted and after a couple of emails the game looked like what the sponsor wanted. So he wrote:

Sorry for the long delay, I have been out of town. I will take a look and get back to you asap.

After nine months, I am still in the “asap” step… no matter of the large number of emails I sent asking for information.

Remedy: when your sponsor is not a big name, ask in forums for it, or let Flash Game License find a sponsor for you. Thanks to FGL, I got sponsorships from Kongregate, Addicting Games and Hallpass without pain. Learn more about it at Find a sponsor for your Flash game with Flash Game License.

3) A sponsor lose interest in your game

This happened with BallBalance: my game was already been sponsored by Kongregate and Addicting Games when I received another sponsorship offer to integrate the game on FaceBook. I had to slightly modify the game to make it compatible with FB and my main job at that time was taking all my time… so it took me a month to do it.

Too much. The sponsor lost interest in my game.

Remedy: even if you are making Flash games for fun like me, take it like a job when you deal with other people/companies

4) Your game does not get viral

Let’s say I submitted TileBall to all most important portals and the game did not spread at all.

After almost a year, the game still has only 300K views. Complete failure.

Remedy: I was about to say: “mail the game to everyone, submit it everywhere”, but if a game disappears in a couple of hours from most portals, maybe it’s just not funny. Recycle as much as you can, and think about your next game.

This is my experience… how did you fail at monetizing Flash games?

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214 GAME PROTOTYPES EXPLAINED WITH SOURCE CODE
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