Archive for February 12, 2010

Zombie Outbreak Simulator Earnings Report

Greetings readers, I thought tonight I would contribute to the number of flash game earnings reports circulating on the www.

Since release on November 23rd we’ve had roughly 520,000 plays of Zombie Outbreak Simulator on the Class 3 Outbreak website. Today is Feb 24th, so that’s over the course of 3 months, with a good 200,000 plays being in the first few days, petering out to between 5-10k hits a day for the next month, finally settling down to around 1,000 plays a day now. Since we didn’t expect anywhere near the traffic we got, we probably missed out on around 100,000 hits worth of revenue in the first day, since we had no adsense or mochi ads ready.

As I just said, we decided to go with primarily Mochi Ads and Google Adsense, and according to most people you’d have to say we spammed our visitors with mochiads while they ‘played’ (watched) ZOS. We figured that since there was no way we could interrupt the game, we would opt for an ‘ad heavy experience’. We copped a bit of flak for it, and reduced the number slightly, but still not enough for some people as we continued to get some flames. Our feelings weren’t too badly hurt though so we continued on!

We placed google adsense adverts above and below the game in the common format you see most portals using, and adsense has earned us about double what mochi has. I have to mention and remind readers that this is from having the game played only on our website. Those figures would likely be far different if we had spread the game across the internet via portals. It’s hard to know how our adsense profits might have suffered, but I’m sure we would have made a lot more in total if we spread the game.

We released on Kongregate 6 weeks ago too, to see how traffic would go and also see what their revenue sharing was like. We’ve had 43k plays and earned $55, not a bad CPM at all.

After a couple months we also gave CPMStar a go, to compare it with Mochi.

So the totals so far have been:
Mochi: $373 @ 40c CPM
Adsense: $754 @ ~ not allowed to say, but “good”
Donations: $2…
Kongregate: $55 @ $1.1 CPM
CPM Star: $166 @ 27c CPM
Total: $1350

This is all on paper, since (and this could be important if you plan to make a living from flash games) payments are delayed usually by one month.

Why were donations so low? Perhaps because we were ‘ad whoring’ in the game? Hard to say.

We have spent probably 90% of that on various things, we weren’t exactly spend thrifts… we spent money on hosting, a copy of FLStudio, domain names, and a business name. We opted for the best host we could find, which certainly costs us too, but we didn’t want to have everything break down at the most opportune time. Goes to show that even a successful game can’t make much from ads (at least if only released on your own site). Still, we consider ZOS to have been a big success, and have high hopes for C3O when we do release it on portals.

It’s hard to know what sorts of play numbers we may have reached had we spread the game to portals, but due to the google maps API, the game is domain locked, which means great difficulty for portals getting a copy of ZOS working quickly and easily.

We will continue to post, next time on C3O’s financial status, a few months after that is released. C3O is currently being shopped around to sponsors and will be released very shortly. Stay tuned!

Zombie Outbreak Sim Wrap Up

Well its been around 10 weeks now since we released Zombie Outbreak Simulator (ZOS). I’d like to share some of the experiences we had, and since I have learned so much from other similar articles, I’d like to give something back.

Our plan with ZOS was always to make it just a bit of a tech preview or teaser for Class 3 Outbreak (the RTS), something that’s just a bit of fun to watch and whet your appetite for the ‘real thing’. Having developed the game for so long, and testing/balancing Class 3 Outbreak for a while, I thought that ZOS would get some “oh, that’s kinda interesting” remarks and we’d get a little bit of traffic from some zombie or google maps sites. Funnily enough, I started to see some traffic coming from Digg via google analytics. I went to their website and found that we had been Dugg 30-40 times, which I thought was pretty good. A moment later I was about to head off to sleep for the night and I thought I’d check the site again, and lo’, we had just reached the front page! To our great astonishment and excitement, we eventually shot up to the third most dugg site of the day, getting over 1700 diggs. Our server went down perhaps a dozen times or more but luckily it never stayed down, it would just restart and keep on trucking. also mirrored us which helped a little. We ended up having to put up static html files for all of our pages on, and that plus some help from our host finally got traffic moving smoothly. Saxon and I definitely enjoyed watching ZOS climb though, it was quite unreal.

I loved reading all of the comments people were leaving at Digg as well, and I made some comments/replies myself. Its great to interact with fans! We were amazed to see that not only would people post what settings they were using for the outbreak, they would even make up entire stories about the little 20 pixel people running around – extensive stories! It seemed to really capture peoples imagination, and I think running the game on google maps played a part in that, because we are using actual imagery. It’d be nice if the people looked a little more realistic but I’m not sure if I can improve them much with only 20 or so pixels.

We weren’t entirely prepared for the traffic when it hit, so we didn’t have mochi ads running, and our adsense banners weren’t really optimized either. It’s funny that after getting played 250,000 times and dugg 1700 times (I’d call that a huge success) we made around $300 in 2-3 days. As traffic levels out it looks like we might make 5-10k by the end of the year at this rate. That’s a pretty good sign to me that making money from advertising in flash games is incredibly hard. Sure, if we had mochi running from the start, we probably would have made a bit over double in the first 2 days, but that’s still peanuts for something that was so popular. I’d imagine getting the game to spread successfully over portals and get 10’s of millions of plays could start bringing in some half decent money too, but we are in the middle of seeing what we can do in this department.

When you consider the super great article: “You should be making a premium flash game” and games like Fantastic Contraption, we are very keen to try selling our game at some point, ie when there’s enough game there to charge for. If we punched in the Fantastic Contraption sales numbers with our current traffic levels we would be making over $90k a year, not too shabby. And yes, the games are both extremely different, and its impossible to know whether we would reach the same level of success as Colin did, but it is interesting to guesstimate these things…

Since ZOS has gone online we’ve also put up a facebook page that has reached over 1700 fans, and a forum which is already producing a lot of conversation. Feel free to join either!

You might be wondering how C3O is coming along… we hit a slight snag which requires another 2-4 weeks work, so I’m afraid you’ll have to wait a little longer. Ah games and their so called release dates… :)

Thanks for reading!