BSG’s sponsor search and Flash Game License

About a month ago we finished the first version of our zombie game, Class 3 Outbreak, and began pimping it to a list of sponsors. We decided to first try and contact a list of 20 or so via email, since I have the spare time to be able to talk in depth with sponsors myself, and being the cheap penny pinchers we are, we wanted to avoid giving FGL any money! FGL (Flash Game License) is a service which helps flash developers find sponsors for their games. So a few days later I got a few bites, but nothing that ever eventuated. For some reason, as also happened with ZOS, we got some sponsors saying “great game, how much?”, followed by no response afterward. Pretty strange, but I guess they mustn’t have wanted it that badly.

After that dismal little failure we decided to put the game on FGL and see what sort of action we’d receive. Over the course of a couple of weeks we got bids that started at $300 and eventually reached $5000, funnily enough one of the high bids was from a sponsor that we had emailed but who never responded. It seems like a lot of sponsors are now just depending on FGL and ignoring emails for sponsorship, unless this was just in our situation and our game, its hard to say. FGL’s bidding system is very easy to follow, and the transparency of who’s bidding and how much is great to help drive your price up. The percentage FGL takes is very fair – in our case we had no offers and ended up with $5k, I’m not good enough at maths to make up a % increase for that, but maybe something like lots%?

After chatting with Adam a bit and exchanging emails, I also found that they actively hunt down sponsors and market your game to them, something that I didn’t expect to see. We certainly came away from it feeling that we had been well taken care of and that every single sponsor possible had seen the game.

In the end we actually decided not to take a sponsorship at all. The two top bidders both had attractive offers, however one of them wanted a 700px version of the game (too small for our taste) to fit their portal, and the other one we felt suited a more traditional banner advertising/cost per click sort of model, and that ultimately fell through as well. Also for $5k we were still a bit on the fence as to whether we could make that in advertising and donations, and felt a little uneasy about giving up some money if the game did exceedingly well. Judging from ZOS, we “only” need to get a few million plays to make $4-5k, and Saxon and I both agreed that since we were making this game for fun, we’d prefer to go the riskier, more fun approach of self sponsoring. We also felt that we may gain more newsletter subscriptions, forum members, search engine rankings, and facebook fans this way, and we would really like to build a community around the game.

Once again we’d like to say a huge thank you to FGL, we were thoroughly impressed in every way! I can’t recommend them enough. Something else I’ll quickly touch on is FGL’s great First Impressions service. We submitted our game to First Impressions, and quickly got 20 really well thought out and highly varied opinions with detailed feedback and suggestions. Well worth the money.

Stay tuned to find out whether our self sponsoring was a good idea or not :) We have already appeared on Digg, but it was nothing compared to the landslide of traffic we had for ZOS. Funny, since C3O is the playable ZOS! I’m also emailing a few games websites and press, however it seems that a lot of them only cater to ‘downloadable indie’ games. Some specifically say no flash games, which I feel is possibly due to the glut of low quality flash games out there which make some people think that they’re all going to be poor. Really, whats the distinction between a flash and downloadable game apart from how you get hold of it? Anyway, I was trying to end my post, not start rambling about something else :)

Thanks for reading,
Jay

8 comments

  1. Nick says:

    Thanks for posting about what you’ve been doing to “monetise” (couldn’t think of a better word) the game, and the reasoning behind your decisions.

    There aren’t too many posts like this online.

  2. Glen says:

    Great write up. I am just in the process of finishing up my first decent quality game and submitted it to FGL at about 70 percent complete to start getting feedback. In the first 48 hours of putting it up I got some really valuable feedback – my point, even if you don’t wish to go the sponsorship route with FGL, the feedback you will get is excellent quality.

  3. Chaz says:

    Jay,

    How has self sponsoring gone? Have you managed to go near your target number of plays by distributing the game yourself?

    • Jay says:

      Hey Chaz, we’re close to reaching our target number maybe later in the year, so we didn’t get far off. We will hit it eventually, its just a matter of time.

  4. MapaCarta says:

    It is the same question with chaz :)

    Actually, it is hard to reach 4-5k with self sponsoring I think. I saw that you are using Mochibot as advertisement. Mochibot doesn’t bring back much in my opinion. They have good eCPM only in US and some other country. In other countries, I recieve very low eCPM.In China it is something like 0 :)

    So, can you make that much money with donations?

    • Jay says:

      It seems you can make a lot with donations, just look at Dwarf Fortress. However we have had a rather dismal success with donations, perhaps because we have adverts as well?

  5. MapaCarta says:

    lol not mochibot :) mochiads sorry :D

  6. gamegirl says:

    FlashGameLicense is great service but recently I see less sponsors views and I wonder whats the problem. Our first game got 30 views for its first day there and it was Sunday.

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