Tag Archive for mochi

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,

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. rorr.im also mirrored us which helped a little. We ended up having to put up static html files for all of our pages on class3outbreak.com, 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!

Zombie Outbreak Simulator now on Kongregate

Saxon just finished making a version of the game to be accessible on Kongregate. Should be interesting to see how its received there. Check it out: http://www.kongregate.com/games/BinarySpace/zombie-outbreak-simulator

This version has no mochi ads, and we receive 35% of ad income from Kongregate’s ads. Will soon find out what the difference is! If you yearn to play the game ad free then go forth and play there :)

Advertising in Flash Games Compared to TV

I was pondering marketing and advertising (mochiads) in flash games, and got thinking about traditional advertising, like on TV for example. I think its a reasonable comparison, you might spend 30 minutes watching an episode of something on TV, and according to wikipedia, in America: “a typical 30-minute block of time now includes 22 minutes of programming with 6 minutes of national advertising and 2 minutes of local.” So that’s nearly a third of your time watching adverts for a free TV show.

When you consider flash games, you will see an advert at the start of the game for perhaps 5-10 seconds, and you could potentially spend up to an hour playing some games without seeing another advert. Sure, you have google adwords ads around the game that are always visible, but I think that’s quite different to having your entertainment experience completely shutdown while you must watch adverts.

It’s a very good deal when you think about it this way, for the players I mean. Flash developers in general are still not earning enough on average in my opinion, and sure if the developer only spent a few days or a week on a game or if its no good then you’ll close the game if an ad break appears. However for a quality, compelling game I think there’s nothing wrong with inserting ads into the game at strategic, unintrusive points. Most adverts are only appearing for another 5-10 seconds, so I think it would be reasonable to have ads appear up to 5 or more times in a long game, say an hour. In fact when I’m honest with myself I think it could approach tv levels of advertising time, why not? What will happen, is that if you have a poor game, everyone will leave on the ad break and that game will earn less. Fair deal in my opinion. If you think your game is of lower quality you could place less adverts to keep players around longer. If you have a great game, players will hang around in exactly the same way they do on tv breaks (or go make some food and come back). Advertising online in flash games also has potential that tv doesn’t, such as being interactive (even include other games), and being able to open other windows, research the advertisers product, and so on.

People seem to have big gripes with lots of adverts, but I think if your audience refuses to sit through a 5-10 second break every 15 minutes there’s something wrong with your free game. I’ve even read a lot of people claiming that people won’t play your game if it takes too long to load. Consider just how long the intro sequence/credits take for a soap, I feel people still have this thought that “if its on the net it should be free and fast no matter what”.

I could rant longer but you get the idea! What are we planning in our game for adverts? An initial loading advertisement as per industry standard, then 2-3 more in adbreaks which coincides with other events that halt gameplay. I think it’s reasonable, we are providing roughly an hour long, free game in return for players sitting through a total of maybe 20-30 seconds of mochiads. That’s a bargain!

Tell me what you think, and sign up for our newsletter on the right if you’d like to be notified when our first game is released.

MochiAds Free Hosting

I got a reply back from Mochi saying there are indeed “no strings attached” to their free hosting service for flash games. I was impressed by their reply speed too, it gives me confidence that if there’s any problems in the future I’ll be able to get in contact with someone. So we will continue to host our site, but the game is hosted on their servers, and they handle the huge flood of gamers foaming at the mouth to play our awesome games!

I was initially concerned with the price of hosting a large-ish flash game, since if you get a successful game on your hands, your bandwidth fees go through the roof. It also seems quite hard to find a host that is “digg proof”. I’ve read articles where people have gone with one of the big name hosts, even ones which advertise being digg proof, and they still go down. Part of the problem may be poorly optimized websites, but it seemed like a big price tag attached to something that isn’t guaranteed to stay online.

Anyway I think we will be trying out Mochis free hosting option and see how it holds up. Hopefully we get some big social media/digg/stumbleupon traffic and can report back on how it goes. I think we will still have to invest in a modest/high end hosting solution like a VPS or basic dedicated option, but at least I won’t have to fear big ‘bandwidth exceeded’ fees.

I’m pretty confident we can make a reasonable profit with advertising on our homepage now as well, whereas before it looked like either a tiny profit, or at worst, a small loss.

If anyone else has used MochiAds free hosting I’d like to hear what your experience has been.

Thanks for reading!