Pimp My Game Part 5: GameJacket

i’m taking Two by Two from the Untold Entertainment library to see how various online monetization methods for Flash games pan out.

GameJacket Logo

Part 5: GameJacket

GameJacket is the year-old competitor to reigning game ad-injection champs MochiAds, and they promise to OH CRAP

GameJacket Closes

GameJacket Closes.

i guess that’s what happens when you offer your devs a $1000 cash advance, when clearly the going rate for a Flash game is hovering somewhere around a buck seventy-five.

So, uh …. (twiddles thumbs). Let’s see an update of those stats, shall we?

The Graph

Pimp My Game Updated Graph

I think i’m going to have to achieve immortality before this rate of return will really mean something.

Pimp My Game Updated Pie Chart

Keep your fork – there’s pie!

Pimp My Game Hourly Wage

I could make more money faster by lighting dollar bills on fire.

Another reminder: the money i’ve “earned” is, to date, virtual. MochiAds, the clear forerunner, doesn’t pay out until the $100 mark. So, in essence, my efforts have been squandered on a big fat nothing. Now i know how my wife feels.

Epilogue

i hate to say it, Jim, but i have a sneaking suspicion that Kongregate is next. i don’t have a lot of faith in FlashGameLicense either, whose referral-based contingency model started as a sort of “pay what you can – we recommend x%” kind of deal. i can’t see these ventures that subsist solely on venture capital lasting much longer through the economic crisis. Maybe i’m wrong?

Keep watching this feature for more info on monetizing your Flash games! If you missed the other articles, catch the rest of Pimp My Game here!

13 thoughts on “Pimp My Game Part 5: GameJacket

  1. Kaolin Fire

    Damn, sucks about gamejacket. I’m nearing the $100 on Mochi. Another few months should do it. ;) Kong gave me an initial boost, but has less follow-through, which makes a lot of sense in retrospect. Either you have a hit or you don’t–that’s the benefit to mochi being extremely shareable. I’d intended to make a game a month, but somehow failed completely.

    Forgot about newgrounds’ thing. Any clue how that’s working out for folks?

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      It seems similar to Kongregate. Your game is locked within the walls of one site. If it’s a hit, great. If not, no one plays it and you don’t get any money. And even if it’s a hit, you’re limited to the audience on the site. Your game has to appeal to that audience (so in the case of NewGrounds, gore and child porn), and there’s a ceiling. Even if 100% of the people on the site play your game, you’re capped. So a distribution system like MochiAds is logically far more lucrative.

      Reply
  2. Scarybug

    I earn steady money from both Kongregate and CPMStar (a mochi competetor with similar business plan, but harder to sign up for) My game is over a year old, but it has a long tail. Still, the real money-maker in flash games is selling non-exclusive licenses. Lets hope these sites have a business model other than “give away money for things not worth it”. Mochi at least seems to think it has a plan that generates money instead of hemorrhaging it.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      i have no problem, in the interim, with taking money from companies floated by venture capital. If they’re hemorrhaging money, it’s their problem – not mine. Then the whole system will crash and we’ll have something new – hopefully something more sustainable. My problem with non-exclusive licenses is that the cash is still so low. Sure, if you showed a lot of hustle, you might scrape together $10k for a game. In the service work world, a game typically goes for at least $15k. Remember that the time you spend chasing down sponsorships equates to time spent on the game. Divide the money you earn by development hours and promotional hours. If it comes out to more than the hourly wage at a McJob, i’ll eat my hat.

      Care to share the name of your game and the $ you’ve pulled down on it? That’s the spirit of this whole series.

      Reply
  3. Richard Davey

    Ryan – Scarybug’s game is Chronotron. Winner of a huge number of awards from across the industry and due out on the DS shortly (publisher pending). I don’t expect him to give out exact figures made from it, but it’s way way way beyond the $10k mark for sure. It’s also not a typical Flash game (from a success perspective).

    I agree with you that Kong could be next. The Ad share they offer is only relevant if your game is a major hit on their site, otherwise it’s worth next to nothing due to the churn rate there. So I don’t see this causing them a problem – however they pay out massively on referrals (one of the guys I work with had a $20k payout last month on referrals alone from them) – this I can’t believe is sustainable, but you have to wonder how they work out the value of a referral. I’d pray it’s not just a figure plucked out of thin air. But who knows?!

    FGL on the other hand didn’t start with venture capital, doesn’t rely on it and doesn’t need it. There’s no reason for them to go anywhere. As a business I’d wager they are easily profitable. If you think about it the only costs they have to cover are hosting a few web sites and a bit of moderation / site build work. No pay roll, no employees, probably not even that much traffic really! I pay them my 10% and I’ll carry on doing so.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      Really? i thought they were funded. Shows what i know.

      My early experience with FGL were … underwhelming, let’s say. i won’t spoil the frivolity, but watch for my Flash Game License in another post.

      The trouble i have with folks like Scarybug, though i appreciate their input, is that they’re always quick to say “i’m making boatloads off my Flash game!”, but are not as quick to add “(but i’m in a ridiculously tiny minority)”.

      Reply
  4. Richard Davey

    Should they have to say “I’m in a minority” though? Surely anyone who makes games, no matter which market/sector knows the score.

    I mean are all PC developers making boatloads from their casual games just because PopCap managed it? Are all iPhone devs making millions, or again is it just a very tiny percentage, most of whom were there at the very start.

    He shouldn’t have to qualify his post just because he has been successful. What he’s showing is that it is possible, but it’s hard work mixed with a lot of skill and a sprinkling of luck/good timing. Just like every gaming sector then really.

    And FGL is entirely self-funded.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      You and i and a few clever developers know the score. Everybody and their Dog who hopped on the iPhone bandwagon hoping to make trillions apparently don’t know the score. Scads of devs jumping into Flash in the past few years don’t know the score. They see only the successes, and figure it’s status quo. It’s a gold rush mentality that a lot of people have.

      But you’re right – this is a developer blog. We’re developers. Scarybug shouldn’t have to qualify his statement. i am happy that at least a few of us are doing well! i only mean to point out that it’s the exception and not the rule. i just hate fielding unsolicited advice from people who *don’t* know the score, who say “why don’t you just take your game, and [negligible monetization method]?”

      Reply
  5. Bwakathaboom

    I’m reminded of the David Hansson speech “The Secret To Making Money Online” where at a “Startup School” event, surrounded by people seeking venture capital to create yet more free online services he said “The first secret to making money online is to have a price!”

    Reply
  6. Marcus

    Like scarybug I’m one of (supposedly few) developers who make a decent living out of flash games. As such, I think you really went about the entire thing completely backwards. Your game was doomed from the start because it’s too damn short. I mean, seriously, it hardly qualifies as a game. It has to be fun to play, but your game is over before the fun even starts. You should have a look at Greg McClanahan’s Gamasutra post Fatal Flaws in Flash Game Design and Development – as he put it, “Your player only cares about how fun your game is, not the amount of work you put into it.” On that note, I’ve made one-week games that have made over $9000. Sure, I’ve also made 1-month games that only made me $4000, but it all evens out.

    Reply
    1. Ryan

      Marcus – You’re absolutely right. i went about it the wrong way entirely. i came from a job where i was paid to make Flash games, and that’s the only world i had known. When i left that job, i looked around at the free-to-play space and i thought “i’m supposed to give my games away for free??” i didn’t have the money to dive into original development, so i had to start taking contract work. Again – make game, get money.

      So instead of designing a game specifically for the short-attention-span, zombie-loving crowd that would be a hit with the free-to-play audience, i used a game that i had already created in a weekend game jam. The game didn’t have a lot of value to me, so i didn’t mind giving it away for free. Of course, it didn’t have a lot of value for anyone else, which is why it did so poorly.

      One year later, when the economy tanked, i was forced into original game development because there were no service contracts to complete. i looked at the casual downloadable space and figured that while it was a bigger risk (larger budgets, longer development times), it was a surer thing than the hit-and-miss world of free Flash games. So we started work on Kahoots.

      Now that i’ve dropped a ton of dough building that game, my confidence is a little shaken … i’m not sure i can achieve the unit sales to break even on it. But my strategy is to sell the sh*t out of that game. i’m planning to sell it on both the casual downloadable portals AND the formerly-free-to-play portals via microtransactions, which is something i’ve never seen done before. i’ll definitely let you know how that goes.

      If i were to do it all again, i still wouldn’t rely solely on advertising to finance my company. It’ll be virtual payment systems all the way, until the next big thing comes along.

      So happy to hear you’ve been successful! i’ll definitely check out your games to discern your magic touch. (Zombies? i’m guessing zombies. :)

      – Ryan

      Reply

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