What’s the most lucrative path to monetizing your games? Should you sell them exclusively, issue licenses, and/or include in-game advertising? MochiAds caught up with one of your fellow Flash game developers to find out.
Vadim Starygin, also known as MochiAds member Badim, is a trained Russian Naval Officer with a penchant for creating Flash games. In late 2007, he gave up his job in a PC-shareware company, where he worked on MMO-flash and PC-ports-to-flash games. He now enjoys his new career as an independent Flash developer and portal owner. Among the games he’s created are Elite Forces: Jungle, Elite Forces: Defense, Rush Hour and Star Ship.
Badim has been experimenting with different monetization methods for his games, as you’ll see in the chart below, which recounts his 5-month revenue total (also referenced here). Based on his experience, Badim’s advice to fellow flash-game developers is to steer away from exclusive sponsorships that may hinder the revenue a game can pull in via more flexible monetization means including licenses and in-game advertising.
We were curious to find out more, so we asked Badim a few questions about how he got started, what kinds of games he thinks are most lucrative, and what his advice is for fellow Flash game developers:
MOCHIADS: Tell me a little about yourself. How did you get started making games? Do you make games full-time?
BADIM: I started making games when I was in school. My first game was coded in QBasic. I finished my first flash game in 2000. In December 2007, I quit my day job and started worked as an independent developer. I was working almost full time, sparing some time for my family. I love to spend time with my wife and son.
MOCHIADS: Your advice for other game developers is to never sell 100% exclusivity to games, but you gave us numbers for an “exclusive contract” with each game. What type of exclusive contracts did you negotiate for each of your games?
BADIM: “Elite Forces: Jungle” was sponsored for 100% exclusivity — so I don`t have permission to sell a URL-locked version. “Defense” and “StarShip” were sponsored with the exception that I can sell URL-locked versions, which allow me to make more money; the money I made on
these URL-locked versions of “Defense” was more than the amount of the primary sponsorship.
“Rush Hour” was sponsored with exclusivity only in Russia – so I was free to sell the game to other sponsors anywhere else in the world.
MOCHIADS: Did you find that having “Elite Forces: Jungle” out first helped you in distributing “Elite Forces: Defense”?
BADIM: Yes, a little bit. It was a great help in that it was featured on the front pages of NewGrounds and Kongregate and it won awards: NG Daily 4th, Kongregate Weekly 1th.
MOCHIADS: “Elite Forces: Jungle” took you four weeks and “Rush Hour” was created in only a week. What are the costs and benefits of making complex games vs. simple games?
BADIM: I believe developing all games should involve enough time to ensure a bug-free experience, fully tested and approved by friends.
I often apply what I learn in creating simple games to create more complex games. Working on both types of games simultaneously allows me to try new features while doing some polishing.
For example, the “Rush Hour” engine and the “Star Ship” engine bred the engine for “EF: Defense.” In this way, building complex games out of simpler ones has allowed me to decrease my development time.
MOCHIADS: Any tips on how you managed to build up traffic and distribution for your game?
BADIM: Good games distribute themselves. Also, I find good advice in MochiAds forums. It`s important to be nice, have patience, and submit your game to every portal, providing sufficient information about your game,
including a description, etc.
MOCHIADS: Any advice on how to find and negotiate the best deal with sponsors?
BADIM: A good starting point is Flash Game License — but even before that, a developer should decide what the game’s target audience is and which email portals would be the best fit. Don’t ask less
than you want to get. You can make some mistakes — as we did with “Star Ship,” which we originally asked $1500 for — but after some responses we realized that game was not worth more than its best bid, $450.
MOCHIADS: Tell me about some other developers or games that you admire.
BADIM: “We Are Legend,” “Sonny,” “Thing-Thing” and “Protector” are a few I’m a fan of. There are plenty of great complex games out there.