Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

Everyone loves a number

The indie Flash game community seems to love stats. I guess it's 'cause it's always nice to see someone whose written something good getting the recognition ( Even if it is more in terms of traffic than cash ), and because it's slightly inspirational, that everyone is just one good game away from achieving the same results.

When our game Chimbo got blammed on newgrounds it really shook me quite hard. It's the first time that I've really had a project fail on me ( I've had games I've not been able to sell before, but never something out there which has performed badly on a critical level ).
We thought that was it for the game. We were under no illusions of what the game was, a reskin of an even older game. It's far from great, but both Olli and I chatted about it before hand ( Like we always do ) and considered it good enough to go out under the gyw banner. It's an average game that looks pretty with varying degrees of presentation.
That was it then, a footnote in our history.

And then the traffic started to creep up. It got on some front pages of high traffic sites, only for a day or two ( Such is the turnaround on such sites ) and got spread around a little.


At present Chimbo is hosted on 392 sites, and in the 281 days it's been hosted on gamejacket it's served up 1,248,011 impressions. Not a hit by any stretch of the imagination, but average traffic for an average game which started it's life quite badly ( And apparently in gamejacket's all time top 20 hits, although I think that's more through default 'cause it's been there pretty much since the beginining ).
Today it's had 4359 impressions, which is a nice trickle of people ( Hopefully ) having some fun with it. It's proved to be a slow burner ( Hopefully pinball will be the same, as that's done relatively poorly ).

So is there anything you can take away from this ? I mean it's all well and good seeing a nice graph and knowing one of our games hasn't done too badly, but it doesn't help you much.
Hopefully it shows that sites with a typical teenage boy market ( Ninja zombie pirate shoot'em up anyone ?) aren't the be all and end all. There are a lot of sites which are targetted at young girls too which have insane amounts of traffic. Chimbo had 50k+ hits in one day purely by being front paged on a girl site ( That sounds terrible, "A site aimed specifically at girls" is what I should have said ). If you got that sort of traffic on ng or Kong in one day you'd be pretty pleased.

To show this isn't a one off, the game I did for gimme5, Loved Up, died on it's arse on all the "usual" sites, then went on to be g5's top referring game for months.

Is there a large mostly untapped audience for "games for girls" ? Hell yes. I spoke to Barry at gamejacket just the other day and he told me that they're now generating two lists [ Of portals ], the usual one and one for the female audience.
You may think it's selling your soul to do a game targetted specifically at girls. You want to do Metal Slug X, not Me and My Pony, but a game which appeals to a young female audience doesn't have to be overly twee or technically "cheap". Just see it as another genre which should be on your list of ones to try, same as doing a puzzle game or a mode7 racer etc.

Anyway to wrap up this posts about stats, here's a great couple of links where you get to see dirty hard amounts of cash, compiled by Drastika ( Cheers Paul, saved me hunting these down ).

Elite games' earnings ( For Oct )

Emanuele Feronato's one year money making experiment results


Comments (7) -

  • Tom

    11/15/2008 8:28:18 PM |

    Great post.. like you say everyone likes to see a graph and some facts and figures!

    I did a similar thing last month for my last game.. at the time it had been played 579,350 times on over 800 websites and now after 226 days in the wild that number is up to 610,862 plays on 900 hosts so you've doubled my numbers ;-)


  • Squize

    11/15/2008 9:02:55 PM |

    Yeah, it must be a voyeuristic thing seeing how other peoples games have done ( And ta, glad you found the post interesting ).

    Just had a nose at your blog, I've not checked it since the FlashRacer days and it had seemed to die, lots of cool content there mate, going to add that bad boy to the blogroll here.

  • Jeff

    11/16/2008 4:24:43 AM |

    I've had too many games die on the vine, only to be resurrected by diligent uploading and pimping to 100's of sites.   Obviously, we don't go for the killer graphics, but we do send some time on thinking up stories and at least some unique game-play if possible. My focus on Retro hasn't done me any favors (except in China). The UGOPlayer type sites won't even post our games anymore, but having said that, we have not done too poorly when games hit the right target (usually non-English speaking sites with have a LOW Mochi CPM). I have finally added a game to GameJacket exclusively, but getting any presence om large portals has proven to be a HUGE problem.

  • Squize

    11/16/2008 4:20:16 PM |

    See we've never really done the hard core posting to portals, to me it's like pulling teeth. Lot's of registering and lots of waiting forever for the game to go nowhere ( For example 4mation have had 651 for 4 weeks now, still not on the site, when they got pinball it was displayed at the wrong size etc. That's just one site, but it seems so fucking painful with most of them. I've got better things to do with my life than have to make a different size thumbnail for what feels like every single portal site, only for them not to use the game anyway ( Such as ugo ) ).

    Retro is also very niche, more so than you'd think ( There is so much web space set aside to retro gaming you'd think everyone over the age of 30 in the whole world loves it and nothing else ).
    I think you could do a really good port of a classic game, let say off the top of my head, Paperboy. A game that did well back in the day, but release it now and it's popularity wouldn't be anywhere near the same.
    Not because expectations have grown, I mean with Flash your expectations aren't that great anyway, but because it uses a lot of gaming staples which aren't as valid any more.
    There's a whole ( And vocal ) generation who only really started gaming with 3D, so they aren't aware of a lot of gaming short hand that older players are ( For example, flashing the player white at the start of a level to show he's invulnerable ). Their 2D gaming history is restricted to things like rpgs on the GBA.

    I'm not bemoaning this, well not too much, if I do a personal project it's exactly that, it's what I want to play at the end of the development so I have to accept not everyone is going to enjoy it as much as I do.

    Perhaps there needs to be a ng purely for retro games, I know you've got a good collection on your blog mate.

    As to the large portals, that's a closed door for the most part. The really popular ones have paid placements which reduces the chances of your game getting on there, and groups of sites like Spill have such vast traffic that they have a lot of say over what your game can and can't do if you want it on their site ( For example, no ads in your game. So you can have your game exposed to potentially 60 million players in a month, and yet not earn a penny from it ).

  • Tom

    11/16/2008 8:34:13 PM |

    On the bright side Jeff, your tutorials are incredibly helpful and 8bitrocket seems to come very high in google if you have 'flash' anywhere in your search query!

    Blogroll baby.. loving it.

  • Jeff

    11/17/2008 3:35:10 AM |

    Hey Tom, thanks! The PV3d stuff on your site is really cool.
    Speaking of Blog Roll, I'm adding I'm Still Here to our Site Roll tonight.

    Squize, Steve and I have discussed creating a part of 8bitrocket that is a kind of NG or Kong for retro games. We are adding voting and an Open ID login soon, so that might be just around that corner.  

  • Squize

    11/17/2008 8:50:40 AM |

    I feel a bit awkward with you two having a bit of a mutual love in here ;)

    That's great to hear Jeff, I'm looking forward to that already.

    btw did you get the mail the other day ? I'm paranoid about your spam filters thinking I'm a bad man :)

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