I have just interviewed Adam Schroeder, the co-creator of both Flash Game License and Flash Game Sponsorship. In the interview he explained about how Flash Game License, a site by both Adam and Chris, came about and what he hopes for in the future of the site and flash games. Here is the interview:
Could you give me a little background on yourself and how you came into flash games?
I started programming over 10 years ago and got ‘into it’ by making games. At the time I was using Macromedia Director and lingo. I quickly got sucked into “real” work doing CD-ROMs and multimedia for corporate clients and agencies. Last year I ran across Kongregate. I dug up my old games and posted them. I immediately got a ton of feedback and the “game spark” was re-ignited!
How does the site work?
A developer uploads there game. It goes through a short approval process where we verify the game works and is playable. Then it is listed on the site. A developer can upload an unreleased game for bidding to find a sponsor or put the game in the ‘no hassle shop’ to sell non-exclusive license. They also have an option to allow other developers to view there game and we have a thriving community of people providing valuable feedback.
There are lots of other great resources and tools available on the site. Currently we are selling 10-20K worth of games each week and the pace continues to increase!
What inspired you to come up with this brand new way of bringing together sponsors and developers?
After I sold my first game, Asteroids Revenge III, I was wondering what to do next. I didn’t make the game with the idea of making money from it… but once it was done and all the time invested I wanted to see what was possible. I had heard of ‘sponsorships’ but didn’t know how they worked or what they meant. I looked for a guide or information on how the process worked but couldn’t find anything. So I started asking a lot of questions of other developers and portal owners. After a lot of work I ended up with a great understanding of the process and decided to write a guide (FlashGameSponsorship.com) to help other developers with the same issues.
Then a lot of developers started contacting me for advice and help on getting the best deals for their games. Often I was successful and in many cases got the developers 2-3 times more money than they were prepared to accept before contacting me.
As more and more people started contacting me I decided to build a site to help streamline the process. I found that Chris Hughes (also a hobby game developer) had already started such a site and so we partnered and created FlashGameLicense.com
Tell me a little bit more about the ‘Primary License’ Sponsorship that FGL founded.
We are always thinking of new and innovative ways to maximize the amount of money a developer can earn from their game. [We also do the same thing with portals that use our site].
After doing a lot of research and talking with many buyers we came up with a license that retains almost all the value of a ‘traditional sponsorship’ to the buyer (and in some cases even increases it) while giving the developer a lot more opportunities to earn money from the game.
Currently a Primary Sponsorship/License is the ideal license for a game developer. The holder of the primary license will have their branding in every copy of the game on the web except where the developer has explicitly sold a non-exclusive site-locked version to another company. The developer has complete freedom to remove the primary sponsor’s branding and make any other changes to the game as long as it is licensed and locked to a new buyer’s domain. So the only “free floating” version of the game is the one with the primary sponsor’s branding, but other web portals can buy specialized versions just for their site. The developer is also able to use in-game ads (a critical component to maximize earnings). It is often possible to base the primary license price on the amount of traffic that the game brings the buyer.
You can find a lot more about the evolution of the traditional sponsorship into a primary sponsorship here: http://www.flashgamesponsorship.com/sponsorship-overview/sponsorship-overview/sponsorship-overview.html
How do you think this new license will affect game developers?
It will make them more money and give them a lot more freedom and control over their games. When you have invested 100s of hours building a great game it’s very satisfying to know you can still take advantage of almost all of the opportunities that are presented to you. If a developer accepts a traditional ‘exclusive sponsorship’ they are cutting off a huge amount of revenue opportunities and perhaps even worse lose a lot of control over what they can do with their game.
Where do you see the sponsorship/developer relationship going in the future?
There is still LOTS of room for sponsors and developer to develop and maintain an intimate relationship. However, we still feel that developers should shop their game around in order to make sure they are getting a fair price.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for giving us the chance to tell our story. We have amazing ideas planned for the future that will help developers through the entire process of game creation, testing, polishing, marketing, selling, distribution and long term revenue opportunities. It’s an exciting time for flash developers and it’s our mission to give you as many opportunities as possible!