Ever wondered what it takes to get sponsored by Kongregate? Over at FlashGameLicense, there was a Q and A with Greg McClanahan, Community and Developer Relations Manager for Kongregate. He was able to answer numerous questions about flash games and sponsorships. Here are some of his replies:
1. What are the most common attributes of successful games in your experience?
It’s really hard to say what makes a successful flash game beyond “good”. I guess off the top of my head, I would say that games that are quick and easy to get into, immediately fun, and addictive are the most successful.
2. How much of a difference do decent graphics compared to excellent graphics make in regards to the amount your willing to pay, assuming the game-play is solid and fun?
I think graphics go a long way, but they’re not always necessary. If a game is eye-catching, it makes players more likely to play, and it also makes portal owners more likely to want to host it. I don’t think that great graphics are crucial, and I think that style can definately compensate for something that’s not technically impressive.
3. When you are sponsoring games, what is the average amount that you sponsor games for?
It’s tough to say what the average amount is, just because the range is so huge. The lower end can go down as far as $250, though I haven’t done many of those recently. On the top end, $20,000 is about as high as we’ve seen. I’ve never done a flat amount above $5,000 though. I usually rely on performance based systems for stuff in the $10,000 range and beyond.
4. What do you think are the most successful genres? And while you say you look for innovative games do you think some sponsors will overlook games that less easy to label for fear of confusing players?
The industry is sort of self-balancing in terms of which genres are popular. It would be easy for me to just say “defense games!” as a gut-reaction to being asked about which genre is the most popular, but I think that we’ve seen so many defense games recently that it’s now a little harder for games in that genre to get noticed anymore. I think that sponsors are actually pretty open to sponsoring innovative games, just like players are open to experiencing them. You always have to keep the user experience in mind, so just having a confusing game that isn’t fun to play doesn’t get a free pass in the artistic sense just because you label it as being “innovative.” I don’t think that innovation and fun have to conflict at all, nor do I think that innovative games need to be inherently confusing.
5. On average how many games do you sponsor per month?
I think we probably sponsor about 4-6 games per month, but it varies quite a bit. Last month we had a bunch of big games (Chronotron, Monsters’ Den, Platform Racing 2, Dungeon Defender), but I don’t think I’ve even done a single game yet for June…
6. What sort of sponsorships do you offer? Do you just do exclusive sponsorships, or do you buy the rights to some games occasionally?
I really don’t like the potential for conflict between myself and a developer when it comes to their game, so the terms I offer are very lenient. All I really ask for is the exclusive rights to show Kongregate ads in a free-floating distribution version. The developers I sponsor are free to run cpmstar/Mochi ads and sell site-locked licenses to other sites without our branding if they wish. This means that sometimes I’ll offer less money than another site who’d rather have tighter control, so it’s ultimately up to the developer how much the rights to their games are worth. They can sometimes get more money by trading more away.
7. Besides the game itself, what do you think the best way to actually present yourself to a sponsor is, in terms of things to say?
My biggest suggestion would be to keep things short. If it’s too long, I might not read it. I’m bad enough about reading email as it is, and even worse about replying. So don’t feel offended if I don’t get back to you about something. But ultimately, I just want to hear about your game. If there are known bugs that are going to be fixed, I want to know about those. I want to know how big the game is, so I can get a sense of its scope without having to play for a full hour. If you have previous games that were successful, those are worth mentioning. Overall, though, I wouldn’t concentrate too much as trying to sell yourself up as a developer. If you put your game out there and let sponsors know about it, they’ll recognize its value and compete for it if it’s good. How you introduce yourself probably won’t play a huge role in that process.
8. Around how many emails do you get a day Greg?
I’d say probably at least 5 emails a day. That might not seem like a lot, but also keep in mind that I don’t do sponsorships full-time, and it can often take 30 minutes to really play a game and evaluate whether it’s worth pursuing. Then even if a sponsor does make an offer over email, there’s a very high likelihood that someone else has already made a higher one, so this whole inefficient system of email bidding arises. I think that FGL really was born out of necessity in that respect. It’s much much easier to use this site than to go through emails, especially when I have achievements to do as well.
9. Do you see 2D flash games staying as popular as they are now, or do you think that eventually something that allows 3D game devopment to be easier and more accessible could create a downflass in the flash community in the next 5-10 years?
I don’t think that 3D games will ever replace 2D Flash ones. Shockwave has been around forever, and it never replaced Flash. This might be because of the plug-in requirement, but I think beyond that, people will always have fun playing simple web games, and I don’t think that adding a 3rd dimension makes the game experience inherently more enjoyable. We saw what happened with Sonic the Hedgehog, right?