In the last few years the gaming industry has seen a boom of casual games, or as they are commonly referred to, flash games.
These games are normally characterized by being short, addictive and fun to play. But recently it seems that more and more effort has been put into these flash games to make them longer and more entertaining – The Last Stance 2 and Sonny to point out a few – are becoming ever more complicated and advanced. However the learning curve remains – in most cases – quick and simple.
Flash game portals have gone from being something new to being everywhere! It doesn’t take much to start one of your own, as you can buy a premade script and modify it to suit the needs of your particular site. Having a successful portal however is a different story, as there are so many of them it is not easy to stand out from the crowd. And the road from having one of the smaller ones like http://www.flashallnight.com to having one of the big ones like http://www.kongregate.com is long, but not impossible!
The range of people developing Flash games is huge! Making games is no longer reserved for the big companies and people with big budgets – all you need to make a flash game is an application like Macromedia Flash or Adobe CS. The age of game developers is also something that has been changing and I was greatly surprised when I first started venturing into the game developer communities. I’ve talked to developers down to the age of 10-12 years old that have been “playing” with flash for years. Although “play” might not be the best word as some of these skilled developers pull in thousands of dollars from their games.
A new market for advertisers:
As with any other popular scene the rise of casual gaming provides a new stage for advertisers.
Everywhere you look there are advertisements, so why shouldn’t there be some in flash games as well? A few companies like Mochiads saw the potential market flash games were creating and started acting as a bridge between the advertiser and the game developer. Now game developers who previously did not make much from their hard work except for some recognition can easily add a small piece of code into their game and start getting paid for every player that they reach.
However, in-game ads are not the only way developers can get paid for their work.
Before advertisers approached the casual game developer, flash portals appeared and offered money to have their logo appear as the game loaded and on the game menus. This meant more traffic for them and as we all know, more traffic means more money, so it quickly became self-sustaining.
Today you can see sponsorships ranging anywhere from $50 to several thousand. This means that if you have the right game and can keep your cool you can make quite a bit of money. Don’t just take the first offer that comes along.
There are several kinds of sponsorship available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages, but I’m not going to go into the details of them all right now.
Are casual games here to stay?
The market for online games has been growing for a few years, and they’ll continue to rise in popularity as long as schools, office jobs, lunch breaks and boredom are still with us. The biggest advantage flash games have over regular games is that you don’t have to sit down for hours to play a game that cost you money and that you might not even end up liking.
If it were a flash game you could move on to the next game and the only cost would have been a few seconds and a few clicks.