Here’s another list that I haven’t updated in 6 months… the top sponsors and developers ONLY including my top100 most viewed videos. Data is cumulative between YouTube and 5min (since I’ve done 9+ million views in the past 8 months on 5min, most of which are Armor’s).
The top sponsor list remains the same at the top, with Armor maintaining their roughly 50% of the total views and 33% of the videos. The biggest gainer is Spil Games, who have jumped to 14 games on the list and over 8.5 million views; I suspect a year from now Spil will overtake Armor.
On the dev side, Joey and John remain 1 and 2, but Eugene, Belugerin, gmentat, and PITon are trying to close the gap. I’ve cropped the list to only include devs with 1 million or more total views out of their top100 vids.
And my 100th video is now sitting at 245,000 views. I forget to count the new entries to the list, but I think it was around 13.
I last updated this list 5 months ago (and 1st did it 5 months before that). Once again, there is plenty of changes to the list; 21 new games, to be exact. The 100th video viewcount has increased from 93k to 155k. Total top100 views are up to 45 mil. Armor is still well in first, BubbleBox is still 2nd (although will probably lose ground, now that they aren’t owned by Martijn anymore)… the big newcomers are Spil Games and Slix Media, with NotDoppler also having a nice increase. Things are now neck and neck between Joey and John for top dev. And the top100′s % of total views is now down to 71.4%.
Views are in thousands. Count is the number of videos that sponsor/dev has on the top100 list.
The original list is from February. A lot has changed since then. There are 17 new videos in the Top 100. The 100th video viewcount increased from 58k to 93k. Total views from the Top 100 has increased from 22 mil to 33 mil. But other things remain the same… Armor is well in first, with BubbleBox still solidly second. Joey Betz is still my top dev, but John Cooney and Eugene Karataev are gaining. And the % of views from the Top 100 has decreased from 81% to 76%.
I’ll try and keep this short: Greg went to add badges to a just-released game. I suggested Möbius Strip as the badge name. So Greg adds it, complete with umlaut. I reload the game page, and it gives me an error. The umlaut broke the game page AND all of /badges/.
So Greg’s solution was to unpublish the game, go home, and deal with it tomorrow. I’m not sure if he knew the /badges/ page was down also… I didn’t mention it to him until about 3 seconds before he left.
Now, the obvious solution to this mess would be to just change out the ö for an o. Yet Greg did not do this… why? He’s not retarded, so I’ll infer the only logical explanation: he has no access/method to edit/delete a badge or badge name after it’s been released. As such, the only thing he could do was disable the game from being played; he has no ability to do anything about the /badges/ page… and hopefully place a frantic call in to one of the engineers or Greers to fix the problem before morning.
I could easily go off onto a whole tangent in regards to Greg’s lack of access, but that’s not my fight. Instead, let’s just bask in the awesomeness that I broke an integral part of Kong’s site and forced the shut down of a newly released, Kong sponsored, and 4.45 rated game! The bad news, however, is that that hurts me… I have a walkthrough in the game.
Monday started with 7am polka. Not too bad of a way to start a day, all things considered. However, we apparently forgot to turn on the heat in the room… and I was a frozen Tassicle. I finally got out to bed around 7:40, showered, and we were off for some breakfast sandwiches at 8am.
Yummies consumed, we hailed a cab and reached FGS by about 8:45. Check in, free t-shirt and other goodies, and we quickly entered the main room to catch the end of Jameson’s (CEO of Mochi) opening remarks.
I’ll save my commentary about FGS for a 3rd post, and stick to narration for this post. For the 9:00 session, I went downstairs to the “dev room” and listened to stories about the making of Canabalt and how Nitrome went from barely being able to eat Ramen to having an office of 10 people. At 10, I went back upstairs for a panel on about microtransactions by owners of MTX platforms. The 11:00 hour was a “state of Adobe” presentation, and since that was highly technical and of no use to me, I used that time to network in the hallway. I talked to tons of people, including Zeebarf, Crazy Jay from MaxGames, John from CrazyMonkeyGames, Lars from King, and many, many others.
After that was lunch, which was some uber-fancy box lunch nonsense that made Simple Tass cry. I sat with ConArtist and his Aussie possie, and we chatted about a bunch of interesting stuff. Towards the end of lunch, I moved to the “Kongregate” table, and met AlisonClaire, Ducklette, and a few other newer staffers who I hadn’t met before; Greg Weir was also at the table and 2 gentlement from EA Games. My position as someone who never will be made a mod on Kong was affirmed many times over. My dreams are officially ruined. Lol.
The 2nd annual Mochis followed lunch, and some cool games won awards… including Sacred Seasons. Had Jamie told me that they won (winners knew ahead of time), I could have accepted the award for them. Given I’m a mod in the game and whatnot. Oh well. Also, Mechanarium has some crazy sexy art.
2:00 and 3:00 were 2 more panels about making money… one by devs who made craptons of money by not going the sponsorship route, and one by sponsors pleading for devs to get their games sponsored. Greg was one of the speakers on the sponsorhip panel (moderated by another one of my Polish panel members, Jared Riley… ) and totally kicked ass. 4:00 brought a short break, which was filled with more networking, mostly with Andrew Sega (who made Mytheria, amongst other things).
The final session I attended was by Sean Cooper, and made no sense to me… but many devs said it was brilliant. So I’ll assume it was. With the end of the summit was the start of the after party. Buses were provided to transport us from one location to the other, and I spent my time talking with a man named Lee from Adobe who either made Flash Player or updates it. Basically, he’s really cool and seemed to be interested in my little niche market.
1 paragraph summary of the after party: Zynga failed horriby at planning it. Full rant in FGS post. However, I did manage 2+ hours of hardcore networking, although I’m not sure how many of the people I talked with will actually have any benefit from working with me. Except Martine from Spil and the 2 fine Fins from Frosmo. Also, I “may” have changed Greg Weir’s opinion in regards to in-game walkthroughs. I am a master wordsmith!
Most of the cool people left the after party around 7 or 7:30, while I stayed til about 8:30. At which time, I joined the cool people 1 block over at what i’ll refer to as the after after party. This group included the guys from Armor, ConArtist, the Hero Interactive folks, Greg and Alison, John from CMG, Zeebarf and EntropicOrder, a random dev who made a bunch of games I’d never heard of… and then cameos by Sean Cooper, the Nitrome guys, the Thing-Thing guy, and a few others that I can’t recall. This party wound up breaking up around 12:30. At which point we walked home, slightly in the wrong direction because Greg and Alison suck at direction giving, set my alarm for 4:30, and fell asleep.
by Tass on Feb.19, 2010, under ArcadeTown, armor games, BubbleBox, Candystand, Flash, Game, jmtb02, Joey Betz, kongregate, newgrounds, NinjaKiwi, NotDoppler, Pastel Games, Statistics, youtube, Zeebarf
I spent some time on 2/17/10 compiling a spreadsheet of my top 100 videos, their aprox viewcount (rounded down to closest 1000), sponsor, developer, and whether the video was featured in-game or not. From there, I tabulated the top sponsors and the top developers (only calculated devs with 3+ videos in top 100, unless they have 800k+ views).
I have 450+ total videos, so this is less than 25% of my total videos… but these 100 account for over 22 million of my 27+ million views, so they are a fairly accurate representation of the whole. Obviously, the farther down the list you look, the less accurate it is (like LegitGames having 1 video on there, but they have 2 others that just missed the cut).
Any questions or additional data you guys would like to see? I did not include the raw list of top 100, nor did I do any analysis of in-game vs not in-game. And TITOL2 is not counted in this list for Armor or jmtb.
So I submitted a speaking proposal to FGS for a panel. I wanted to have a topic that would focus on game development, and not on ways to maximize profit. Last year’s panels and speakers seemed to almost entirely focus on making money, not touching on what makes the products worth paying for. A good game is going to result in profit. I thought about what I know and would be able to tell other people about, and game polish seemed like the most appropriate topic. With that in mind, I set to work on putting a panel together and hashing out a basic framework of what would be talked about.
To me, the most important thing was to get a solid panel, full of well known, experienced, respected, and diversified people. Naturally I would be on it, as it’s my panel. I reached out to Greg to speak from a sponsor’s perspective, and he readily agreed. Together, we chatted about who else we wanted to ask to join us. Jared Riley from Hero Interactive was my first choice, and Greg quickly agreed. Jared makes high quality games that are almost always highly polished. He is also someone that I talk to on at least a semi-regular basis. He quickly agreed, seeming really pumped at the topic and people involved. The 4th member was a longer road. We weren’t sure who we wanted, but we decided we wanted a 2nd developer. It took a bit to narrow it down, and we had one or two people who weren’t going to be at FGS this year… but we eventually brought Daniel Stradwick (garin) in. After that, I felt we had a perfect group… myself from a gamer perspective, Greg as a sponsor, Jared from his dev role running HI, and Daniel as a dev who works 6+ months on massive RPGs.
I named our panel, “Game Polish – Make Your Games Shine,” which I thought was a really catchy title… always an important thing. I also wrote up a catchy session description. However, what I’m guessing resulted in our panel being passed over is the lack of fully describing the benefit of the panel. It was something I had a hard time doing, as it just seems so obvious to me how beneficial this topic is… if you don’t make a game that has all the little things done well, it’s going to wind up pissing off too many users to the point where they stop playing it. I tried to put this into more business-like terms, but I didn’t really have much substance there. There was also an option to add a secondary abstract that was much longer, but I did not include one of these. I have a hard time putting my thoughts down well into writing, and when it’s something formal I tend to be curt.
My other fear is that I am the cause of my panel’s rejection. I’m not a sponsor, I’m not a developer… I’m just a gamer. I could see some of these people look at who I am on paper and think I’m not qualified to be speaking, or am not a big enough name to be on a panel. I really hope this is not the case. Besides the fact that I have the support and ear of many of the top portal owners and developers, I did also run the most popular casual flash game ever created for 3+ years. I may not fit inside that little box of sponsor-developer… but I damn well know what I’m talking about, I provide a completely different perspective on things than most industry people, and that seems like something that other people would benefit from.
Now I am anxiously waiting to see what the speaking topics will be at FGS. Hopefully looking at them I’ll see that my panel was outclassed. I will be very disappointed if this year’s topics all deal with profit and don’t have anything to do with game design. And I am disappointed in having my panel rejected… I was looking forward to having the opportunity to share my insight with everyone. Oh well… there’s always 2011.
January was shaping up to be a very bad month for me… worst since June, when my content still hadn’t really taken off yet. Then this weekend happened, and while the month was still sub-par compared to the previous few, it at least made it respectable. Why was January going to be such a bad month? A few reasons that I can think of… I was away for almost 3 weeks at the end of Dec / start of Jan, and made almost no videos in that time. Between Dec 11th and Jan 14th, I didn’t have a single monetized video do even 50k views… and all told, I only made about 20 vids. Not many games released over the holidays, and those weren’t very good. Also kids off from school go away on vacation during this time, etc etc.
This weekend changed that. The past 7-10 days, some good games started to hit my plate… i remain, werebox, and foreign creature 2. The planets aligned, you could say. The result was 3 of my 4 best days in terms of both ad impressions and money made (excluding my one crazy click-fraud day) and 3 of my 5 best days ever in terms of views (including #1). First, weekends always produce more views than weekdays… for obvious reasons. But what happened this weekend to cause this massive jump? Let’s look at these graphs I pulled from Insight:
(ignore that it says 1/30/10… for some reason Insight always displays the graphs as 1 day earlier than they actually are).
The least expected, and biggest, reason for this weekend’s success is that Addicting Games added This Is The Only Level to their site on Friday, leaving in the walkthrough link in-game. This pulled in 40k+ hits alone, each day… compared to the 4-6k/day it had been doing for the past few months. Second, WereBox… although I’m not 100% sure why yet. It’s on BubbleBox, but didn’t take off until 3-4 days after release. It’s on a few other mid-large portals (notdoppler, gamesfree.ca, etc), but none of the largest ones (just went onto Kong today)… yet it pulled in 25-30k for the past 3 days. Third, i remain was given a completion badge on Kongregate on the 26th (Tues), so it was already starting to taper off by the weekend. It also has yet to hit any of the other large portals. So those 3 alone were 80-85k/day views (out of the 150-160k for each day). Add to it Foreign Creature 2, Cargo Bridge Armor Edition, Alice is Dead Ep2, and Demo City 2 all contributing 5k+ each and then 400 other videos, it works out to 150-160k a day.
Basically, what this says to me is that this was one hell of a weekend… and it might not be over with yet. Numbers are definitely dropping big time today, as expected, but when WereBox and i remain hit the other large portals, it should jump their numbers big time. Plus I have 2 videos sitting finished on my desktop for Kongregate (one probably won’t do very well, the other will do at least decently with upside potential to do well). I have 2 games waiting to hit my desk for another site, one of which will do VERY well. And, let’s not forget about TITOL2… which might be released as early as Friday of this week.
Play Hanna In A Choppa! A walkthrough is also provided, of course.
So I was talking to Greg today (Kongregate’s Greg)… and it came up that there haven’t been many great games released recently. Laments were had about lack of sponsored games and lack of video views. Tears were shed (probably… Greg’s that kind of guy). He then asked me what the guys at Armor were working on, and the list of stuff I gave him surprised me when I looked at it.
Armor has 5 full-time flash developers. This is what they’re working on:
Tony: Shift 5 & a spoof TD game based around his spoof RPG game
Con: The Last Stand: Union City
Krin: nothing official, but his forum’s moderator posted that he’s working on a Sinjid sequel
John: FlipSide, a mini-game compilation akin to FSF meets Simon Says… I have a feeling the title will be changed before release… I haven’t played it, but from my understanding of the game, the title doesn’t seem to fit that well.
Joey: that phuzzle that I mentioned in an earlier blog, plus he mentioned some sequels in an ArmorBlog interview.
Now, what does this all have in common? Not a single original idea in the lot… every single one is a sequel (I’m stretching a bit on John’s game, but go with it). This seems to be a big trend in flash games recently… very few new ideas, lots and lots of sequels / title re-works. BTD4, BTTD, CycloManiacs 2, Perfect Balance 2, Epic Quest, etc etc. I could give a very long list.
There’s nothing wrong with sequels. It’s far easier to come up with 1 great idea and then capitalize on the success of that game by releasing sequels. But you can only rest on your laurels for so long… it’d be nice to throw some new concepts in now and again. Console games have been doing it for years. My fear is that this is some sort of early warning bells for the start of the industry’s decline. I’m likely being paranoid, and this just happens to be a lull time, but I’m mostly dependant on ad revenue from video views to live… so forgive me my paranoia.
What are your thoughts on flash game sequels? Are you happy to see a 5th SHIFT game or 4th Bloons TD game? Where would you like to see these top developers spending their time? I’m a bit torn on it myself. This is something I’ve told more than one developer: Sequels have name recognition. That can be a good or bad thing (or both to different people). People KNOW what Sonny is; they aren’t going to play Sonny 3 if they didn’t like Sonny 1/2… even if Sonny 3 is 100x better. So you’re immediately alienating part of your potential player base. But, there is the other half… those who will immediately play it because they recognize it and like it, and portals that will host it for the same reason. With a non-sequel, players have no bias… they see a name, a picture, and a rating and decide if they want to try the game out or not. There are obvious pros and cons to both, depending.