On March 14th Mochiland, the blog that has been the mouthpiece for Machi Media since 2006, announced that the array of Mochi Media services for Flash game developers will go offline on March 31st. Josh Larson wrote a logn detailed message to describe the situtation. Here is the most important part of it:
"It saddens me to make this announcement today–our parent company Shanda has decided to dissolve the Mochi Media business. The last day that Mochi Media services will be available is March 31, 2014."
Developers and publishers who use the service should read the blog post so they can find out what to do with their content, and what they need to do to get their final payments from Mochi Media.
As a long-time Flash developer myself, I know full-well the flack Flash got in the traditional game community, some of it deserved, and some of it not. However, no one can deny that the Mochi set of services, from Mochibot (basic stats), through Mochi Ads, Analytics, High Scores, Game Fund, Coins, content hosting, distribution, etc. were game changers. Mochi's self-publishing model for indie game developers was the template for the current mobile games industry. The Mochi set of services gave 1000's of bedroom and semi-professional game developers their first taste at the joys and pitfalls of what the indie game industry would become in 2014. In that way, long before iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, Mochi services acted as a breeding ground for game talent where almost anyone could get an idea published at their discretion. The ones who had thick skins, and those who were not discouraged by low eCPM rates, kept making games until they were good enough to ply their skills elsewhere.
It's not a mystery as to why Mochi Media has to close its' doors. Most "Flash" game developers I knew from the halcyon days of Mochi services (2006-2010) have moved on to make games in HTML5, Unity, and Corona for platforms like Android, iOS and Steam. Some of them were lured out of their bedrooms to work on Facebook games for giant companies, and/or moved onto jobs in the traditional games and media industries. Others just kept making games on their own. Almost all of them are still working in the games industry today.
It's sad that Mochi could not find a way to extend to mobile and HTML5 gaming themselves. While they did make some moves toweards Unity support, it was too little, too late. Their inability to change with the times is a lesson for pioneers of new platforms. Maybe if they did not sell out to Shanda so quickly, maybe if they did not rely on a single technology for their APIs, they could have survived and thrived.
Maybe, or maybe not.
However, for myself, Mochi Media meant freedom. It meant I could finally break out and make the games I wanted to make, and publish them when I wanted to publish them: who cares if they were not good enough, or the types of games people wanted to play? I could experiment with little consequence, iterate, and try again. Mochi let me do that. For me, Mochi Media were the DIY disruptors of the the game industry.
They were my indie "label".
They were my punk rock.
And I will never forget them.