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Going Games: From Web Development To Game Studio In One Project


February 2, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 4 Next
 

The Launch

Rather suitably, the license deal and payment all went through just before Halloween, so we launched a couple of days before. Our primary sponsor even changed its homepage header bar to feature the monsters from the game (which was quite nice).

Our sponsor also handled most of the game distribution, so it spread pretty quickly around the various game portals around the world. For the first few weeks it was fun watching our game spread through the internet and seeing the play count rack up (We had Mochibot and Google Alerts set up so we could track who was hosting it and who was talking about it).

Facebook Version

During development of the main game, we had also started a "dress-up" style game where you could build your own monster. Originally, we had planned to have this save to a database, and then pull the user-created monsters into the main game.

However, later on I decided to axe that functionality as it would involve a lot more than simply being able to distribute a single standalone SWF. I still liked the idea of the dress-up game though, so we put together Beastie Builder and put in on Facebook just for fun, hoping it would drive some more traffic to the main game.

Once the main rush for the web version was over, I also thought we should have a go at putting a version of that on Facebook too to test the water and see if it could spread as well as it did online. I also wanted to see if we could make any further revenue using microtransactions (We decided to give Mochi Coins a go).

I wasn't hopeful, to be honest, as I had read repeatedly that regular games can't be just dropped into Facebook, as they need to be designed around the platform.

Nevertheless, it wasn't a big job, so we added various Facebook hooks throughout the game and plonked it on there. We also put some Mochi ads in at the beginning to see how that would work out. Again, the results were a little disappointing.

The Numbers

If you've read this far, I guess you're itching to know how well it actually did and how much it cost.

Number of plays. Well, over the past year, the daily play counts have got smaller and smaller since launch but there are still about 5000 plays a day worldwide. At the time or writing this total number of plays is just over 4 million, which I am told is not too bad for a cooking game. I am pretty chuffed with this number although I realize it is quite small in comparison to Flash games like Desktop Tower Defense or Bloons.

Development costs. I cringe a little when anybody asks me this. Perhaps I'm a little embarrassed? (Although I shouldn't be, for reasons I will discuss later.) I should also say that this isn't a "real" cost in that it was calculated based purely on the overall time spent on it, plus the external costs of hiring Phil and other people for the bits we needed to outsource.

Our time spent on it was our down time, in between client work, so if we hadn't been working on this, it would have been spent on some other internal activity (Like hoovering or organizing paper clips).

Anyway, in total it was around £11,500, which breaks down approximately as £9,000 for internal staff time (The cost of paying our salaries for time spent), and £2,500 on outsourcing the external assets (If this had been client job, we would obviously have needed to charge more than this because I haven't included any other operating costs, rent, profit margin, etc).

Revenues. Between our two sponsors, we made about £1,800. Our Mochi advertising on Facebook has made us a blistering £3.54, and we did manage get some revenue through Mochi Coins (one person paid us £1.85 to unlock all the levels and content, although I suspect that was my mum). We also had some Google adverts in the Facebook app and on our Robot / Lizard website which have made us a stonking £55.

Something to bear in mind here is that the Mochi ad revenue for the Facebook version was from only 10,000 plays. If we had not gone with a sponsor for the web version and used Mochi distribution with Mochi ads and coins, we could have expected to make around £2100 (Based on the CPM we received with 4 million plays).

We also would have received more traffic back to our own site, which would undoubtedly have generated more revenue from the Google Ads there, although how much that may have been is anyone's guess (Maybe if 5 percent of people clicked back to the site it would have been another £1000?)


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