The Flash games panel at the Independent Games Summit on GDC at Monday showed an interesting dichotomy of different approaches to making money from Web browser-based games - though it's clear that the monetization angle is still being explored.
The panelists for the session were Chris Hughes (FlashGameLicense.com), Chris Pasley (Kongregate), Joseph Lieberman (Arcadetown), Josh Williams (GarageGames/InstantAction), and they discussed the state of the Flash game business in terms of both real and potential revenue.
The state of the industry right now is that sponsorship and in-game ads can help fund already-developed titles - if only in a minor way. For developers, ArcadeTown.com pay out $500 to $6,000 per game up front for use on their Flash game portal sites - and it's a non-exclusive deal.
For FlashGameLicense.com, one-off sponsor licenses could range up to $10,000 to $20,000 at the absolute maximum, with more smaller non-exclusive deals possible.
Overall, it's suggested that it's difficult to find an audience if you put your own game on your own site - and there are a lot of distribution channels for developers through external websites, so it's possible to make good money as a hobbyist, but it's not yet clear you can completely make a living making Flash games and then
New technology and the lure of the Web is a particular theme - with Kongregate experimenting with 'Premium' games that they are funding to the tune of $50,000 to $100,000, including multiplayer elements and microtransactions.
InstantAction indicated that its funding for its 3D browser plugin titles can run anything from $250,000 to $1 million, and may be funded through microtransactions or even subscriptions.
GarageGames is using a plugin on InstantAction.com that has a single, 'download-once' plugin that will allow any engine to run through it - from Flash through Torque Engine even all the way to Unreal Engine, which GarageGames is testing using in web browsers.
In fact, GarageGames' Williams ended the panel on an optimistic note: "GDC 2013 will be mostly web games."