Someone asked me the other day, how do I make money doing what I do? and I had to explain in the most basic way possible how I do that, and it got me to thinking that there must be a lot of folks out there who might be interested in making Flash games and making money from them and don’t really have any idea how it all works, so here’s my (very) basic guide to making money with Flash games!
How do you make money with Flash games?
There are 2 main ways to make money with Flash games for the average Flash game developer, these are sponsorship and in game ad revenue.
This is when a company (usually a games website) pays you to place an advert in your game promoting their website. This is usually a full page advert that appears before the first screen of your game appears, and they usually play for about 3-5 seconds. If players click on this advert they will be taken to the sponsors website. Usually the sponsor will also want to place their logo on the front screen of your game (also linked to their site) , a “more games” button (also linked to their site) on the front page and ask you to incoporate their high score API. The highscore API is (hopefully) a small piece of code that sends the player score to the sponsors website database, so that the score is saved along with the players username.
There are many types of sponsorship, but the main ones are “Primary” and “Non-exclusive”. Take the above example, a primary sponsorship would be when your game complete with the sponsors advert and other images inside it is sent out across the internet and appears on many different websites. This is a good way that sponsors can bring players back to their own website. The non-exclusive sponsorship is when your game complete with the sponsors advert/logo etc ONLY appears on the sponsors website, and this version of your game appears nowhere else on the internet. It is “site-locked” to that sponsors website and cannot (or should not) appear elsewhere. Primary sponsorships are worth a lot more then non-exclusive sponsorships to you and the sponsor, and they are not mutually exclusive meaning you can do both types of sponsorship for the same game. Prices for primary sponsorships can be as little as a few hundred dollars up to many thousends.
In-game ad revenue
The other main source of income for Flash game developers is from advertising networks, the biggest of these being MochiAds. How this works, is a small piece of code is placed at the start of your game (it doesn’t have to be at the start, but mostly this is how it is) and everytime your game is loaded into a website, this small piece of code displays an advert. This advert can be from various companies, including major corporations. And each time this advert is run you will make a small amount of money, when I say “small” I mean small, so small infact that this is usually measured in numbers of 1000s of people that view this advert. This “numbers of 1000s of people” has a shorter name! and is usually refered to as CPM, or eCPM or cost per 1000 people. How much you make per 1000 people varies depending upon on what website your game is on, if it is on a website in America or western europe then the eCPM can be as much as $2 (although this is rare even for these areas), however if your game is in other areas then the eCPM can be very low. So where your game is being played is crucially important when using in-game advertising.
Games can make a lot of money from sponsorship and/or from in-game advertising, but MOST don’t. The internet is full of Flash games, so it’s very hard for games to struggle to the top and make a nice amount of money, but it does happen and it’s those few successes which keeps everyone living in hope of making money with Flash games. I hope this very basic guide gives you some idea of how to earn money from being a Flash game developer.