Jul 05 2009

Mochiads

So the Alaskagameworks games all had advertisements embedded in them through a service called Mochiads. My intent is to continue embedding my games with Mochiads until and unless I have a good reason not to.

Flash games are distributed as .swf files. Although there are nuances, if you’re playing a game you like in your browser (assuming it’s Flash rather than Javascript), you can save that game to your hard drive. You can post it to your site. No one can stop you. Popular games end up on thousands of sites because of this copying mechanic. In the downloadable software world, this would be piracy.. with ad supported games, you can just accept it’s going to happen or even encourage it. The culture of flash gaming basically ensures your files will spread on their own.

Look, I know, advertisements in games are annoying.

The thing is, there are virtually no sites which provide games in a browser which do not put at least a few (and in many case lots of) banner ads around the game being played. The revenue from those ads do not go back to the person or team that wrote the game in the first place. Although I don’t object in theory to providing an already written game to someone for free for them to distribute on their website without ads, so long as they’re not profiting from it.. I have a philosophical objection to spending a lot of time writing a game so that someone else that I don’t know gets all the profits from its display.

With Mochiads, the developer gets 50% of the ad revenues, Mochi keeps 40%, and if the site which is hosting the .swf has registered with them it gets paid 10% (otherwise Mochi keeps their share). Mochi provides several free ancillary services as well-

– Leaderboard API. This lets my games have a global high score list… without me having to run a server to store the lists.

– Distribution. Mochi provides several formats of feeds to people running games sites. Since people running these sites are dependent on a constant churn of content, many sites have automated the process of adding games from the Mochi feeds to their ‘arcades’. This makes the spreading of the game that much faster…

– Version Control. Mochi provides a mechanism whereby anywhere a .swf is played it checks to make sure it is the most current version, and if it isn’t, it updates itself while it’s loading. This allows you to hotfix bugs! Although doing something similar in a homebrew system isn’t impossible, the development time would be immense. I’m certainly not aware of anyone else who provides that service for free.

– Statistics. Mochi sells ads based on the number of ‘impressions’ the game gets, and the geographic location of those impressions. They provide that information to the developers. That’s how I know for example, that Daytrader gets a consistent number of plays from Taiwan each evening.

– Community. When I walked away from the flash scene I missed the Mochiads forums. The Mochiads forums when I originally signed up were full of people writing games… which is different than people writing software generally, and different from people playing games. (I have noticed however, that since comming back to the flash game development scene, the forums are full of people who think they’re going to get rich from the 10% publisher share. I find that annoying…)

There are other distribution and advertising networks out there. This is the one I’ve chosen to use.

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