Flash games were the progenitors of the indie movement that has now expanded beyond its simple roots into something that rivals the major titles. The Flash game is not down and out though and many people are still making a living off of these titles. Developers just have to step it up.
Gamasutra is reporting that Bennett Foddy, the creator of the Flash classics QWOP, GIRP and Too Many Ninjas, spoke at a GDC indie games summit this morning. The talk was focused on self-publishing Flash titles instead of having them hosted on large Flash game sites like GameStop’s Kongregate.
For those unfamiliar with QWOP, just go and play it right now. It’s a simple game that should take you only a few moments to realize that you can’t win. It may surprise you then that the creator of such a brutal Flash game is also a deputy director and senior research fellow at the Institute for Science & Ethics at Oxford University.
Back to the self-publishing part though, Foddy says that he hosts his games “on a basic, rudimentary Web site and I host advertisements next to them, which is where I make money.” He says that most Flash developers no longer do this, but instead go with a Flash portal like Kongregate or Newgrounds.
Putting your game on a Flash portal has many drawbacks, however, according to Foddy. He says that Flash game portals “pay you less than the game is worth; even if they like you they promote your game but not you as an artist. The game is forever locked away from you: you can’t update, cross-advertise your other games or even choose the ads you want, and you even find your game censored.”
For those who have tried to upload their games on their own Web site and saw no return, Foddy says you need to add more before giving up. He says that his game Too Many Ninjas was not doing too well, but then he added QWOP which gave him a boost in traffic. When he had six games on the site, his business model became profitable.
Foddy also had some advice for developers who feel that they must put high score tables or achievements in their games. He says that those features actually discourage players to set their own goals and try out new things. This applies mostly to QWOP which became a meme of sorts to players across the Internet as they tried to complete the game under different variables.
Do you agree with Foddy? Should indie Flash developers host their own games? Or go with established portals like Kongregate? Let us know in the comments.