Tuesday, May 29, 2007
How To Earn $8000 / Month By Making a Free Flash Game.
Wow. It is possible to earn six figures in annual income on a single game programmed in approximately one month. The trick is - you have to make a really popular Flash game. Which is about like catching lightning in a bottle. But GigaOM has an interview with Paul Preese, author of Desktop Tower Defense, which shows just what is possible by a solo programmer.
I was pointed in the direction of this game by community members here after I evangelized Flash Element Tower Defense a few months ago. Like most Tower Defense games, it's wonderfully addictive and fun. And it's free. Yet this free game is clearing $8000 / month for the developer, with 20 million pageviews per month.
Why am I wasting my time writing games in Torque, I wonder?
Oh, wait, right... the trick is writing the RIGHT game. There are zillions of Flash games out there right now (some that are even pretty good) that aren't earning diddley. Like all successful games , it is just a combination of a great game, the appropriate marketing, and good luck. But in the interview, Paul outlines several things he did to increase his odds and help make the game the success it has become:
#1 - Take a Well-Known Genre and Make It Better
Ouch. Once again, pure innovation doesn't seem to cut it. Paul borrowed from the popular Warcraft III mod, and even from Flash Element TD, and built on that solid foundation. But he didn't just create a "me, too" product - he added some new ideas of his own. So yes - there's definitely some innovation in there. Sometimes it doesn't take much.
#2 - Promote Through Web Aggregation Sites
I'd say promote through any means possible. But it is interesting to see that as word-of-mouth (and word-of-social-bookmarking) grew, its slow start began to snowball.
#3 - Profit Through Ad Revenue
Once you get up to 20 million pageviews per month, I guess Adsense begins to make some real money. Though he's also getting some direct advertising deals as well. He's probably making much more than he'd have made if he tried to sell his game for $5 or $15 a pop.
#4 - Keep the Budget Low
Paul thinks he can create a game the scale of Desktop TD every month. It costs him $130 a month in server fees. If the game had cost a quarter-million to make, it might never have become profitable.
So there you go. This is not a formula for success by any stretch --- but indies should take note and learn from each success. Congratulations to Paul Preese for not only a successful game, but a truly fun and entertaining game. And a tip o' the sombrero to Coding Horror for the link!
(Vaguely) related envy...
* Design: Picking Apart Flash Element TD
* Quick Strategy Games
* RPG In a Week
* Should I Become An Indie Game Developer?
* The Ten Commandments of Indie Game Developers
* 20 Ways to Make Money Making Indie Games
* How to Avoid Making Money Making Indie Games
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