Monday, September 14, 2009

The ethics of flash games sites.

OK, so I have my distinctly low rent flash games site up and running. While I am pleased I’m not 100% happy. This is because deep down I think that there is something deeply scummy and unethical about running this kind of site. The whole concept strikes me as being faintly parasitic. Essentially I’m trying to build a site using other people’s content without really adding any value of my own. I keep on telling myself 'hey, this is how the web works'. To an extent that's true - look at aggregator sites like the Huffington post, but that doesn't really say much. At least I'm not doing the Ebaum's world thing and pretending the games are mine.

A large part of my dislike for this kind of site stems from the fact that when I first started in flash game there was no Mochi ads, and my first, most popular games pretty much earned me nothing, despite clocking up millions of plays between them. None of my more recent, Mochi enabled games have been anywhere near as successful (lack of competition back then probably) and I’ve never been able to make any decent cash out of my games. Something I’m still oh so slightly bitter about.

Luckily now things are different. Mochi ads have changed everything, in that if someone has ads at the beginning of their game then any hits are good hit no matter where they come from. The other common way for game creators to make cash is by selling sponsorship, and I guess for that purpose any hits are good hits. I try to only put up games that are either clearly sponsored or have ads.

At some point I may try sponsoring some games myself, but as the moment I don't have the cash for that or the site/ad to take advantage of any upticks I may get. To be honest if I wanted to sponsor some good games that would actually generate some traffic I'd be up against the big boys anyway, and I don't think I'm up for that. At the moment the site is still a spare time hobby thing. Once you start sponsoring you need lawyers, accountants etc.

So, for the moment I'm going to try to carry on like this. I have a few games in the works, but my day job has really picked up and I'm not sure when I'll have enough time to look at them. Then I can start adding some games of my own and actually feel like the site isn't so worthless.

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