Current State of Flash Games on FGL

Current state of Flash games on FGL

One of the questions we get a lot is “how are web Flash games selling on FGL?”  And, especially since we’ve been pushing a lot on mobile and HTML5 games, developers are increasingly interested – and concerned – about the state of the web Flash game market.

So, we thought we’d put together a little write up about the data we see on Flash games that have been going through FGL in the last year.

First of all, we still see $150k – $250k a month spent on web Flash sponsorships and non-exclusive licenses of Flash games.  One thing should be noted, though: some of this money spent is paired with the purchase of the Flash games’ mobile counterparts (sponsors are paying for both the Flash web game and mobile publishing rights together), but not a significant share.

The biggest recent change we’ve seen in Flash games is a significant downward trend in sponsoring high quality games for $10k+ up front.  As an example, in the last 6 months we’ve seen 2 games go for over $10k for a primary or exclusive up front amount (though there were a number of games that came very close to $10k).  In the 6 months before that time period, we saw 16 games over $10k!  And currently in bidding there are only 2 games going for over this number.  So, while it is still very possible to achieve these numbers, the likelihood is vastly reduced from just 6 months ago.

The number one factor for this change is due to the very large sponsors diverting their budgets to mobile.  This is something almost every, if not every, large sponsor has done.  Some to the extreme of leaving Flash altogether.  What is interesting is FGL believes that sponsors are prematurely leaving the Flash game market. This is not something we say lightly because we ourselves are heavily invested in mobile and HTML5.  In fact, most of OUR revenue comes from the other markets as you can see in our 1st Quarter sales stats (we take a cut of all the revenue developers make).  So we have no real agenda in saying this.  In fact, most, if not all, of these large sponsors are still working with FGL to acquire mobile games.  Before we explain why we think sponsors are leaving the market too early, here’s a little more insight into money flowing through FGL:

Even with the major difference in top game spending, the total money flowing through FGL for Flash games isn’t so drastically different over the same time period.  This is due to a couple of factors.  1) Mid-level bids have increased both in their amounts and frequency.  The average bid amount for a mid level sponsor is higher over the last 6 months than before, and there are more mid level players. and 2) Non-exclusive licensing has gone up.

For item 1) much of this is obviously due to the big sponsors bowing out.  It has created a buyer’s market and even allowed new players to come in and capitalize on the change.

Item 2) is a big reason we believe sponsors are leaving the Flash market too early.  A main factor in why non-exclusive sales have gone up is due to companies who had previously left the Flash market, only to return when they saw revenues drop.  In particular, one large company we work with redesigned their site to de-emphasize their Flash games, only to redesign it BACK and populate it with more and newer Flash games.  Their initial change dropped their revenue significantly, and it rose back up with the change back.

FGL strongly believes all publishers, and developers, should be thinking toward the future, and towards having the biggest mobile presence possible. However, without an already present, and strong, revenue stream in mobile, we advise that you protect any current revenue streams you have with Flash. Furthermore, there’s no reason for these things to be mutually exclusive.  In fact, our current advice for publishers is to maintain both a Flash and Mobile portal as well as invest in native apps.  This is all very achievable with most publisher’s budgets.  Drop us a line if you would like any help in accomplishing this.

In summary, we currently see Flash game sponsorships stabilizing, we seen non-exclusives increasing, and we think that many sponsors are prematurely leaving the Flash game market.  It is possible there may be a resurgence in sponsorships from sponsors who don’t find success on mobile, or from new players taking advantage of the gap, but we suggest that developers at least tinker in HTML5 or porting their games to native mobile (or better, both!)

10 thoughts on “Current State of Flash Games on FGL

  1. Hope flash will comeback as before! cause the higher the competition in mobile. the lesser will be the demand. ( I hope lol )

    I saw NEWLY sponsors investing their money buying site-lock/primary games for their site. and Im wondering why now? cause they said flash is dead this days? hmmm..

    anyway its not that dead maybe cause I sold my game for 3k last month :p

  2. Thanks for this very important blog post.
    Please consider re-phrasing your wording, as I noticed that you say a comple of times, for brevity, that sponsors are leaving “leaving the Flash game market”, but I think you actually mean you they are leaving the Flash desktop. game market. From a developers point of view, mobile games running created using Actionscript and running on Adobe Air are just as much Flash games as the Flash games you are refering, which run on the browser, so this may cause confusion to some.

  3. I’d just like to chime in and say that Armor is still spending a very solid chunk of money ($20k+ per month) sponsoring flash games. We are just doing most of it outside of FGL. I suspect a lot of other sponsors are as well. So just because FGLs numbers are down on the flash sponsorship side (especially at the high-end of things) doesn’t mean the industry is dying. Perhaps it just means FGL is dying as the place for flash game sales.

  4. If sponsors are moving to Mobile and HTML5, would it possibly be in FGL’s best interests to invest in Haxe/OpenFL?

    They have an ongoing patreon campaign and have made some really significant strides in the last year, particularly with HTML5 support.

    Haxe/Flambe is also popular with major players like Nickelodeon:

    My own take on the situation from a few months back (please excuse the linkbait title):

    I personally use OpenFL via the HaxeFlixel library, an open source community I actively contribute to, and although I’m mainly focused on the desktop targets a lot of my fellow HaxeFlixel users report very good results on mobile and web (flash) targets, with promising developments in HTML5.

    Full disclosure: I am getting a bit of a reputation for being a major Haxe/OpenFL booster, but nobody pays me to do so; I am not employed by OpenFL or anything (although I have invested some of my own money in the platform). I just see it as the natural evolution of the flash platform.

  5. In my point of view its very difficult to say that Flash Game Market is dying but yes I agree that most of the publishers (thanks to those publishers who still have the strength to sponsor flash game) are turning to HTML 5 and Mobile games. But one thing I would like to highlight people(publishers) uses the web portal to promote their HTML 5 and Mobile Games. So at least as of now I can say that users are willing to come on web first and then to the other media and if publishers want maximum visitors on the web they need Flash Games. So conclusion is Flash will live forever. Flash Rocks!

  6. I am sure you are avare that flash game can be compiled as native app and it is not a lot of work[of course game has to be properly optimized], so you get native app on iOs and android[it is even possible to get your app to work on blackberry].
    It is logical that investors, as people interested in revenues, not knowing to much about designing and coding, to start asking for html5, because there was a big hype around late Steve’s “Thoughts on flash”, so as expected in a rat race internet gaming became,it drove investors to html, and it is even more logical that now they are backing up, since html is inferior platform still, and making of a game is twice as long. Flash/AIR is still very much present, despite all the bad PR and is still best cross platform for mobile, and best tool for interactive web content, so my advice – educate your clients, and cherish your developers. We are making money for them, not the other way around

  7. the article seems to distinguish mobile and html5, but it’s not clear.
    (And I agree that “mobile” games can be done with Flash/Air, for html5 it’s different)
    Regarding sponsors:
    – For html5, I guess there is not much difference with Flash, in terms or business model.
    – But for “mobile” apps: does it mean that eg Armor sells apps on iOS/android? is the model based upon micro-transations, advertising?
    Perhaps more information on the mobile+html5 market would be welcome.

  8. Hey Everyone. So, I was wondering why some people were coming to the “Flash is dead” conclusion when we were saying just the opposite. Then I realized the only two bolded statements were about mobile. I changed that now. Please re-read and see if your mind is changed :)

    @Tass as I said, please re-read. Actually people are spending just fine. Just not as much for the larger titles. Your point proves ours actually, you guys used to spend way more than $20k a month, and Armor would pick up one or several large games a month… bigger than your current budget for all games per month. I’d argue that FGL is one of the main factors keeping Flash for web alive. And one main point of this article is actually to let sponsors know not to leave the market unless it actually makes sense to do so for them!

  9. @Aleksandar FGL does advise developers to get games on mobile through AIR. In fact, we have an entire program called our “Mobile Platform” that is currently more than 2,500 mobile apps! The problem is it is so popular we are having issues adding new developers. We’re currently building a process to help us with onboarding bottlenecks. Feel free to contact FGL_Adam if you are interested, though.

    @gludion most licensing of native mobile apps is for getting the game on a new app marketplace, or revenue share/publishing rights on current app marketplaces.

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