A very brief history of FGL
When FGL started – almost 10 years ago now, as FlashGameLicense – it was a marketplace for the Flash gaming industry. Flash game developers could find sponsors for their games, and publishers could search through thousands of games to find great content. The site and community grew very quickly. I don’t think it’s boastful to say that FGL was ubiquitous in the Flash game industry. If you made a Flash game, you knew about FGL.
But things have changed. There was a time, years ago, where we would see developers using FGL making over $400,000 a month with Flash games. Last month, we saw closer to $5,000. Partly this is due to changes we’ve made, but mostly it’s due to the changing market. Mobile gaming grew at a startling pace, and the PC gaming market has become more accessible than ever. When you add in browser companies’ desire to limit (or eliminate) 3rd party plugins like Flash, you can see where the Flash gaming industry (and web gaming in general) has taken quite a beating.
Luckily, FGL has always been about developers – not about any specific technology. When we saw mobile gaming getting more popular we started adding new services to help developers on mobile. Some of those didn’t work out: Flash on mobile-web, the mobile app marketplace, and HTML5, for example. But others did extremely well: our Mobile Platform, where we help developers monetize and market their mobile apps, and most recently Enhance, where we help developers integrate with third party services with no need to implement SDKs. In fact, this year we will make developers more money than we ever have in the past, and that’s with almost no revenue from Flash games, which was our sole source of revenue just 5 years ago. FGL will continue to be about developers. So if another technology or market comes along, we’ll be there to help developers. That said, right now we believe focusing on mobile makes the most sense.
The FGL Flash Marketplace
A little over a week ago our Flash bidding Marketplace went down due to some server issues. As we dug into the issues we found that it would take considerable work to get things back up. Also, we noticed that there wasn’t a large outcry. If the Marketplace was down for even a couple of hours, 5 years ago, my email inbox would be full of concerns and complaints. Now… I think in total we received a dozen inquiries.
We built the marketplace nearly 10 years ago, and much of that code hasn’t changed. And much of it was built for the hardware it ran on. Hardware now that is so out of date it isn’t supported by updated versions of the software running on it. As an example, when the “heartbleed” bug came out we weren’t at risk because our system is so old it had never introduced the update that carried the bug! So, when the server recently went down, and we determined it couldn’t be brought back up we found we were in a really rough spot. We’d have to re-write much of the code that was written nearly a decade ago.
When we considered this, and looked at the lack of use and lack of money flowing through the Flash marketplace, we decided that we would not bring the marketplace back up.
Honestly, the writing has been on the wall for some time. And I think many other companies would have taken the site down much sooner, especially since we are doing so well on mobile. But, there’s nostalgia there for me. I’m extremely biased because, 10 years ago, Adam and I started this whole thing with that site. I wrote the first bits of code for the site in my living room. My developer account is still the first one listed in our database. I think I remember every developer and sponsor who signed up in the first months, if not year, and I can remember every single game that was uploaded. In fact, Adam and I were the very first Game Reviewers, so we played every game – good or bad! – that went through us. I’ve easily played thousands of Flash games 🙂 So, you can see why I might find reasons to delay shutting down the Flash marketplace. But, the time has come. Bittersweet as it is: we can no longer support the Flash marketplace, but we are helping mobile developers make more money than ever.
The Good News
The good news is the community is still as lively as ever. Our forums went down briefly when the marketplace went down, but we have them back up. Unlike the marketplace, we received lots of complaints about the forum being down. You can find the forums here.
We know that there are still Flash developers and sponsors and we want to support them as much as we can. So we will also still support Flash developer and sponsor interaction through the forums. Feel free to make deals and meet each other there!
Also, if you are a mobile developer, or are thinking of making a mobile game, as I’ve mentioned we are seeing a lot of great success there. I suggest you check out Enhance.
And, we’re always open to feedback. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris and the whole FGL Team