Updates on My Robot Game

November 11, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz
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A lot of you seem to be quite interested in the robot game I am developing, so here’s an update on how thing’s have been progressing.

First, I’ll reveal a bit more about the actual game. The game is called RobotWarz, located at RobotWarz.com, and is an online multiplayer flash-based game where players can quickly sign-up for a free account. They they build their own custom robot, which has many customizable options, and then proceed to fight other robots in an arena-style environment.

Only a couple of weeks in, we’re obviously still only in the very early development stage, but currently have a good underlying programming core developed. Basically, the main fighting engine has its framework laid out and now work is starting to focus on other elements of the site such as the user registration, control panel, etc. The graphics will be amongst the last things that get developed.

While the game is currently playable at an extremely basic level, it’s constantly being modified and improved so it’s still in early alpha stages. We hope to offer a public playable beta version sometime in December, possibly a private beta version before then.

Initial Site Up

I put up a basic splash page at RobotWarz.com in order to start building up a mailing list and to provide any news and updates for those interested. I created a Twitter account (@robotwarz), an AWeber mailing list, and put up a forum.

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The splash page was just made by me so it’s not a hint of what the actual site or in-game graphics will look like, but I’m actually pretty proud of how decent I made the temporary textual logo look!

It will most likely be very difficult to gain an early following to the game before it’s released since I have no prior games to leverage any traffic from. We will probably just have to wait until the game is released before word starts to spread.

Monetization Plan

RobotWarz will be free to everyone, with the option of upgrading your account to a Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum account on a monthly subscription basis. The price ranges for the paid accounts will be approximately $2, $5, $10, and $25 respectively.

There is a great blog post written by Colm Larkin in which he compares how much money flash game developers can make by offering the game for free with the upsell of purchasing the entire game or upgrading the account in some way, to simply slapping ads in-and-or-around the flash game.

“Luckily there’s a better way to fund game development than scrounging for ad-pennies. It’s been proven in almost every form of consumer entertainment ever made, from theatre to music to cinema and yes, even games: ask the consumer of the entertainment to pay you for providing it. That’s it. Asking the players to fund game development takes away the dilution effect of trying to get ads to pay everyone’s cut, and directly rewards the developer regardless of the size of their ‘aggregated traffic-power’. It works for all those other kinds of entertainment, and it certainly works for the rest of the gaming industry.

And it can work for flash games too. Several developers have been successfully charging players for full versions of their free flash games, by integrating a payment processor such as PayPal. This method (often called a “demo”, write that down) is so proven that almost no console or PC game doesn’t use it.

Others have tried splitting out the purchase into smaller bundles using a microtransaction/virtual currency provider, and are charging for decorative things like a fancy hat or small upgrades like level packs and new weapons instead of selling the whole game in one go. In fact recently launched providers such as MochiCoins, GamerSafe and Heyzap have made it easier than ever for flash developers to take payments from players.

One advantage of the idea of using virtual items, temporary powerups, or other small purchases is that you aren’t putting a cap on how much your biggest fans are able to spend on your game. Generally speaking selling virtual items works best in a persistant-world / MMO style of game, where you can put all kinds of social and economic effects into play to really leverage the idea…”

He provides a number of examples. I will post just two of each method below:

Flash Games Supported by Ads:

Desktop Tower Defense

One of the original ‘break out hits’ of modern free flash games, created by a single developer, and supported by ads inside & around the game:

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Total Plays: 15 million in the first few months
Gross Revenue: ~$12,000 in that same time frame
Gross eCPM: ~$0.80

Mytheria

A fairly typical successful flash game, though not a massive hit in terms of plays:

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Total Plays: 3.7 million plays to date
Gross Revenue: ~$8,200 to date
Gross eCPM: ~$2.22

Flash Games Supported by Sales/Memberships:

Fantastic Contraption

A free-to-play flash game, hosted on it’s own site plus some portals, with a premium unlock for $10 that let you make your own levels and play other people’s custom levels. Included solution-sharing via unique URL that helped it spread virally:

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Total Plays: Over 3.5M unique users in the first 3 or so months
Gross Revenue: For every unique site visitor, he converts 0.5% to a paid version [at $10] = ~$175,000
Gross eCPM: ~$50.00

Now Boarding

A free-to-play flash game hosted on various portals that had an upsell to a downloadable for-sale version (at ~$15):

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Total Plays: 4.2M – 6.2M plays (some portals made it impossible to track this, hence the range) over the last year
Gross Revenue: 10,500 sales so far x $15 = ~$155,000
Gross eCPM: ~$25.00-36.90, depending on above

Early Signs Show Positive

In the Fantastic Contraption example above, it shows the game converting to sales at 0.5%. I had a friend create a poll on a flash game related-site which has an audience which will also be RobotWarz’s target audience, asking them if they would purchase a monthly subscription to RobotWarz, without giving them any details of the game, just that it’d be better than the game they’re currently playing.

So far, 13% of them said that they would purchase a monthly subscription and 8.7% said maybe. That is a lot higher than I was expecting, as I would have been quite happy with 5%.

Now, this is of course only a poll and there were around 30 votes so it’s not the most accurate thing in the world, but it does help to give a rough idea of what can be expected.

I am quite confident that the game will take off and be pretty popular, so the fact that 13% have said that they would purchase a monthly subscription is very encouraging.

Porting to Facebook and iPhone

If the online version of RobotWarz proves to be popular, I will be porting the game to Facebook and the iPhone. This type of game should work very well on both platforms.

More to Come Soon

I will try to give you guys more details on the game as things progress. I’ll try to give another update in a couple weeks – by then I may even be able to show you some early screenshots of the game.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: November 11th, 2009 under My Websites  

46 Responses to “Updates on My Robot Game”

  1. used tires says:

    Pretty cool Tyler! I’ve already signed up for the newsletter so Hopefully you’ll hit me and have me as a beta tester if you allow for it, hehe.

    Till then,

    Jean

  2. Kevin says:

    good luck with the game

    I have a feeling, this will work out well!

  3. Austin Schwab says:

    sweet!

  4. Brian says:

    I signed up for the forum and posted. Happy to grab ‘Brian’! I’d be happy to beta test. I always did find that fun to try and break software. :)

  5. Just dont forget to incorporate incentivised CPA offer’s into the game. You will find that even those not willing to upgrade will still sit there for hours filling in offers (Even mobile ones) to gain the upgrades.

  6. Ethan says:

    I like the idea Tyler. Flash games are fun to play, and I’ve never followed the development of one before, so I look forward to your update posts.

  7. Jason says:

    Its obvious what game your copying Tyler. He’s doing a clone of mybrute but instead using robots.

  8. LukePeerFly says:

    It’s going to be a sweet game. I’ve submitted for e-mail updates and look forward to watching the development of the game. My bot WILL OWN ALL. :)

  9. Seems you like have planned this game out pretty well. Good luck in getting the game profitable

  10. Paul says:

    that robot games look interesting, i will sign up now to newsletter. goodluck into this project

  11. Brad says:

    Looks like you did your research :)

    Is this a going to be myBRUTE style of game?

    It’s funny that the crappiest looking game,
    made the most money in the examples sited above.

    Just goes to show you that’s it really boils down to gameplay for flash and not fancy graphics games.

    I’ll tell my 5,000 flash gamer list about your game
    when you open up beta verison of the game

    Good luck! can’t wait to see it.

  12. joe says:

    How did you go about finding your developer? Word of mouth referal?

  13. Good luck on your venture. I am eager to see how well you can monetize this game.

  14. How successful do you think this will be? The graphics look like 5 years old.

  15. Hey you don’t need to convince us that it will work. Just go for it.

  16. Just like how blogging went popular, flash games are too. Luckily I managed to find developers at VERY low costs, so I’m ready :)

    -Mike

  17. Melvin says:

    really looks to be an expensive project.. good luck man..

  18. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    Tyler, the robot is cool man! I’m sure your investment sure be a success one. :)

    Keep it up and wish you all the best Tyler!

    Regards,
    Lee

  19. Flash games are amazing!

    I think your robotwarz is better than except for that tower defense. Almost all of the gamers play TD, their very addicting.

    I am looking forward for your robotwarz! Goodluck tyler.

  20. Pet Society says:

    I figured those flash games would be making more than they are.

  21. Looks kinda cool. Can’t wait for this game to come to facebook.

  22. I have a feeling, this will work out well!

  23. zap oyun says:

    reareally looks to be an expensive project.. good luck man..

  24. Magazin says:

    good luck with the game

    I have a feeling, this will work out well!

  25. SıcakHaber says:

    good luck with the game

    I have a feeling, this will work out well!

  26. Keyif says:

    good luck with the game

  27. It’s going to be a sweet game.

  28. Jammer says:

    good luck with the game

  29. Adult izle says:

    waow is great post man

  30. hizlindir says:

    it seems good article. thanks

  31. I was going to ask…is this anything like mafia wars? I see that game everywhere but have never played it or even seen a screenshot of it.

  32. Bidet says:

    This game looks really cool, Im sure you will be to profit nicely off of it.

  33. Good luck on your venture. I am eager to see how well you can monetize this game.

  34. Good due dilligence you did here. Tower Defense was a monster hit, it definitely turned a few heads. And i believe it was an old concept from a Warcraft mod or similar!

  35. Sorry folks. Thanks for the invite but I’m not really into most of the games. I’m here to meet old fiends and perhaps meet some new one’s. I love the trivia games but alas, the farm, mafia other games are not my thing. Please don’t semd me any games or requsts for games. I’ll stick to my trivia and answering the que…stions on politics and such.

  36. I don’t understand how ppl have time to sit for hours on end playing these games!!! Get a life off of the computer!! Or get a real farm or aquarium and see how things go for you!!!

  37. looks like it is offline now, wish it will be back soon.

  38. I signed up for the forum and posted. ;)

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