Game Development Reference
“[P]ersonally I think you can't do better than direct contact for building a relationship with a games site,” says Matthew Annal.
But don't stop there. “When we started out, ... I contacted over 100 sites in the beginning to see if there was
any interest [in distribution]... you should contact as many people as possible, as you never know who might
offer you the best deal,” says Annal. This kind of direct promotion to actual site owners is better than simply
uploading your game to an anonymous platform.
Alex Reeve, the lead designer at Synapse Games, describes a similar experience around Tyrant, the studio's
collectible card game. Originally they launched it on Facebook and built some audience there. But “the defining
moment for Tyrant's success,” as he puts it, was when they ported the game to Kongregate (see Figure 8-4 ) .
Currently 4,000 of their players are on Facebook, but 15,000 of them are on Kongregate.
Figure 8-4: Synapse Games' Tyrant on Kongregate
“It's hard to build an audience from scratch now on Facebook without a big advertising budget, but it is still
possible,” Reeve says. “A much more reliable way for new developers to get their feet in the door is to work
with a gaming portal—such as Kongregate—that already has a huge audience of players ready to jump on new
Consider Licensing before Advertising
In particular, Annal recommends Miniclip and Armor Games as potential partners.
Starting out, it's nearly impossible for a new developer to make significant money from advertising. “[I]n fact,”
says Annal, “I would say it is almost impossible to gain the amount of traffic needed to be worthwhile on the
back of a single game.” Instead, Annal recommends first pursuing licensing deals (sometimes called a “spon-