So, RedBandana (basically my company’s game “division”) finished its first Flash game (JetBus) a while back and we uploaded it to FlashGameLicense in the hopes of finding a sponsor for it. We are completely new to the Flash games market and apart from a few tips we had before uploading the game we pretty much didn’t know what to do or what to expect.

This article is far from being a Post-Mortem, let’s face it the game hasn’t even been released. Instead it’s a breakdown of how the bidding process took place, it won’t offer tips or solutions just how it happened for this game, it might be a good or bad example so we don’t intend to mean anything by it other then the facts for this specific case.

I’ll try to detail a chronology, list of bids, list of views and some graphs for analysis. The Sponsor’s names are kept confidential for obvious reasons.

Game Views

I have no idea what is the average of views a game gets but we were surprised with how many we got, at the end of the bidding process which took around a month we had 98 sponsor views and 45 developer views. Developer views don’t really matter much except if you get useful feedback from them which in our case we didn’t, we only had 5 or 6 feedback messages and none offered any suggestions or bug reports. Here’s the numbers.

[gn_table style=”2″]
Sponsor Views Unique Sponsors Average Time
98 43 4:23

[/gn_table]

Game Plays

One important thing we’re glad we did was to include a tracking system that allowed us to see if people that viewed the game actually played it and what they did (which levels, if they failed them, etc). This will help you analyze what’s good and bad. Don’t assume a Sponsor that viewed your game for a long time even played it, some of our stats show that there were Sponsors that had the game page open for hours and didn’t even play, while others were only there for a few minutes and played, saw the instructions, browsed upgrades, etc

JetBus Stats

Bidding Process

I’m only going to highlight some of the key events during the bidding process otherwise this post would be a mile long.

DAY 1 to DAY 5

  • 14 Sponsor views.
  • 0 Bids.
  • Decided to send some messages to 6 potential sponsors, at this time we only sent messages to sponsors that had viewed the game.

DAY 6

  • 3 Sponsor views.
  • 1 Bid.

DAY 7

  • 5 Sponsor views.
  • Obviously sending messages seemed like a good idea so we went out and sent 14 emails promoting the game.

DAY 8

  • 3 Sponsor views.
  • 1 Bid.

DAY 9 to DAY 11

  • 4 Sponsor views.
  • We realized there was something wrong at this point, we should be getting more and better bids, we thought the problem could be the game having a login system that was being managed in our server which sponsors usually don’t like so we went ahead and made a new version without any login and also made a trailer as suggested by FlashGameLicense and uploaded it.

DAY 12 & 13

  • 3 Sponsor views only.
  • Obviously sponsors that had seen the game were not aware of the change so we asked FlashGameLicense to help and they flagged the game as new again.

DAY 14

  • We sent 15 messages to sponsor’s that had seen the game before telling them about the login removal.
  • 13 Sponsor views.

DAY 15

  • 3 Sponsor views.
  • 2 Bids.

DAY 16

  • 12 Sponsor Views.
  • Also got an interested sponsor who wanted to chat.

DAY 17 & DAY 18

  • 8 Sponsor Views.
  • Had a few emails sent and received as well as a chat with the interested sponsor.
  • 1 Bid from the interested sponsor.

DAY 19

  • 1 Sponsor view.
  • 1 New Bid.

DAY 20

  • 4 Sponsor views.
  • Pushed Last Call button.
  • 1 Bid.

DAY 21

  • 5 Sponsor views.

DAY 22

  • 7 Sponsor views.
  • 2 Bids.

DAY 23

  • 2 Sponsor views.
  • Uploaded a new version with some changes we had planned and discussed with sponsors.
  • Last call ends.

DAY 24 to DAY 27

  • Nothing much happened here we took this time to think about which bid to take.
  • 11 Sponsor views.

DAY 28

  • We decided which bid to accept, sent messages to both the winner sponsor and the one that lost.

Bids List

Here’s the list of the bids with names and numbers kept confidential for now (we might release numbers in a near future on another article).

[gn_table style=”2″]
Date From Details License Status
2010-10-12 Sponsor 1 Branding, API, Translations Primary
2010-10-14 Sponsor 2 Branding, CPMStar ads Primary
2010-10-21 Sponsor 3 Branding, API Primary
2010-10-21 Sponsor 3 Branding, API Exclusive
2010-10-24 Sponsor 4 Branding, APIs, Changes Exclusive
2010-10-25 Sponsor 5 Branding, APIs Primary
2010-10-26 Sponsor 3 Branding, API Primary
2010-10-28 Sponsor 6 Branding, APIs Primary Accepted
2010-10-28 Sponsor 3 Branding, APIs Primary
[/gn_table]

Lessons Learned

Just like the details are not more then an example so are the lessons we learned, they shouldn’t be viewed as nothing more then what could have been done differently for this specific game in this specific time.

Obviously the one of the biggest mistakes was to try to use our login system, this was our first game so Sponsors don’t know us yet and that might be a problem when trying to sell them something they can’t vouch to work as intended, the moment we removed the login and told sponsors about it the bids started to come but we “might” have lost some sponsors with a “bad” ¬†first impression of the game.

Polishing is shouldn’t be taken lightly, you want sponsors to view the Best possible version of the game from the first minute so leaving a couple things not at their best may really cost you a lot of money in the end.

FlashGameLicense does a good job at promoting your game but as seen from this example contacting sponsors yourself might make the difference from a couple small bids and a bidding war that takes numbers to your expectations (or above).

We didn’t think a trailer was that much important at first but it seemed to have helped getting more views and maybe even bids, we can’t be sure on this.