Yesterday I went to the Flash Games Summit in San Francisco.  The day was a definite success (kudos to Mochi Media for putting the conference together).  Next year, however, my advice is not to host the conference on a Sunday.  I can’t think of anything I would rather not do on a Sunday, than work and network all day, even if part of work is … playing games!

I did speak with check out a bunch of sessions and speak with a couple of cool flash game companies while at the show.  See my notes below and links of free flash games to check out:

  • The big takeaway from the Flash Games Summit is that there is a lot of innovation happening in flash game design but not enough innovation in actually making money.   A big concern among PC casual games download players is that PC download games are becoming too genre-specific (e.g., too many hidden object games).  Such is not the case in flash games where developers are willing to create their own games that cannot be pigeonholed in any game genre.  The problem in flash games is making money.  Someone also said that a successful flash game can generate $1000 a month, which is not enough to pay the bills.  One of the panel members wisely said that if flash game developers can put as much effort into innovating the business model around flash games as they do in designing the games, the revenue problem will solve itself. 
  • A company that is trying to innovate the flash games business model is Nonoba, a Danish flash games community and tools company.  Nonoba has just released a set of tools that enables any web site to create their very own flash games portal community.  Ironically, the tools are similar to those offered by Mochi Media but with a focus on micro-transactions.  As flash games become better, Nonoba believes that gamers increasingly will be willing to spend money to purchase flash games in the same way they buy PC download games.  Flash games would have to get much better, but if the price point was not too high, I tend to agree with them.  I took at look at Nonoba’s flash games Web site and I was impressed by the selection of 4000+ games.
  • One flash games company that is moving in the direction of creating flash games that are worth buying is Three Melons, a flash games company based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Three Melons have quietly been creating some of the nicest flash games for advertisers in the past few years, most notably the Indiana Jones Lego game and Lego Agents game.  But they are now ready to take it to the next level to create even more immersive flash games.  Three Melons have announced that they have raised $600,000 (not an easy feat in this challenging environment) and they have ambitious plans to 3D flash massively multiplayer online (MMO) games based on the 3D Unity engine.  They have already created an online soccer game with Pepsi (note: you need the Unity Plug In to play) and they showed me a preview of an iPhone game they are working on.   I have always believed that no one will pay to play flash games, but when I see the flash games coming out of this studio in Argentina, I am increasingly becoming convinced otherwise.

Gamezebo is increasingly becoming interested in flash games because the quality is getting much better and as of today, they are free (a plus in today’s environment).  Every Wednesday we feature flash web games that we think would be appealing to our audience.  Go to our Web games section (mouse over FEATURES on top navigation bar) to see our picks. 

I am skipping all the game show festivities today to prepare for my session at GamesBeat (thank you all for your suggestions) but starting tomorrow, I will be blogging and twittering more!