Thursday, August 7, 2008

Platforms are Driven By Hits - Kongregate's Brilliant Move

First of all, I should have wrote this post over a year ago when Kongregate first did their deal with Desktop Tower Defense.   

Here's the history: Back in Feb/March 07, Kongregate has just launched.  At the GDC 2007, CEO Jim Greer was asked how many users Kongregate had, he deflected the question by saying "Well, we just got dugg this morning so we should see a big traffic increase."  I believe at the time, they had less than 6000 monthly uniques, but I can't get any historical data more than a year old so I'm relying on memory.

By the end of April, Desktop Tower Defense 1.2 had become Kongregate's highest rated game with 9 million plays.  Kongregate was still limping along trafficwise.  

The Kongregate struck a deal with Paul Preece, creator of Desktop Tower Defense to sponsor the next version of the game on Paul's site which was getting ~1 million unique visitors at the time.  For those who are curious, Paul says he earned 100k in the first year from 40 million game loads, which he translates to a $2 CPM.  I'm guessing The Kongregate deal was half of that.

Desktop Tower Defense 1.5 was launched on June 22nd and included a Kongregate logo on the load screen as well as a Kongregate logo directly on the gameplay area.  Traffic to Kongregate increased drastically from what I remember (and it may be faulty), but again I can't see earlier than July 07 so I can't tell how steep the curve.  I remember watching it at the time, grinding my teeth in jealous appreciation of Jim Greer's brilliance.  The current version of DTD (1.5) on Kongregate has been played nearly 4 million times, Kongregate's 2nd most played game of all time.

I think DTD was Kongregate's tipping point.  Feel free to disagree or just mock me in the comments.