Monday, September 15, 2008

Making Successful Games is Very, Very Hard

With all the news recently of games making millions of dollars a year on Facebook, many of you will be tempted to don your armor +1 and enter the arena.

Well, that gold isn't just lying around waiting to be snatched up. Most likely, you'll walk away with a couple of pennies.

There's over 40,000 apps on Facebook. 40 apps make enough to build a company. 400 apps make enough to live off. 4000 make enough for beer money. That's a very rough estimate.

Let me put it this way: 36,000 Facebook apps are worthless.

But they cost time and money to build.

Fact is, lots of talented, intelligent, and experienced game designers and game design companies have launched games on Facebook and seen them attract less than 5000 users a day. Many attract even less. I personally know teams that have spend tens of thousands of dollars on development of games that have gotten almost no traction. It's horrible.

It's All About Luck, Except For Playfish

Even the top companies in the space, Zynga and SGN have had very mixed track records even with their game networks and millions in the bank. Playfish, however, are batting %100. Those guys are AMAZING. Someone observed to me recently that Playfish is just remaking Nintendo DS games (Biggest Brain = Brain Age, Pet Society = Animal Crossing). If so, it's working brilliantly.

Just thought I should let you know.