Throwing Down the Gauntlet

2 12 2007

This post is an edited reprint of a thread I created on the Talk Arcades Forums. It presents a series of thoughts on the state of the flash game arcade industry as seen from a novice noob webmaster. Given that it outlines some of the fundamental issues that I’ll be covering on this blog in the weeks to come, particularly the points about ways of revitalizing the flash arcade genre and devising new strategies for generating traffic and revenue, I thought it made sense to reprint it here as the first main post of this blog. Start as you mean to go on.

I launched my arcade a few weeks ago with zero games and I’m now at 118 games, got 4 people who actually signed up and I’m seeing a steady increase of traffic. However it’s obviously nothing spectacular.

Let me add a few more points that I’ve had in mind to the discussion on the state of flash game arcades.

After frequenting several of the main arcade forums and having visited more than 30 different arcade sites, I’ve reached the unsurprising conclusion that the flash arcade market is saturated with a majority of arcade owners vying for a tiny portion of the market’s advertising revenue. The largest portion of arcade revenue goes to the top level ‘A-List’ arcades.

Most of the ‘B and C-List’ (and forgive me for laboring this ‘A, B and C List’ analogy) arcades that exist to generate income don’t earn that much money, so arcade webmasters are inclined to run multiple arcades to stand more chance of gaining profit. This then leads to the nurturing of mediocre standards across the arcade industry: purchase cheap hosting, buy a cheap arcade script, upload a 2000-3000 games pack and repeat the process x 10 until what you end up with is a culture of arcade ‘cloning’.

flash-gaming.jpg

A-List arcades are usually run by larger media groups who can pour considerable amounts of capital funding into their projects. They therefore have the best designs, they have proprietary games, and they work with developers to create unique site options for their users. They exist in a league of their own – they would appear to be quasi-untouchable.

And while there is an audience for the B and C-list arcades, albeit at the minor end of the spectrum, I’m almost certain that it is in no way a loyal or enthusiastic audience or the type that would want to recommend this B or C list arcade to others. Rather, I suspect it is the sort of audience that webmasters generically refer to as ‘traffic’. An unknown entity, a string of numbers that could consist of pink elephants for all we care. But so long as a reasonable percentage of that ‘traffic’ clicks on our arcade banner ads, we are not going to worry about its origins or its behavior.

I would hazard a guess to say that many users of the aforementioned forums and other similar arcade forums will never come close to this so-called A-list. Not because they don’t want to, but because they have already resigned themselves to B and C list positions. They have embraced the banner exchanges, the flashing animated gifs, the pop-up ads, the endless submissions to directories and other such SEO wonders. In short, they are trapped in a self-inflicted state of stagnation; and by continuing to consume these services and in accepting these standards, they perpetuate the whole dilemma.

Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that I’m better than anyone else, I’m not here to brag or to piss people off, I’m simply working through some thoughts and strategies about how to approach the arcade industry from a ‘new’ and ‘fresh’ angle. I’m trying to find ways of pushing the boundaries of the industry and redefining its vocabulary. I’m doing this because I think flash arcades are dead.

Over the coming weeks I will be writing a series of posts on this blog about these strategies, and I will be putting them to test. I don’t have any answers to any of this right now, I simply have the motivation to step out of the mold and do something different. But to get the ball rolling rightnow, I invite anyone with any interest in this matter to respond with ideas for changing the way we run our sites. To ask ourselves how can we breathe new life into this industry? What steps can we take to generate loyal and organic traffic? And how can we give this so-called A-list a well-deserved run for its money? I’m throwing down the gauntlet…

Visit FingerMonkey.net for some free flash gamer madness!

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7 responses

2 12 2007
RickyG

I will be checking back often…..keep this going!
RIckyG
http://www.mibbi.com

2 12 2007
fingermonkey

Thanks for stopping by RickyG and for your kind words. Good to know that there’s at least one reader!!

17 12 2007
Uglygit

Add another to that reader list Andrew. 😉

Dropped by to have a gander at how your site was doing, and ended up here.

I totally agree with what your saying, I’ve only been in the arcade buisness for a couple of months, not that I inrended to but because my 6yr old happened to find a inappropriate arcade. So I created flasharcadegamessite.com, and to pay for itself yes you have to put ads and what not.

As for fresh ideas, I have a lot of those but unfortunatley I don’t have the design or programming skills.

Uglygit

http://www.flasharcadegamessite.com

18 12 2007
fingermonkey

Thanks very much for stopping by UglyGit (you really need to change that pseudonym to something more amicable!) and good to hear about the background to your site.

21 12 2007
The arcades blog » Blog Archive » Throwing Down the Gauntlet

[…] For more information go to The fingermonkey Flash Arcade Blog […]

15 01 2008
Flash Arcade

Hi Andy,

See you’ve got a pr3 on fingermonkey , well done !, its quite odd one of your pages has a pr4 (13 days in hell) most unusual.

flasharcadegamessite.com still has a pr2 so don’t know what I’ve done wrong. I’ve also ‘borrowed’ your sidebarback green header. Whilst I come up with my own although it will probably take me forever as I don’t have your talents, I promise I’ll make it up to you.

20 05 2008
billgates

nicely put andrew, You seem to have a great ability to express what is actully happening in the arcade scene. Your blogs contain usful insight that all small arcade webmasters could potenitaly benefit from. I like your idea of defining traffic, we all seem to view the amount of traffic received as potenital revenue and this is put into a little formula that we then use to calculate our revenue. All these B list and C list websites seem to develope at a much slower rate then the A list sites and I believe what you are saying about this commen state of stagnation and the cycle of repetition is very true. continue on.

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