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The future of Flash MMOs with Daniel James pt. 2

Michael Zenke

How do you compare what you're doing here with other Flash game initiatives on the web?

Daniel: Well, they're sort of doing our thing and we're doing ours. We're not really interested in becoming the next Kongregate with thousands and thousands of flash games in Whirled. We're looking for a smaller number of – dare I say – good and interesting games. That's, I think, what we're going to see when people make original content for the platform. It's just a bit unique, you'll find it everywhere on the internet, but it's going to be built on Whirled. We're already pushing our Whirled games back out to sites like Kongregate, but it's essentially Whirled in a little box.

To make it really work in-Whirled, games need to do a few things. They need to give out coins, give out trophies, they need to do some work with our APIs. We know how reluctant Flash developers can be to get into this new stuff, but the community is moving forward as a whole. We think we're only a step or two ahead of them at this point.

We've talked a little bit about the 'bars' system, and revenue. Can you go into some more detail on that?

Sure. The revenue for a given sale is getting split into three ways. The developer takes a third, we're taking a third, and the third part of that sale is going to the account that brought the buyer to Whirled. The interesting thing about that, for a game developer or anyone really, is that you can say "I'm not going to worry about monetizing my game, I'm just going to bring a lot of people to Whirled." If your game is a big attractor, there's a business model there for you even if you're not charging anything / making something directly.

People get sucked in, play your game, then they go off play more games, buy avatars, but a third of everything they do will accrue to you.

"If your game is a big attractor, there's a business model there for you even if you're not charging anything / making something directly."

How are you guys tracking that. Is that first-come, first serve, your first interaction with content in Whirled?

Yeah, whoever first stamps you when you enter Whirled. So you send an email to someone, that has your ID on it. Your room is nicely done up, you invite people in via that, that has your ID on it. You put a game out, etc. Wherever the person's origin point into Whirled is, that's who gets the credit. We cookie them and when they register we 'stamp them'.

We'll see how it refines over time, but we think having all of this transparent to the user is important. Here's what's for sale, it's three bars, that's 30 cents. The maker gets 10 cents, you're getting 10 cents for bringing the buyer to the table, and we take 10 cents to pay for bandwidth and hopefully make a bit of crust along the way. We think that's an equitable, transparent proposition.

There are a bunch of services offering monetization routes now, of course, like Steam or Kongregate. They're saying something like "you get 70% if you're the developer", but it's a challenging thing. There's no room in that for them to do marketing with an affiliate, there's no room in that for pre-paid cards in Target; it's nice to be able to offer a developer 70% but it's not clear that that's actually going to be a big win for them.

This is really interesting stuff, sir. Thanks so much for your time!

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