When Jeff and I were little, we lived on a block with a lot of other kids. Of all those kids, there were two bigger ones that we tried to be friends with: Justin and Travis. Both had good qualities and bad ones too. Justin was a pretty nice guy, but he sometimes would do some underhanded things that would make his aunt (the one he lived with) pretty upset. Travis on the other hand was the pretty tough but fair character. You never wanted to get on his bad side, but at the same time, he would passionately defend you if you were his friend. Jeff and I always tried to walk the line and be friends with both of them. As the smaller kids, this sometimes worked and sometimes got us smacked around and hurt. No matter, we always felt that Justin and Travis should have been better friends: the whole block would have been better for it, but it never happened.
I tell you this story because in the Flash viral game space we have a couple big kids who should think about playing nice together before the whole block falls apart.
On one side we have The big “M” (let’s call them “Mike”) : the tireless defender of Flash content. First they let us track it, then they let us monetize it, then they gave us a way to make it more addictive and a way to protect it, and now they are trying to make things even more professional with microtransactions
On the other side, you have the guys at the big “F” (let’s call them “Fred”). These guys pioneered the idea of turning Game Sponsorships into a viable business, offered ways for developers to help other developers make better games, and now have gone and taken it even further with in game transactions, distributed save-game features and more.
However it has occurred to us in the past couple days that these two “big guys on the block” “Mike” and “Fred” need to find a way to play nice together. In many ways they compliment each other’s offerings very well. The places where they compete would do well to integrate instead of remain proprietary systems. We think both are wonderful platforms with dedicated staffs working hard to make this little corner of the game world a real industry. In short, we would like to see harmony.
But sometimes it does not work that way.
Back on our block at home when were little, when Jeff and I got caught in the middle of the fights between Justin and Travis, we only ended-up getting hurt ourselves. It was up to those two guys to fight their own battles and come to agreements on their own terms. In the same way I’d hope that “Mike” and “Fred” can find a way to work together that does not get the little kids caught in the middle. Otherwise, game developers and bloggers alike might get bloodied in the process. This is still small block we all play on, and it would be terrible to see it all go to waste.