Recently we caught-up with Alexander Shen from Mochi Media to ask him about the state of Mochi and viral Flash Games. His responses are truly enlightening. Far from Flash being dead and buried, it appears that both the volume of Flash games, and the success stories of Flash game developers are still very strong.
Can you bring us up to speed on Mochi in 2011? What new features have you guys released? What is in the pipeline?
Mochi is continuing to move forward for 2011 as we continue to build out both our online games property (mochigames.com) and the tools we offer. Our GAME Fund is still on track with offering both primary and sitelock licenses to games, which is great since we can continue to help sponsor games that were sacrificing other revenue streams just to get sponsored (e.g. micro transactions, ads, etc.). Our tools offerings include a new and updated game feed generator for publishers, achievements and the new "white label" solution for our LiveUpdates solution.
What is the volume of Flash games going through the Mochi system these days?
The daily submission and release of new games has increased since last year. Looking at it from a two years ago, it seems like daily submissions are up by roughly ~33%.
You recently had an issue with Taito over the Space Invaders IP. Can you explain what happened? Has this spread to other IP?
I think it was a pretty straight forward thing. Some games were approved based on our ad approval requirements and Taito sent us a standard take down notice for said games that infringed on copyright, even though the uploaders of those games stated they had permission to legally do the upload. We then complied and removed them from our system. We're very respectful of any take down notices we get and are quite on top of it and quick to move.
What are the most popular games on Mochi right now?
You can actually see that list over at mochigames.com. Some of the more popular titles are SAS3, BTD4, Mike Shadow: I Paid For It, Learn 2 Fly 2 and the Flipline games (Papa's Taco-Mia, Burgeria, Freezeria).
Is the Coins system doing well for you guys?
The Coins system continues to do well as we continue to integrate more MMOs into the mochigames.com property. The general Flash game playing populous still feel that anything Flash should be 100% free or at least the people who feel that way are the vocal majority. That, however, doesn't stop other players from spending money in games, especially ones that are deeper and require a larger commitment of time and focus. What I do see, however, is larger justification for spending occurring in games that are able to do proper multiplayer integrations. Now it's not necessarily a case in "just to beat the game", but to do something to be better than everyone else. The "vanity option" becomes clearly prevalent in this case.
Is there anything you would recommend for Flash devs who want to be successful with Mochi and Flash game portals?
Some of the most important things a developer can do is not only to build great games and to release frequently (we can't all be Blizzard, banking on the one release every 5 years and making millions, amirite?). With that you then will realize how powerful a brand can be. The first thought that comes to mind is the Berzerk Studios guys. Those guys have built an amazing brand for themselves. It's not to say that their games aren't good (they really are), but their name carries so much weight that it naturally inflates the prices they get for their sponsorships. I'm very happy for them and wish for their continued success! It also reminds me of any racing game a LongAnimals team/duo makes. Those things just print cash (Drift Runners is still one of my favorite racers, btw).
I also feel that the Mochi APIs are becoming more robust and definitely adding things that more developers can use even if they're not interested in the ad component. With the addition of achievements and the "white label" LiveUpdates, we've really listened to the community to implement things that can benefit all the players in the space. We're maturing and now have the ability to build things more easily the community asks for.
How is the relationship with Shanda?
Working with Shanda has continued to be great. They have a relatively hands-off approach since they understand that our strengths lie in understanding and being a part of the Flash game/API space. They let us do what we do best. They support our decisions and we're very lucky to be able to be backed financially in such a way to allow for further progression in our tools development as well as game property development (MMOs, sponsorships, etc.). It's really been great and I couldn't have really asked for more at this point.