Kongregate launches Konduit app platform for browser-based games

Indie-oriented game site Kongregate is launching an application platform today that allows developers to integrate Kongregate’s community features into any browser-based game.

kongregate 2Previously, developers uploaded games to Kongregate, which served the games from its own infrastructure. With the Konduit Application Platform, developers can replicate the way they operate on Facebook; they can create games in Javascript and other languages and host the games on their own servers. But they can also tap into Kongregate’s platform to use social features such as achievements, leaderboards, virtual goods, profiles and chat.

The Konduit¬† platform should create more social games on the site and help to expand Kongregate’s reach to developers who have been more comfortable making games for other platforms, said Jim Greer, chief executive of San Francisco-based Kongregate, in an interview.

Kongregate has had a great deal of success with its game site, which allows just about any game developer to upload games. The site has 8 million unique visitors per month, up from 3 million per month a year ago. And there are more than 21,000 Flash-based games on the site. Most are monetized with ads. Lots of hardcore gamers visit Kongregate’s site to play the games.

But most of those games aren’t social, and only a small number are monetized with the lucrative virtual goods business model. The Konduit platform makes it easy for developers to upload social games with virtual goods monetization to the Kongregate site. Players buy virtual currency known as Kreds from Kongregate and use that to pay for goods inside games. Kongregate keeps 30 percent and shares the rest of the money with developers. Clearly, part of Kongregate’s goal is to steal away developers who go unnoticed on Facebook or want to grow beyond the social network to other game platforms

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Greer said that casual game firms such as Zynga and Playfish have been hugely successful on Facebook, but the developers of browser-based massively multiplayer online games and strategy games for hardcore games have not had the same kind of success on social networks. Kongregate wants to host these games and make them more viral so that players will introduce them to friends and then brag about their achievements.

Makota Online, the maker of the fantasy MMO, Sacred Seasons (pictured), has had success using the early version of the Konduit platform. They tried the game out on Facebook and other sites, but didn’t succeed until they uploaded the game to Kongregate and took advantage of the Konduit social features. The game was built by a team of three Canadians, led by Derek Day, and it is now generating 10 cents each time the game is played. That comes out to $100 per 1,000 users, a very good return for an indie game.

Kongregate was founded in 2006 by Greer and his sister Emily Greer. Rivals include sites such as New Grounds and Addicting Games. Investors include Greylock Partners, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, Excite co-founder Joe Kraus, investor Jeff Clavier, and Richard Wolpert, former president of Disney Online. The company has raised $9 million to date.

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