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Flash game developers, who are like the plankton in the food chain of the video game industry, are more and more interested in developing games for Google’s Android mobile operating system, according to a new Flash Game Market survey.
The survey shows that the Flash game development community is becoming more mature and financially savvy, as the developers are focusing on the markets with the most potential for growth. It was produced by Mochi Media, which helps developers monetize their games, as well as Flash creator Adobe and FlashGameLicense.com. The survey of nearly 1,400 developers also shows that flash developers are open to getting their games on all sorts of new platforms in the name of reaching the widest number of users.
While 10 percent of the developers said they are currently developing on Android, more than 52 percent said they planned to begin doing so in the next year. That’s a big change from last year, when about 42 percent said they planned to make games for the iOS, or Apple’s iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices. Android has come on strong in the past year, toppling Nokia as the world’s leader in smartphones in the fourth quarter.
Flash gaming is also growing in popularity internationally, leading to new markets and talent pools. About 19 percent of the developers are from the U.S., down 15 percent from a year ago. About 8 percent are in the United Kingdom, and six percent are in the Russian Federation. Canada accounts for 5 percent, Ukraine is 4 percent, India is 4 percent, and Brazil is 3 percent.
Developers are making money through a lot of different means. Sponsorships are now the main source of revenues. The number of developers who report making money through sponsorships, licenses and custom game development increased 37 percentage points from the 2009 survey, jumping from 46 percent to 83 percent. In-game ads are also still popular, with 45 percent of developers taking advantage of this revenue stream.
The big change, Mochi Media product manager Colin Cupp said, is that developers now have access to many different types of monetization. Developers are also more experienced. About 27 percent have been making games for two to five years, and another 12 percent have been making Flash games for more than five years. About 8 percent of developers and publishers have published more than 21 games. But 63 percent have made five or fewer games.
“They can distribute their games and reach more people,” Cupp said. “They’re more sophisticated.”
About 60 percent of developers say they now make Flash games full-time, compared to 50 percent a year ago. Also, those developers are growing up into publishers, with 21 percent of companies now doing both development and publishing. Only 4 percent are just publishers. Some 75 percent say they are developers only, roughly the same as a year ago. In general, there’s still a shortage of Flash game developers, Cupp said.
About 97 percent of the developers are male and 75 percent of the developers are under 35. The largest age group is 25 years old to 35, which accounts for 43 percent of the population. A lot of the effort is solitary, with 57 percent of developers saying they make their games alone.
About 75 percent of games are made in less than three months. And 25 percent are made in less than a month.
But it’s still tough being a Flash game publisher. About 63 percent of Flash game sites get less than 200,000 visitors per month. About 32 percent of developers say that their games are played 200,000 times or less in their lifetimes. Only a lucky 3 percent say that their games have been played more than 10 million times. About 50 percent of developers say they make less than $500 a month from developing games. About 5 percent make more than $5,000 a month.
Here’s a look at last year’s survey.