-AAG-

Is it like backstabbing my clients?

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Over the past few years I have put together over 30 HTML5 games and have survived selling licenses. But there comes a time, after initial sales, that the games just sit there on my catalog waiting for an odd sale that might never happen. I have very loyal clients that I appreciate very much, in fact, I pitch the early games to them and if they like it then it gets done. So the games are sold even before they are completed. After that I may or may not sell another license. I am seriously considering revisiting my catalog, putting ads on all of the games, and then put them on as many platforms as possible. The thing is I feel it would be like backstabbing my clients who paid for a license and then if the games fail to generate any ad revenue  I could lose my clients for nothing. 

Thoughts?

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If an 'adequate' amount of time has elapsed then I think it makes sense, it turns their license in to what is something like an 'early access' license (and, by that, I mean, they get it before everyone else, not like steam early access which is before its ready), which almost certainly isn't what is written in the license but it almost certainly isn't prohibited either.

As you have a good relationship with them, maybe ask them what they think and how they think they might react?

I'd like to say that they understand business and you're just driving profits and that it is all really rather understandable and totally normal for you to make enough money to feed yourself and buy a few nice things, but some people are hard to judge.

For what its worth, so long as a decent amount of time has passed since the initial (and often only) license was sold I don't see any conflict with attempting to monetise your back catalog.

Keep them sweet by promising lots more top notch games they can license before everyone else

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Also ask yourself what might you realistically expect to gain with a plan of "putting ads on all of the games, and then put them on as many platforms as possible"?  Revenue-split eCPMs for in-game ads are trending below $1, so  expectation should be pretty low even for decent games.  Plus it's not going to solve short-term cashflow crunch because of delays in seeing such money (time to implement APIs, 30+ days before the games launch, 30++ days before revenues are invoiceable, 30+++ days to collect).  Plus there's the real risk of seeing neither traffic nor money :(

Instead, if you've got trusted relationships already it might be wiser to leverage them than risk them?  Perhaps repurpose the existing catalog rather than republish it?

I don't wish to discourage pursuit of royalty income, as it's truly awesome when it happens.  Just be realistic about timescales, cashflow and be wise to know that even when "achieved" it can all end very abruptly.

 

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4 hours ago, totor said:

The real question is more like what was the kind of license you sold your game to the client?

Non-exclusives

38 minutes ago, b10b said:

Perhaps repurpose the existing catalog rather than republish it?

 

How so?

38 minutes ago, b10b said:

I don't wish to discourage pursuit of royalty income, as it's truly awesome when it happens.  Just be realistic about timescales, cashflow and be wise to know that even when "achieved" it can all end very abruptly.

 

I figured as much. I actually tried this way back then and wasn't very good but it was also only 6 games. Was thinking now with so many games it might have been worth a try. Still a thought and not moving in any direction.

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3 minutes ago, -AAG- said:

How so?

I don't know your catalog, but whatever comes to mind to you ... Perhaps the engines can be enhanced, rethemed, sequelled, turned inside-out or back-to-front?  It might be trivial to make "HD" versions or add a new difficulty level and call it "Master Edition"?  There may be potential to rebrand all the games under a single theme, introduce a character or story arc across them all that binds them into one super sized game?  Just ideas ... validate them with your customers.

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To be honest it has never crossed my mind to consider this an issue, as long as a game is not being licensed with any degree of exclusivity (whether it be time/client/platform limited) then you are free to try and make money from it any way you can.  

Portals acquiring non-exclusive games will assume and probably expect the content to be spread as far and wide as the developer can achieve and are mostly just looking to increase site content in the cheapest way possible.

If the games you are talking about are a few years old then even less reason to be morally concerned as their window of use as 'new content' to the portal will be long gone and are now just propping up their back catalogue.

I say go for it and try and squeeze as much income as you can from your hard work!

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So they paid a limited time exclusive to get the game first and they got it and the contract is clear that the license is non exclusive so you have no problem. I'd do what b10b advises, a bit of polish and go!

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Not trying to be rude or anything, but could it be possible that your games are just not that interesting? I see many games being published each day and only a few of them catch my eye, let alone having one that I actually play. Everything else I'd just consider utter shit. Not that I think your games are crap, hence the reason I started this with "not trying to be rude" since I don't know your games. But it might be worth to figure that one out before you start ads, because ads equals hate nowadays so you might want to skip that. Also, like someone mentioned before, the revenue is not that good unless you get like over a 1000 daily visitors. Which reminds me, what marketing strategy did you use to promote your game?

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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to leave a reply. I am taking it all in and think that I might have found a solution that solves this and my level design hate and I may even really like the game(s) that will result from that for a change. 

4 hours ago, TheBoneJarmer said:

Not trying to be rude or anything, but could it be possible that your games are just not that interesting? I see many games being published each day and only a few of them catch my eye, let alone having one that I actually play. Everything else I'd just consider utter shit. Not that I think your games are crap, hence the reason I started this with "not trying to be rude" since I don't know your games. But it might be worth to figure that one out before you start ads, because ads equals hate nowadays so you might want to skip that. Also, like someone mentioned before, the revenue is not that good unless you get like over a 1000 daily visitors. Which reminds me, what marketing strategy did you use to promote your game?

I do agree that web games in general are not great and I personally don't play a lot of them. In fact, I feel the same way about native mobile apps and have none installed in any of my devices. I do enjoy how accessible web games are and have found myself surprised by a few of them both when flash was a big deal and now with HTML5. It is this ease of use that I enjoy the most about web games. When It  comes to my own games I have to go with what my clients are looking for. There was a time that my main client wanted arcade games and I made quite a few, not great at all but they got sold and spared me the level design dilemma. Then interest shifted to puzzle games so puzzle games it is and they have been selling.

I have been doing this for a while and every single game on my catalog has sold multiple licenses (minus the obvious exclusives). I understand that doesn't make them good, that just means my clients liked them and thought them a good addition for their website. I'm sure they know their visitors and I have come to accept that it isn't my concern whether their players like the games or not, but the fact that they continue to buy from me tells me that my work is liked by a certain audience. 

At the very least I try to make my own thing instead of trying to follow trends or clone this and that because is popular unless the client specifically asks for it. I have avoided plugin to my catalog till now but if anyone wants to take a look you can go over here

Thanks again!

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