Flash games have become hugely popular in recent years, not only with games portals, but as marketing tools for non-games companies. Having your own branded game on your website to promote your brand or product not only attracts new visitors and increases your brand awareness, it gets your visitors promoting your site via word of mouth. Throw social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook into the mix and the buzz you can create from having your own game can have a huge influence on your web traffic.
There are typically 3 routes you can take to having your own game. Firstly you can develop it in house, but that is costly and time consuming. Your or one of your staff not only have to learn Flash, but also game development principles. Secondly you could hire a games developer, but as with all specialist skills that comes with a specialist price tag. Finally you can license an existing game, add your own logo and links (and maybe have a developer reskin it for you with new graphics).
The licensing route is becoming more and more popular as more and more games become available to license. However, to avoid the pitfalls of buying an unsuitable game, or own which will be costly to rebrand, here are my 5 top tips for choosing a Flash game license.
Games should be fun – plain and simple. A game could have the most spectacular graphics in the world, with an intricate storyline, and superb music, but if it’s not fun to play your visitors will quickly get bored. Often it’s the simplest of games which are the most playable and addictive, just think of the classics like Tetris or Pacman. How do you tell if a game is fun? Simple, you play it! If you’re not much of a gamer ask someone who is, and within a few minutes you’ll know if the game is good!
Good graphics don’t have to be masterpieces of art. Again, just like gameplay the best graphics are often simple, but they look clean and do the job properly. Look at the game, does it look appealing? Is the interface well laid out? Does everything look like it should be there?
Easy to brand
If a game wasn’t originally designed to be licensed then it may be difficult to rebrand. Unless you’re experienced with Flash, or have access to an experienced Flash developer then it’s best to license games that were developed with licensing in mind, rather than simply approaching the developer of a game you like. It will probably cause you much less hassle.
Games can be complicated programs. Even an experienced developer will take some time to read and understand another programmer’s code, but that process can be made much faster and easier if the code is commented. Games which are designed for licensing and rebranding will normally be well commented, as they were developed with the idea of rebranding in mind. Games which were developed only for distribution to games portals often won’t be well commented to save time.
Tutorials or docs
This is especially important if you want to rebrand the game yourself, rather than hire a Flash developer. If the game come with rebranding documentation such as a PDF manual, or maybe even video tutorials, that will make the whole process of adding your links and logos, and possibly reskinning the graphics a lot faster and easier.
There is no doubt that the use of Flash games as marketing tools is on the rise. Once only accessible to big businesses with in-house development teams, viral Flash games are now available to anyone via licensing. Don’t wait to be pipped to the post by your competition, and add a branded game to your site today!