Sponsoring MegaDrill

8 months already... MegaDrill has been out in the wild for almost 8 months now and it's only now that I dare take a look back at the numbers! Here's a little "post-mortem" report showing a bit of numbers about the sale of MegaDrill.

As I've mentioned previously, MegaDrill was made with the purpose of making money! Not that I'm an evil money-loving capitalist or anything, quite the contrary, but money is a necessity and if this game didn't made good money I would have had to return to the employment market (no thanks).

The Game
The main inspiration for this game is the success of games like "Shopping Cart hero" and, mainly, "Learn to Fly". I emulated the flow of these games (play-uprade-play) while introducing a completely different metaphor (going down instead of going higher). MegaDrill is different enough that it does not suffer from being compared to those games directly.

In the end, it's a great game. It's highly polished, it has a fine gameplay, the balance is pretty good and I'm quite glad with the look and feel of it. I think I've made a very good job even though I never was "in love" with that game.

I also worked a lot on the presentation of the game. I worked a lot on the icons and made a trailer to present the game to sponsors. I polished even the integrations of a fake sponsor logo in the game, making it look as good as possible (you can see it at the end of the trailer).

MegaDrill has reached over 4 million views after 8 months of life. To tell the truth, I expected more but I'm not really disappointed about it. It did a fair job. More interestingly, the game has been played all the way to the end almost 1,5 million times! This means that a THIRD of the players who got their hands on the game actually went all the way through the end! That's very good for a half-hour long free game.
The Bidding calendar
The game was up for "sponsor view" on FGL at the beginning of December 2009.

December 7th 200944 bids from 4 different sponsors. Excellent start!
  • First bid at $1000 flat
  • Two "per million views" performance bonus bids
  • Frag Time : flat high four figure (obviously hoping for a quick buy)
December 9th 2009
  • Another high four figure + some NG ratings bonuses
  • Frag Time : raising the bid a bit, including the same NG ratings bonuses
I discussed the terms with Frag Time, explaining that I'd rather go for a performance bonus deal. He made another bid on the same day :
  • Frag Time : about half the amount of previous bid but with a "per million views" bonus.
December 11th 2009
  • Enters Kongregate! A big advance on a "per unique clicks on sponsor's link" bonus deal. I was delighted to get Kong's interest. I love these guys, and I know I can trust.
December 21st 2009
  • Spent a while discussing the bids with Greg. I was leaning toward the high amount offered by Frag Time. Kongregate placed another "per-click" bonus based bid with different terms that pleased me more. I set his bid as "best bid".
Things slowed down for Christmas. At the very end of december, another sponsor contacted me about the game but couldn't place a bid until the beginning of January.

January 3rd 2010
  • Dumpling Games : An important sponsor in the bidding process so I gave him a delicious name. :) He placed a bid similar to Kongregate's with slightly different terms. That would soon give me headaches.
Kongregate and Dumpling Games entered a short bidding war until the end of january, slowly increasing their offers. On one side, there were more risks but higher potential. On the other side it was less risks but less potential. After every bid I made calculations to weight the risk and rewards of several scenarios. Kongregate came on top in the end. I discussed a last possible offer with Dumpling Games, something totally different. I refused it to gamble on the per-click bonus with Kongregate (I ended up losing a little bit on this gamble compared to Dumpling Game's final offer but really the value of the two bids were really close). Also, I must say I really wanted to work with Kongregate.

A deal was accepted at the end of january and the game launched the 10th of February 2010. The primary sponsorship got me around $12K.

Everybody loves numbers!
Money earned
around $12K for the primary sponsorship.
around $2000 in non-exclusive licenses
around $3000 in ad revenue (CPMStar + Kongregate's revenue share)

Total Costs :
Costs were really low, totaling a little under $2000 for the musician's salary and FGL's commissions.

Total e-mails exchanged during the bidding war:
with Dumpling Games : over 60
with Kongregate : over 40

Important lessons in selling a game :
  • good communications with sponsors is essential. Take the time to clarify each points of the bids together.
  • Be patient. For MegaDrill, a major sponsor came into the bidding a whole month after it started.
  • Presentation is a MUST. I worked a lot on the game's description on FGL and on the icons. I made a kick-ass trailer and this certainly helped! Hooking the sponsors is crucial. Also, it proves you are a serious developer.


Thomas said...

...4 million views? What the heck?

My game, Slide Racing, was not as good as MegaDrill, but got 3.5 million views and made a grand whopping total of $1800 before FGL's cut. I need to learn to sell better!

Justin Evilsizor said...

It's still one of the best games on Kongregate. My favorite of the play-upgrade-play games.

I'd love to see a megadrill 2 with a tougher decision tree on the upgrades. That would probably require some sort of significant change to the current setup of deeper is better approach to drilling. Off the top of my head, can't think of any McGuffin that would cause a player to have to decide what strategy to take, but if there's a good idea that's where the sequel would be.

BTW, I might have the highest score of all time on the game. I've played through probably 30-40 times and on my last go I got $454,045 after taxes.

Apollyon said...

Really great article.

My friend decided to enlist in one of those ridiculous gaming schools -- in this case Collins College.

It turns out he has already sunk 4k into the school with hopes of becoming a "concept artist". I wish he would have done a Google search on the game industry first. I would send him your article, but I think that at this point it would be cruel.

Nishant said...

hey can u do some article on how this industry works.. like if we wish to make game and see it as a "facebook" app, or on "google app market place".

Thnx and Regards

Nishant said...

and forgot to mention, BIG fan of urs..