It seems that everyone and their mother is releasing a Flash virtual currency these days, from Nonoba's early entry into the arena, Kongregate's Kreds, and Andrograde's simple system, to the new and still-in-beta GamerSafe and MochiCoins. And let's not forget Whirled, OpenBAR, or CarrotPay. And oh, looks like another one just popped up today, Heyzap.
I've been finding it interesting to watch the discussions that have unfolded around the initial introduction of these systems. Developer reactions are suprisingly positive, despite the poor revenue splits that have been quoted so far. Reading the latest thread on MochiCoins, I ended up writing a response urging developers to demand more from these payment systems, which I've copied below.
Post by simianlogic:
"This all seems like much ado about nothing--Mochi has consistently done what's best for the developers. The ad-based rev share for publishers comes out of Mochi's 50%--nevermind that 50% for us is a great rev share to begin with."
I think this is a dangerous assumption. A 50% split may be fine for ads, but when it comes to players directly paying developers I think that a payment provider taking anything close to 50% is ridiculous. Remember Dan Hoelck's article on MochiLand about his experiences selling premium content with Drunken Masters? He described the difficulties with PayPal's taking a 24% cut of all his transactions. If 24% was too high, how would you describe a 50% cut?
If Mochi does not seriously increase the fraction of revenue flowing to developers using this system, then MochiCoins will never be a serious way to monetize Flash games. Right now it is commonly acknowledged that developing Flash games is not a feasible way to make a living. Sponsorships and MochiAds make it easy to make a little extra spending money on the side of a real job, but only the most successful and prolific developers could ever hope to make a living on such revenue alone.
The promise of micropayments is that selling directly to players could make Flash games profitable enough to live on. But if Mochi continues on the precedent it has set with MochiAds, it will do nothing to further this dream.
Given that the FGL team has recently announced its competing GamerSafe system, and accounting for earlier efforts by Nonoba and Kongregate, I can only hope that a price war will cause these Flash payment systems to undercut each other to a level that can support truly self-sustaining Flash game development. But if you are serious about putting microtransactions in your game, take a look at Gambit or Super Rewards, and drop one middleman from the loop.
Mochi is great, I like what they've done, I'm wearing a Mochi t-shirt right now, in fact, but that is no reason to cut them any slack when it comes to setting expectations for as big of a new wave as MochiCoins is sure to be. ;)
As developers, we've got to know what's a good deal and what's not, and be ready to ask for what we're worth, not simply take what we're given, however shiny it may be. You want this dream? Then start making it happen now.