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Summary:

Kongregate.com is pitching itself as “video games meet YouTube.” YouGame? Whatever the game, the company recently raised one million in venture funding for their ad-supported site. So does Kongregate live up to its ambitions, or did someone use a buzz word (read: YouTube) to raise some […]

Kongregate.com is pitching itself as “video games meet YouTube.” YouGame? Whatever the game, the company recently raised one million in venture funding for their ad-supported site. So does Kongregate live up to its ambitions, or did someone use a buzz word (read: YouTube) to raise some Silicon Valley money?

The site works like this: users (including flash developers) upload a swf file, name it, and tag it. The game can either be “exclusive” to Kongregate or not. Games that garner the most traffic have a shot at winning “cash prizes,” and according to the upload terms, “future ad revenue share will range from 25% to 50%, depending on implemented APIs and exclusivity.” Very vague and significantly different than YouTube which doesn’t ad-share with its free-working army of uploaders. Kongregate’s current, most popular game is the impressive Fancy Pants Adventures developed by 21 year-old college student Brad Borne of Alabama.

The site debuts amid rising interests for independent games. But calling Kongregate the “YouTube of gaming” is a bit of a misnomer; the barrier-to-participate is much higher for users than recording a quick video and publishing it online. And unlike YouTube, there is no current option to easily repurpose or share games onto another site or blog, something YouTube popularized. Thus, it’ll be tougher for Kongregate to really catch on and spread virally. And even though the site has rolled in several community features such as user-submitted games, commenting, and rankings, Flash aggregators are a dime a dozen. The site is a nice culmination of working ideas, but hardly the YouTube of video games. At least not yet.

  1. Yeah, and unfortunately this site seems to once again encourage the unlawful use of games created in Flash. Its already a huge problem with these “arcade” sites that steal content and try to profit on the backs of others.

    Kongregate seems to add to the problem.

    Finally, as Blake mentioned the market for users creating their own game is tiny. People aren’t too likely to pick up a computer, Flash 8 and then turn out a game in 10 minutes… Or even 10 days.

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  2. Blake –

    The “share games” option is something that we’re planning on – the reason we haven’t done it already is that our developers may not expect that uploading a game to Kongregate means it can appear on MySpace and other sites as well.

    We’ll address that with an opt-out box, most likely.

    As to TC’s point – we’re not one of the sites that steals Flash games. We make sure that the games are uploaded by the original creator. Since the volume of games is much lower than what YouTube gets, we can do this pretty effectively.

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  3. Also, we recoginze the “YouTube for Games” is very hype-laden and that the analogy doesn’t go very deep. We’re like YouTube in that user ratings determine what’s on our homepage. Of course, most of our users will never upload anything, but that doesn’t keep them from participating in the community through post high scores, completing achivements, chatting, rating games, etc.

    The core of what our site is about is this community, and showcasing the best independent games. I talk about this in more detail in this interview on Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=13231

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