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.