I’ve just received my last ever payment from MochiMedia, totalling $100.80.
As yet, I haven’t decided what I’m going to do personally with what I have that has been affected. I have five sites with several thousand Mochi games between them as well as a few dozen Flash games. Currently, I’m wondering if it’s going to be worth expending the time and effort to convert all the games and rebuild the sites. In terms of Mochi revenue, one game on one site is accounting for a substantial proportion of the income I was getting, and that’s an ActionScript 2 game, so finding an ad network and highscore system that will work with it is going to be challenging. Another problem is that I’ve never personally made a pre-loader for a game! I used the Mochi ads as a pre-loader.
It is going to affect by, admittedly rather low, Flash game income, as the majority of the non-Mochi income is coming from games that have MochiAds in them, which should legally be removed by any sites hosting them – and that will cause the income to drop even more.
So, where do I think Mochi went wrong? I don’t have any inside information on this, so these are only my opinions.
Selling to Shanda
Firstly, Shanda closed Mochi down, even though there were offers on the table worth more money than they would get from closing it. Another company may not have closed them down. I am curious why Shanda decided not to take them. Perhaps it was a pride thing on the part of whoever did the deal in the first place? If they couldn’t get it to work properly, they didn’t want someone else to come along and make them look like the idiot they are. The other reasons I thought of are more underhand.
I never considered Shanda to be a good match in the first place. Shanda run online role-playing games (and I read some comments at the time of the deal that suggested they had operated in a rather dubious manner, namely with gold farming) whilst MochiMedia on the other hand were an advertising platform. They may both have been involved in games, but they weren’t exactly complimentary businesses.
It’s possible that the financial backers of Mochi may have just taken the first deal in order to get their money and profit back, rather than picking a good partner.
Too Much Mochi Games Branding
The Mochi ads in the games started having too much branding and too many ways of sending traffic to their own games portal, Mochi Games. This managed to annoy publishers, developers and sponsors – basically everyone – as Mochi were getting free sponsorship from this.
This policy was later reversed, and a means of adding sponsors’ own branding was introduced, but the damage was already done and a lot of trust had been lost, as this had been done despite it being stated that it would never happen. This was essentially done under Shanda’s governance.
Ignoring Other Platforms
“If Mochi had a more meaningful position today beyond Flash, then there may have been a different path for the company going forward,” CEO Josh Larson said when the announcement was made that MochiMedia was shutting down.
Mochi had concentrated solely on Flash, ignoring HTML5, despite how poor it may be for games, Android and iOS apps. Some Unity integration was done, but the other options were all ignored. Mochi would have had an advantage going in to this as there was a community of developers on Mochi who were developing on other platforms and who would have used Mochi services on them. Even GamesChart was going cross-platform.
This could have been due to Shanda’s influence; it is entirely possible that Shanda were just trying to squeeze as much money out of Mochi, without investing in any more development, before tossing the remainder away. That is the impression that has been given, especially by how poorly Shanda has handled the closing.
Goodbye Mochi. I’m going to miss you.