So each year after I finished the rebuild of the website, progression didn't continue like I had hoped for. After all part of the reason for the rebuild was to be able to develop the site further. So instead of doing all the little improvements and bug fixes I needed to complete after the rebuild, I instead set out to develop a big update. A game API, which I did at first think wasn't going to take too long. I was wrong. Not because the size of the API is huge, it just has a lot of different parts to it. Turned out, I'm not too good at writing documentation and as this was the first bit of documentation needed for the site I also wanted it to be really good with working demos that can be edited etc. I did it in the end but I found it difficult to work on the API and needed it done before we could push on. I'm still not entirely sure if it is actually production ready. It should be usable but I'm yet to actually use it with in a game. Still, something for me to look forward to further developing in the new year and working with. Although by pushing it to production, it does mean that I have been able to push forward on the site and so that has been what I have done.
So I've pushed on and made a lot of changes to the site. I haven't spoke about everything as generally I don't make a news post unless It's something exciting to talk about. There are loads of improvements, optimisations and fixes that has been made since the release of the API. Were getting closer to a much more stable and smoother site, most of the things that are issues now are quite obscure so they might be far less noticeable. A lot of this is mainly things I knew I needed to do since the rebuild, there were parts I got right first time and there were parts I rushed with the intention to go back after. I like to get things out in early stages and come back and improve it. It is how I have always developed my sites and games. It does often leave projects in a bit of an unfinished state at times as you only continue to develop the ones that gets attention but it does also allow you to focus your attention on what is getting used. Which unfortunately so far, no one has used the Game DB API yet and a far smaller improvement like the rebuild of the profile pages is likely a much more appreciated and used update. Which is a shame but if I had developed the Game DB API to be perfect then it would have been more time lost that could have been used making the improvements that people actually want.
If you follow me on twitter you may have seen my tweets about wanting to make web games more profitable for developers. I've been trying to do this from day one with the ads system then later turning it into our own ad network. Most developers on the site know about this feature and a larger percentage of games choose to monitize their games with our ads then games that don't. It isn't as profitable as I wish it was. As the years have gone on, I'm not only struggling to find advertisers but I'm even struggling to give our advertising away to developers. I'm not going to give up with it though. This year I made the ads stay in the games window, which is far more user friendly and a far better implementation. I want to also create a more robust ad creator as well to make it far easier to create your ad. Though at this moment in time if you want to support the site then buying advertising is the best way you can. Although at least now this isn't your only option to earn from your game.
As now, you can sell in app features or content directly from your game and take payment directly into your paypal account. Which personally I think could be the biggest opportunity to come to web based game developers that I know of. With major engines allowing you to export your game to a webgl or html5 version allows you to make full desktop games that could run in a browser too but the incentive to do so isn't there as your desktop version will be sold and downloaded. Now with our in game shop, you can allow your players to play a demo version of your game and make the full game unlockable once brought. The best part is, there isn't any SDK to implement, the shop runs as a layer over your game from with in the game window. Once you have an active product the open shop button will become visible within your game. Then just make a simple request to our platform and the platform will return true or false if the user owns the product or not. Making it super simple to add to your game. I honestly hope we see more developers take advantage of the game shop in the new year as it has far more potential to create higher earnings for our developers then ads.
Also the likes of the API or the in game purchases might sound like it could be difficult so not only take a look at our documentation but also join our new discord where our community can help you out too or just drop by to say hi. Moving forward it'll also help us make decisions as a community on which direction we take our platform in.
So all in all, this year has been pretty exciting in comparison to the past few years. It puts us in a great place to make next year even more exciting! Now, as usual like in the overview of 2020 It's time to talk about the overall stats for this year.
So on first glance it might look like we have done worse then last year. The Unique visitors are down, the Visitor sessions are down and page views too. Although what this doesn't tell you is that compared to last year we are 91% down on referrals (I had mentioned last year about sites that embedded games getting lots of high bouncing traffic, that would be a referral) where as search is up by 32% and it shows. The growth appears to be possibly the best year yet. With 609 new members this year and 208 new games! Also I've now added the total game play time and game plays to see moving forward.
It is great to see our progress this year and I'm excited to see what next year holds. So as always have a great new years everyone.
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