Players of a certain age will no doubt remember the heyday of flash games. Kongregate has been a platform for hosting and curating various types of web games since 2006. Thousands of games of all kinds can be played directly in your web browser. This was a scene that offered space for every conceivable genre, with thoughtful artistic experiences, political satire, funny platform players and complicated shooters, all of whom existed side by side on the platform.
For various reasons, this trend has largely waned, and fewer web games are gaining the attention and awareness that they used to have. To a certain extent, such smaller and more experimental games by small teams or even single developers have found a home in places like mobile app stores, Steam, and digital console stores. While creating a web game was one of the best ways for players to get into the hands of gamers in the past, there are now many different options for games of all sizes.
Some of the developers who started developing web games have since been successful on other platforms, including developers such as Edmund McMillen (Super Meat Boy, binding Isaac), Terry Cavanagh (VVVVVV, Super Hexagon) and The Behemoth (Alien Hominid , Castle Crashers)) and Vlambeer (Nuclear Throne, Luftrausers) all started making flash games. These developers have now moved to other more modern platforms.
Against the background of the fluctuating relevance of web games, news has just come from Kongregate that, like today, they will no longer accept and submit new games. No more games will appear on Congregates in the future. You will also reduce or discontinue some of the platform’s social features. Many chat rooms and forums are closed and new badges are being applied to games.
However, it is not all doom and darkness. Kongregate has agreed to keep “all 128,000” games playable, and developers of games that are already on the platform can continue to update them. Nothing is forever and who knows if or when this could change for the time being, but there is at least a delay in execution for the games that are already running there.
In particular, since Adobe Flash is on the way out and Adobe will cease all support from December 2020, it may be understandable that this platform is no longer functional as an ongoing company. Perhaps the best long-term hope is projects like BlueMaxima’s Flashpoint, an attempt to preserve Flash games, with the goal of making as many of these games as possible tasty on modern non-Flash platforms.
Kongregate, the platform for web games, goes away, but Kongregate itself doesn’t go anywhere. They still have their commercial indie game store, Kartridge, although it has never really gained much appeal. In the future, they want to develop their own games. If you reduce the resources that you provide to maintain and support your library of web games, you will increase the resources that you provide for game development.
You can read her post, which explains this step in detail here. I’m excited to see where Kongregate’s ambitions for game development are going, but it’s a little sad to see this era come to an end.