Yes Jay and I do this full time. We do make money from advertisements (on this site and in-game). Paradox Embrace has ads and was sponsored and then licensed out. Contract work like the Comedy Central games does well for us. We hope Ballads of Reemus is well received and we can build a nice catalog of home grown games and build a strong brand like PopCap.
Darkroot is right, sponsorships and licenses can earn hundreds to several thousand dollars depending on the game. As you know good games usually take at least a month or two to make.
Not really, when you think about it.
For just a moment, set aside the 'first game' part.
How long does it take to create a game? Obviously, that'll vary tremendously, based on skill, scope/size of the game, special features, etc. Let's pick (as a mostly arbitrary value) about 40 hours (I realize that's actually pretty danged low, but that just serves to prove my point).
If the game produced is actually particularly good (first game or not), has sustained popularity, and thus leads to plenty of players seeing banner ads, then how much is that quality of work worth? The guess of 40 hours means the equivalent of $12.50 an hour. Since it could easily take longer, that'd be even less. Granted, licensing might not be exclusive, and so you could be paid by more than one site. But it still seems to me that $500 isn't that much; particularly if the game ends up earning the site far more from ads. :)
Plus, you still have to take into account the costs of the programs, i.e. flash. I think that $500 for a first game would only begin to cover the costs of the making of the game itself.
(However, this comes from a guy who has never made a game and has no idea how to do so. If any of you know the Web game sniper series "Clear Vision" the maker is coming out with a tutorial on Friday. I inted to take a look at it.)
Smiles to all the platypi!
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