We covered Kongregate when they were in private beta, but they’re officially public with a new wad of cash from some big names to back them up. They’ve created a gaming community around Flash games developed by other users, and are announcing a “nearly” $1 million angel round, including funds from Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), Joe Kraus (Excite/JotSpot), Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC) and Richard Wolpert (Disney Online), among others.
Kongregate is about user generated games and the competitive gaming community around them, which sets them up to be a really sticky site. CEO Jim Greer compares it to XBox Live for Flash games. Players can chat with each other during game play, create profiles, earn points, and get special achievement bonuses as they progress up the ranks. You don’t have to be registered to play the games, but you do if you want to chat and gain levels. My favorite game on the site so far is Warbears, where you play some bad ass teddies on a mission to save hostages by incapacitating baddies.
Currently players get points for uploading games (big points), completing game challenges, rating games, leaving quality feedback, and referring Kongregate to other players. You get achievement icons by accomplishing challenges, like finding all the hidden items in their top game, The Fancy Pants Adventures. In the future, players will get some rewards for each level-up, which may include new options for personalizing their profile, unlocking the ‘labs’ category on the site, or special offers from Kongregate and its advertisers. The achievements you get from points and challenges will also unlock cards for a special online card game (set to release in May) they are developing in-house.
Developers who upload their own games get more than points. Kongregate will also share 25%-50% of advertising revenue generated from the games with developers.
There are many competing Flash game sites. The giants are Pogo and Miniclip, which support multiplayer games along with a host of downloadable versions that users unlock for a fee after a trial period. Another very large site Newgrounds (500K uniques/day) and Cafe.com come closer. Newgrounds runs on user generated games and has a point ranking system, but doesn’t have Kongregate’s revenue share or chatting. Cafe.com has all downloaded games, with power-ups and avatar attire you can buy. Another startup Bunchball, used to allow embedding of the flash games on other websites up until last week.