Speaking to GamesBeat, Kongregate co-founder Jim Greer says that life has been good for the indie gaming portal and social network. Greer tells VentureBeat that Kongregate doubled the number of virtual goods-based games on the site and has managed to triple virtual goods revenue in the last year. He claims that those virtual goods sales now make up 80 percent of the site's revenue. Kongregate launched its virtual goods program around 18 months ago, and has been tweaking and adding features ever since.
“We are doubling down on our belief that there is a place on the web where players who are serious about games can come gather, socialize, and play,” Greer said.
Kongregate has around 50,000 games available, the lion's share of which are free indie games or free-to-play titles with micro-transactions baked in. The site also boats around 15.5 million users. While Kongregate may find itself going head-to-head with Zynga's new portal for games, Kongregate does have one advantage over it and Facebook games: you don't have to be logged in to play a lot of Kongregate's titles. That may seem like a small thing, but it's a feature that many users like a lot.
“Their motivation is to create a better experience for games on their own site,” Greer said. “That is what we have discovered as well. As the viral channels have turned down on Facebook, more game developers are willing to move off Facebook to the web. Facebook is a place to socialize and play games. We’re the opposite: a place to play games first, and then socialize. Kongregate is mostly about the games, just as Xbox Live is.”
Some other interesting facts about Kongregate: the company has added about 15 new employees since it was acquired by Gamestop; 14,000 game developers use the Kongregate platform. Kongregate gets 30 percent split on transactions but promotes games on its site for free; and Kongregate games have better conversion rates (people buy something) than Facebook games - about 1.5 times to 2 times higher on Kongregate.
But one advantage Kongregate has that has been the most beneficial is being on display in GameStop stores, which get 500 million visitors a year. It also doesn't hurt to get a prominent spot on GameStop’s web site.
“We’re getting a lot of traffic that way,” Greer said.