It is far from uncommon for game developers to outsource to other companies and even freelancers in times of need, but in times past those needs tended to primarily be the creation of art and code assets. However, today, more and more aspects of game development are being handled by third party services, ranging from the monitoring of virtual goods transactions (PlaySpan) to the actual integration of social capabilities (J2Play).
While it isn’t limited specifically to social games, a company by the name of Nonoba has created very cool API for multiplayer games, including a new payments API. So who are they? Well, first and foremost Nonoba is a gaming community that allows you to play and compete online through various games, but more than that, Nonoba also allows Flash developers to upload, rate, and share their games with the world.
This is a company that provides a service that allows developers to focus strictly on game play and removes the trouble of building a robust multiplayer backends. “The Nonoba Multiplayer API” is combined with their “Nonoba Game Server” handles the heavy server connections, communication systems, and connecting the various players together. Nonoba hosts all of the server side code, which means that speed and latency are less an issue than they normally would be, thus making real-time as well as turn based games possible with this platform.
In addition, Nonoba also tracks all of the connections, databases, sockets, registrations, and so on so developers don’t have to worry about it. They even include lobbies, chat, ranking systems, as well as a plethora of other features. But what is most impressive is that it can scale to any reasonable size game you have (or whatever size it ends up growing too).
Also available is the payment API, and this is where Nonoba differentiates slightly from other similar services. As you know, there are a number of games that require payment of some sort, most of which are either subscription or virtual goods based. Regardless of the type, setting up a system like this is a whole new can of worms that a number of Flash developers have never had to deal with – and is a tremendous undertaking. Not only do you have to set up an entire payment system, but a means of tracking and reconciling all payments and purchases. Compound this with a large number of users and you can begin to see the headache that will soon entail.
As you have certainly guessed by now, this is where Nonoba sets all of this up for you, and it works regardless of whether your game is single or multiplayer. Revenues are split 70/30 with the developer taking the 70%, but considering the cost of developing something like this from scratch, it is probably well worth it (at least for a while).
The API also allows you to charge for anything in your game, including items, levels, or even the entire game itself. Your shops are set up for you, and you are free to embed your game on any other site besides Nonoba and it will work perfectly fine. The only downside, is that the only current provider is PayPal. It is claimed that more are coming soon, but at the moment, this is the only choice available.
Nonoba is most certainly a powerful set of APIs despite the type of game it is used for. The fact that game developers can come to Nonoba for not one, but two very powerful and often critical online gaming features is an impressive addition in and of itself. Long story short, companies like this means more quality games for the players and less headaches for the makers.