For years, one of the biggest success stories in the casual game space has been San Francisco-based Three Rings and its hit, Puzzle Pirates, which has earned more than $14 million.
Now, the company has officially launched its Whirled platform, a system designed around user-created Flash-based massively multiplayer games that gives developers a way to make money with their creations.
Whirled has been in a closed beta for months, and it is still technically in beta, explained Three Rings CEO Daniel James. But the platform is now open to the general public and its money-making structure is available to any developer who wants to take advantage of the Whirled APIs and large and growing base of players.
Like other casual MMO systems--Metaplace, from Areae, may be the closest competitor--Whirled is entirely browser-based. And while most users will likely just play games, the availability of the APIs and the ability to re-work existing Three Rings casual games, makes it possible for developers to get a quick start on putting their creations in front of other Whirled players.
Like Puzzle Pirates before it, Whirled has a built-in economy in which players can earn coins by putting in time playing the games, or buy "bars" with credit cards. Either currency can be used to buy in-game goods. Now, Whirled users will also be able to exchange their coins or bars for "bling," which can be cashed out for US dollars. This is what will allow developers to make money with their creations.
Games created using the platform can be embedded in any blog or Web site, and any money earned is split between the developer and Three Rings and any referring affiliate.