I Don’t Get This Big Fish Games Logic… (Their Employees Cannot Help Selling Their Games?)

Jake- a friend, business contact, and a guy I respect for his experience in the casual gaming industry – mentioned that he is no longer selling affiliate games on his site.

He recently moved to Big Fish Games working there making games (it’s bit similar as you would work indie style making games, except they pay you during the development…). In his contract it says that he cannot no longer promote affiliate games in his website due “anti-compete clause” in his contract. Jake had been using both Reflexive and Big Fish Games affiliate system.

In Jake’s post he says “…in order to work for Big Fish Games I’ve had to remove all affiliate games from my website. This is due to an anti-compete clause in my contract with BFG”

I understand the logic if it was only about getting rid of Reflexive games.

But I really wonder why Jake could not keep selling Big Fish Games?

  • How come it’s “competitive” if Jake sells Big Fish Games and gets % of profits?
  • If it’s competitive, then shouldn’t they stop the system so that all their affiliates would not be “competing” with them?
  • Why don’t Big Fish Games want their own employees to promote their company via affiliate system?
  • Are they planning to get rid of their sales teams who are getting profits for sale, so that they wouldn’t be competing with Big Fish Games?

Seriously, I don’t get this logic.

People sell BFG games, and get 25% profit.

Employees try sell BFG games, they are shown “anti-competitive” clause in the contract.

Sounds like… bit odd?

Maybe I’m missing something?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I think Jay hits the head on the nail. “It’s not Big Fish Games that he is competing against, it’s other affiliates… there could be accusations of Big Fish favoring Jake’s affiliation because he works for them.”

  2. I think it comes down to hassle prevention. Whether real or imagined, there are hassles that are supposedly being avoided with that method. At least that’s what it’s sounding like to me.

  3. (I was just trying to make a funnyish comment there ;)

    There might be some business deals… but that still wouldn’t make much sense. If Jake become phenomenally successful, like so what – how come other affiliates could think it’s because he is BFG guy? And everybody is free to stop using the affiliate system :)

    I don’t quite understand the logic… but maybe it’s just me.

  4. Juuso, read again Jay post… You didn’t get it… It makes perfect sense now, and this explanation made this acceptable.


  5. It’s not Big Fish Games that he is competing against, it’s other affiliates. It’s mostly for transparency. Say Jake were to become phenomenally successful through his affiliation. If other affiliates were to find out, there could be accusations of Big Fish favoring Jake’s affiliation because he works for them.

    There was a similar case with Epic Megagames. Silicon Knights (at least I think it was them) accused them of neglecting the Unreal Engine in favor of their own games, Gears of War and Unreal Tournament Does Epic favor their own game studios and games over their licensees? Probably not, but it can seem that way to a dissatisfied licensee.

  6. I’m pretty sure when it was explained to me it sounded reasonable, but I can’t remember the exact specifics now – it may have been the fact that they (we) are very team oriented so if someone is trying to make money from affiliate sales then they essentially take away from the team. Another reason is that they want employees not to get distracted with other stuff so they can focus on working for BFG properly. So these reasons aren’t directly related to the making of affiliate sales but more to do with the company culture that is being fostered i.e. teamwork and gunning for the company – that kind of thing. From that point of view it makes sense.

  7. Employees are designed to serve the best interest of the company. It’s in the best interest for the company to make 100% on every sale as opposed to 75%. Instead of being an affiliate – he can merely blog that he works there and send people to them where they would get 100%.

    It’s difficult to be in business and be an employee at the same time – especially in the same industry. I’m not sure why you are so surprised that this would be a cause of concern.

    Lastly, nobody likes affiliates. They are merely a means to an end – you’ll take the 75% revenue over 0% – and so you allow affiliates. They certainly don’t want to employ one and work with him daily.

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