Richard Pendry (Mousebreaker) interview

Categories: Interviews

MousebreakerRichard Pendry, the co-creator of Mousebreaker, was kind enough to grant FreeGamesNews an interview, which was conducted over email (thanks Rich!).

FreeGamesNews: Could you please introduce yourself and give us a quick history on Mousebreaker?

Rich: Hi, my name’s Richard and I’m one of the guys behind Mousebreaker. We’ve been working together for around six years now – we began as a small game development business in 2001, developing mainly sports-oriented “sticky” games for a broad range of clients who wanted to increase or entertain their visitors. The website, which we initially built to showcase these games, has grown over the years to become a good-sized game portal with a regular audience.

FreeGamesNews: How many people are working at Mousebreaker and how did the team come together?

Rich: We’re a very small team – only two of us work full-time, which means we’re always very busy. But we also work with various freelancers and independent developers we know.

FreeGamesNews: How did you decide to open new games portals, such as or

Rich: Both of those sites – as well as and – quickly developed a distinct audience so it made sense to give them dedicated sites. But we try to encourage a lot of movement between the sites, and try to make sure they all have the Mousebreaker style.

FreeGamesNews: Do you plan to open new sites in the future?

Rich: No, not at the moment, but that may change.

FreeGamesNews: Can we have an idea of your monthly traffic?

Rich: is currently serving around 50-60 million pages a month.

FreeGamesNews: How do you manage all that traffic, especially to avoid down times?

Rich: We use a hosting provider – – who give excellent support. It costs us a lot, but they’re the best we’ve used and we think it’s worth it for the peace of mind, Also it allows us to concentrate on games instead of technical and hosting issues.

FreeGamesNews: What was the worst day of Mousebreaker’s life (and why)? And what was the most exciting one?

Rich: That’s difficult to say! Over 6 years there have been so many good days and a few bad days too. Watching a newly developed game do well and get a lot of plays is probably still the biggest thrill. Most of the bad days we’ve had have been caused by technical issues like bandwidth overages and server downtime, which we suffered from a lot in the early days. Thankfully the service we get from our hosts means we don’t have to worry too much about that these days.

FreeGamesNews: There are today thousands and thousands of online games sites, with more opening every day: what is your opinion about the state of online gaming business?

Rich: When we began Mousebreaker there were very few sites around, but suddenly it does seem there are thousands and thousands… but most of them seem to have exactly the same games, and even the same template. But generally I think things are very positive – it’s easier than ever before to develop a game yourself or with a group of friends, and to find an audience for the game, and there’s a lot of creativity thinking going on. Also, it seems that “big business” is waking up to the value of “casual gaming”, largely due to the success of the Nintendo Wii.

FreeGamesNews: Kongregate, a games portal launched last fall that calls itself “the YouTube of Games”, received $5million in funding this summer: is it good news or bad news?

Rich: Kongregate have an interesting business model and are one of many sites exploring ways of sharing advertising revenue with game developers. The site has a lot of great features and when we’ve submitted games we’ve generally found the feedback from their members to be more constructive than most. So I think the existence of the site is definitely good news. Regarding the $5m in funding, well it’s not my place to comment on that, but I’m sure the guys at Kongregate are spending the money wisely!

FreeGamesNews: There are also more and more developers that run their own games site today (not to mention Teagames). How do you think the market will evolve in the next two years?

Rich: I think it’s difficult to predict, but sites like Kongregate and, and advertising alternatives like MochiAds will definitely have an impact. Already many small developers are choosing to set up their own site and try to generate their own revenue by self-publishing their games, rather than take the licensing or “sponsorship” route. I certainly think we’ll probably see less “sponsorship”/exclusive licensing in future as developers realise that it’s often best not to sell the rights to your game to just one site.

FreeGamesNews: What is your politic about licensing games from developers?

Rich: We generally license games on a non-exclusive basis from independent developers. It’s very rare that we license anything exclusively. It’s very hard to predict how successful a game will be, but we have a pretty good idea of what will do well, and we look for games that fit the Mousebreaker style.

FreeGamesNews: will you run a new Flash Game Competition soon?

Rich: Last year’s competition was a big success, so yes I imagine we’ll run another one as soon as we have time to sort it out – it’s on our to-do list along with a few thousand other things! I’ll be sure to let you know when we do.

FreeGamesNews: Do you consider other major games portal as friends or purely competitors?

Rich: We don’t have very much contact with other games portals really. We don’t see them as direct competitors, mainly because the Mousebreaker sites offer a slightly different experience to the other portals by offering a huge number of games you won’t find anywhere else.

FreeGamesNews: Suppose now I’m a young Flash games developer. What should I do to have a game hosted at Mouse Breaker, and why should I choose Mouse Breaker?

Rich: If you’ve developed – or are developing – a game you think will interest us, just get in touch. You’ll find we’re genuine guys, with a good amount of practical experience. Obviously not all the games we are shown are suitable for our site, but we always appreciate developers contacting us to show us their work, and if we do license a game then we pay fairly and promptly – we know how annoying it is to wait weeks or months for payment!

FreeGamesNews: How do you imagine Mouse Breaker and the online gaming industry in the next few years?

Rich: Again I find it very hard to predict. We still have a long list of games we want to make, and the Mousebreaker audience is still growing month by month (our core audience is UK-based but we’re getting more and more visitors from Europe, the US and Asia now) so Mousebreaker will still be around, that’s for sure!

In terms of the industry, I think we’ll see more games portals trying to imitate and get involved with social networking sites and “Web 2.0” sites. That may mean more casual multiplayer games, more sites like “Club Penguin”, or simply more games with more of a social element offering ways for players to interact with each other.

But I think that at the same time, there will always be a huge market for simple “5-minute fillers” for people to play on their own. And that’s Mousebreaker’s speciality!

FreeGamesNews: Anything else to add in closing?

Rich: No, I think that covers a lot of ground. Thanks for listening – now I’d better get back to work!

Eric (FreeGamesNews Editor): Thanks a lot Rich for your time. Looking forward for your next Flash Game Competition!


One Comment to Richard Pendry (Mousebreaker) interview

  1. Unowninator says:

    LOL, I’m the 1st!