Cannot count the number of times I've heard "I'd pay for it if it was free." Gee, thank you sooooo much!
As someone who started with a free game, added features to it, and later started charging for it, this is bumpkiss.
Yup, been there. At a certain point, you gotta at least make back your investment on time.
I don't mean the adage is false. I mean any person who ever said "I will personally pay you for this game by donating, but only if you make it free first." is a liar and a fraudster.
Yeah its never easy. But it is also plattform specific and if you want to do any sales. A game on a iOSapp store or mobile in genreall will bem uch cheaper than its PC version. Xcom cost around 50 € at reales on PC and only 18 on the app store. (I think there was half a year between the releases, maybe more.) It's important to look at comparable games on YOUR release plattform.
If you want to use the momentum of sales for your game you should give you some wiggle room in your initial price.
I nearly forgot one of the most important rules of selling:
It' always easier to lower a price than to increase it.Price reduction is one of your most important tools in selling your game. Use it wisley.
Thanks again. I only have a Flash game and I've been keeping that in mind, but there's not as much to compare with. Good rule about price reduction. I also have one other factor to consider: If I put a price on it I have to allow it for downloads which increases the chances of pirating/reskinning etc. If I put it up as a freebie right away I can keep it as an embed and avoid that worry. Especially since I'm not finding much justification for more than a buck or two and I can't imagine any big download numbers.
Pirating is not something you should worry about as you can not fight it. Nobody can. You have to accept it as part of any market. Pritating and even more so reskinning is actually only a real thing after you have succsess. Only very very few games got into trouble through pirating (Freelancer comes to mind).
I personally think tha most of my games are not yet worth to be sold. So I went the freebie way.
I feel you, I am a graphic designer myself. I know of the ridiculuss situation. A friend of mine (a german illustrator) was notfiied some day that a few of her works where printed on pillow cases somewhere in china. Sold on the streets of shanghai.You can do nothing about it.
I dont know about fiverr.com but similar sites from germany. They have modular system with logo parts and put them together in 5- 10 mins. At least some of them. But they are sold mostly at 30 - 100 Euros not 5 dollar. :D
You can't fight piracy without a massive legal budget. Even then its futile if the pirat operates from somewhere remote and most artists I know don't even have the money to send a cease and desist letter.
If you see a copyright violation of your stuff you can inform websites like etsy and others to take the them down. But it is your obligation as copyright holder. Not that of the website owner(differs from country to country of course).
Glad I could be of help. I will follow you.
Yes, I think the topic is worth of its own thread.
Like in most cases its a cost/benefit problem. Is it worth to fight it? In a lot of cases no. But that is something most Indie developers will never have. Not everbody can be Vlambeer :D
On "Your Time" is just that. Your time is precious, and costly. Developing a game in your time, is still taking away from hours of you doing other things. If you're looking to keep track of development cost, your time is definitely one of the most important factors to count. If you want your game to be free, that's dandy, but when you're looking at it from a break even angle, how long did it take you to make the game, and how much time you plan on spending on the game after development should be measured.
Thanks, Wasteland Dan. I understand your point and have kept that in mind during development. However, much of that time was learning as I went. I'm actually a graphic artist who gave this gaming a shot. It's hard to separate the student game developer from the professional when considering the total time spent. The graphics, music etc. was much less time than figuring out all the game logic. Lot of trial and error. In any case, if I charge what's reasonable to pay myself for the time spent it would be a ridiculously high price. I'm already in the hole either way. Just trying to cut my losses.
Thank you, I feel your being very kind.
I think there was a lot of things I forgot to mention, but there's a 10K character limit, so i wouldn't have been able to say everything anyway.
I also feel that most of what I've said is obvious, and most of us knew this already, and that I was only reminding us of it.
I have heard, however, that some people making games are not as familiar with what it's like to buy games as we'd like to think, some devs are people who have played hundreds of games and have that experience show forth in thier titles, but it's possibly rare. There can be a clear line between people who make content....and those who consume it. The time commitment required has become enforced these days because there's so much of it; when it comes to youtube, many video makers including myself find that we could either watch a bunch of our favorite video makers, or work on making our own videos, and it's hard to balance between the two.
But despite all that, being someone who puts out questionable content games because they know nothing about the medium, or the market, and a consumer who just can't respect that a dev should make some money at the end of the day, are 2 extremes I cannot tolerate anymore.
So I'm hoping my split worlds perspective as a prospective critic can help everyone in this regard, generally.
The fact is, is that we have a **** of a lot we can learn from both sides, so look at some other games, learn from them, including their business model, and it kinda helps if you watch a lot of extra credits and/or video reviews of games out there. It has been noted there can be a clear relationship between the youtube indie "press" and indie devs these days, after all.
(fill in the asterics with your favorite 4 letter curse word, I didn't have one in mind, and if there's an auto-censor, I didn't trigger it, I put them in myself, and haven't an idea of which word I'd use, honestly.)
That all being said, I can understand not being able to watch hundreds of hours of video content, so leave that to me, and one day I'll hopefully have made a "Beginners guide to interactive video games and their various business models, for both Developers, Consumers, and especially For Dummies." video series.
Because I get that not everyone can get into this sort of stuff, the way I do. XP
Oh. I just meant, I have missing stuff there, I wrote in some mistakes, and I was honestly expecting a "we get it" reaction, it felt nice having someone respect what I had to say for once.
(seriously, I'm going to do some serious re-writes if I actually approach this in a video, which I do want to do some day.)
Such a comprehensive peice. For this you have my follow.
Bear in mind the difference between Freeware titles, and free to play games, there can be a gap as wide as the grand canyon.
I can understand the serious dislike for free to play. But I hope oz2mura doesn't overlook guinuinely good Freeware titles, some of them used to be sold, and the devs of them decided:"these games are too old and/or historically iconic to have behind a paywall, just have it, take it."
A few of the more memorable titles for me I've played, including my absolute favorite, Eternal Senia, were free.
(Although Eternal Senia isn't technically free, the dev politely asks for donations, since he can't legally sell it, but, I doubt I would have tried it if it wasn't free.........I definitely intend to donate at least $30 to him though, when I can, his game helped me in a way you might have trouble imaginating, I should really donate in excess of $100 for what it did for me, although, for what amount and type of content you get, it's a 5-10 USD bucks kinda game for most people, likely upwards of 15 CDN for me, our currency price sucks right now. XP)
ah, i see the misunderstanding, i'll clarify.
while it's true i don't buy free games. i have downloaded a ton of them. newgrounds, and kongregate were my main places to waste my time away. interesting enough, if those games were 5 usd and presented themselves well enough, i'd have spent it.
though i think it's great with what itch.io is doing allowing the player to pay what they think is appropriate. the thought never occured to me to use it, probably because my habitual binge free playing in the past led me to not be considerate doing so. so i'll reflect on that.
hopefully the insight of one potential buyer and my candid thought process can be of some use.
Thank you for that.
Are you absolutely sure some games shouldn't be under $5 though, what if it's a neat little thing that only lasts for 2-5 hours? Those are being perfectly self-respecting, and being respectful and honest to the buyer.
(Unless your a shovelware developer, of course. XP)
trying to explore my thoughts on that.
it's as if i have a wish for the bottom price for paid games to be 5 usd. and my expectations for a 5 dollar game is already low, my thoughts is that it's already less than min wage. so when i do see a nice looking game for less than 5 my immediate thoughts are, 'what's the catch?'. it's unfounded suspicion that shouldn't happen, but it does.
i'm going to make silly comparisons to attempt to figure out why this is. to me anything less than 5 dollars is equivalent to a snack. which i feel like even a game at all is worth more than that. and i notice that i'm willing to pay more than 8 dollars for a 1-2 hour movie. personally i enjoy small games more than movies-- so that bias itself might have to do with my thought process.
i guess what it just comes down to, i feel like games are already undervalued with the exception of triple A titles feeling overvalued. and i'm personally willing to drop 5 usd on a game that looks promising, even if it's just for an hour.
and even if these feelings don't match with the rest of the populace, i kinda wish it did.
"It might be idealistic but as a developer and a player I would love if the amount paid reflected how much the player enjoyed the game, not how much they expect to."
I hear that ;)
I do feel that games with pretty predictable play times are easier to price. In my case, I'm currently heavily going back and forth on the final price for Airships: Conquer the Skies, which is a ship construction and RTS game. It has no plot or series of missions. So you might spend half an hour on it or 300 hours.
Need a beta tester for that?
You've given ample reason to want one already.
If you plan on selling it, I am willing to sign a contract where the only compensation I am obligated to is acknowledgement. (you know, credits.), I just want to help, sure I could use money....but I'll get that with a real job, I just want to assist community members however I can, and the game sounds interesting.
Thanks but it's already up. I decided to go freebie with it after all. You can always leave a comment if you like it(...aaand I guess even if you don't). And hey, if Sony or Microsoft ever pick it up I'll certainly give you beta-testing credit. But don't hold your breath. I'm not (^c ^ )
That was the same thing me and a bunch of other people noted.
Something I put in my large post.
But hey, I understand, ain't no body got time to read that article. :P
Anyway, I refer to it as the Currency Value per hour (you can write it as X$/Hr), but, as we've noted down below, it can be sorely inaccurate if the nature of the game leads to differring play times.
You could only be sure with linear games, like jrpgs. 60 hour story-line? alright, $60 is a fine enough price then (well, it was for me and others, but man......people are cheap-@$$ sometimes. XP)
Is 1-2$/Hr fine for some people? It may certainly not be for others, some might wish for 50 cents all the way down to 10 cents.....
At least when your a kid with the one game they might get that year, it makes sense..........but anyone else?
...........my patience runs dry with those people sometimes, which is saying a lot. XP