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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessMaking money with open source games
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Crosbie Fitch
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« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2007, 05:20:43 AM »

Yes, I thought I'd start things simple with the $1 fixed pledge idea.

Thanks for introducing the arbitrary pledge or bid.

This pledge/bid represents the bidder's estimation of the product's value - or view as to the maximum retail price they'd be willing to pay. And the digital art auction automatically calculates the price that maximises revenue.

However, this is probably more appropriate to digital works that are very expensive to develop. It tends to require a very large customer base, very keen on seeing the next release (Star Wars 7) - because there's more friction involved in deciding one's personal valuation. Because of the larger amount of money, there's also a need to verify that the product to be released is actually up to spec.

I certainly think there's a future for the digital art auction, but think that there may need to be simpler versions to start the ball rolling.

I'm currently working on an engine that will let anyone roll their own pledge site, auction system, etc. It's at http://www.contingencymarket.com
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Anthony Flack
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« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2007, 06:53:29 AM »

Yes, I think this is all getting a mite too complicated for most people.

Also, a $1 payment is problematical when you can't stick your hand out to physically collect the dollar. Once internet-based micropayments really get going there will be a lot of other business options available - including simply sticking a game online and charging people 20c a go, like it's an arcade machine. But for now it is neither cheap nor convenient enough to really work like that. I may have a dollar right here in my pocket (or 100 yen in my case) and you are welcome to it; you can have it right now if I think your game looks like it might be halfway interesting. I don't care about such a small sum of money.

Except, it's too much bother to get that coin to you, so I won't. For now at least, it's much simpler for developers to collect that dollar from adware.



« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 06:55:32 AM by Anthony Flack » Logged

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« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2007, 07:03:39 AM »

It is a bit complicated. At least in explaining how it works. I mean, as a user it's almost just saying "hey, pre-order the game at whatever price you think it's worth." I think it's possible to get people using it, you just have to engineer the experience so it doesn't seem like it's complicated. Tongue

Anyway, this is mostly a way for open source games to be able to make money better than donations. However, it could also be used as a way to set a price for traditional games...

I talked to Scott Miller once about it (he practically invented shareware for games) and he liked the idea in theory, but had no idea whether it would work or not. I don't think any of us know, which is why I think it's worth trying!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 07:06:27 AM by progrium » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2007, 07:50:52 AM »

There's one problem with the 1$ support, at least for me. The only option I have here from Poland is recieving money via PayPal, and PayPal charges me 2.9% + 30 cents to process the donation. That is one third of that dollar :/.
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« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2007, 07:56:16 AM »

Have a look at one of the later prototypes of mine: http://www.quidmusic.com

The idea is that a musician's fans never actually visit the site - they only visit the musician's own site (or those of any of their fans) and if they want to be a fan themselves (want more music) simply press the musician's pledge $1 button. Which doesn't in itself require getting any credit cards out.

Your pledges only really count once you've added funds to your account, and you can't actually receive any copies of anything until you have funds.

The other thing is, that paying customers are likely to be experienced at paying online and may well already have PayPal accounts, which can make adding funds a doddle.

Anyway, yes, I agree it all looks very flaky.

No-one's going to believe this can fly until it does.

Others are working on similar sites which are actually flying to some extent. Check out http://www.pledgebank.com
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2007, 08:01:25 AM »

Have a look at one of the later prototypes of mine: http://www.quidmusic.com

[...]

Others are working on similar sites which are actually flying to some extent. Check out http://www.pledgebank.com
Okay, I looked at those, but there's one thing that I don't understand. What prevents people from mass pledging, and then after the target is met just walking away? What's the need for such a system then?
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« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2007, 08:07:19 AM »

There's one problem with the 1$ support, at least for me. The only option I have here from Poland is recieving money via PayPal, and PayPal charges me 2.9% + 30 cents to process the donation. That is one third of that dollar :/.

Well spotted.

So what you do is let the user bear the cost of PayPal's overhead - which encourages the user to deposit $10 or more at a time.

Moreover, the escrow service can pay you by cheque which is effectively commission free.

With QuidMusic I was trying to absorb all PayPal/NoChex commissions into a single commission, but despite it being simpler, it seems this isn't sufficiently transparent for some people's taste.

Hence the next site I do will have 0% commission to the service, and all money handler overheads made transparent and borne by the person incurring them.

So, $10.59 would get the punter $10 worth of credits in their account - which will collect them 10 games before they need to make another deposit. They can of course, get a full refund of $10.59 if no games they've pledged for have yet been released.
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Crosbie Fitch
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« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2007, 08:18:40 AM »

Okay, I looked at those, but there's one thing that I don't understand. What prevents people from mass pledging, and then after the target is met just walking away? What's the need for such a system then?

I guess you're referring to pledgebank.com which relies upon an honour payment system. So, yes, there's no obligation on that one.

I didn't actually mean to mention pledgebank.com, but http://www.fundable.org which does oblige a commitment to payment should the target be met.

Note that QuidMusic and T'DAA! do not have targets - targets are an option for the vendor.

These latter two services are also intended to distinguish between a bidder's/pledger's credit rating, so if you have 100 bidders and 90 of them have never deposited funds you know you're only guaranteed $10 - and the bidders know that too.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 08:22:35 AM by Crosbie Fitch » Logged
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2007, 08:45:21 AM »

I've considered asking for donations every once in awhile, but I don't think my games are popular enough that I'd get a decent click-through rate.
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2007, 04:06:10 PM »

With QuidMusic I was trying to absorb all PayPal/NoChex commissions into a single commission, but despite it being simpler, it seems this isn't sufficiently transparent for some people's taste.

Hence the next site I do will have 0% commission to the service, and all money handler overheads made transparent and borne by the person incurring them.

So, $10.59 would get the punter $10 worth of credits in their account - which will collect them 10 games before they need to make another deposit. They can of course, get a full refund of $10.59 if no games they've pledged for have yet been released.
As I understand we're talking here of a possibility of doing something similar for computer games? In that case I would either allow an arbitrary sized bid, or raise it to something like 5$. But it also depends on wether we are talking about "release game" or "release another version"...

Any chance of such a system actually being developed?
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2007, 04:27:56 PM »

As I understand we're talking here of a possibility of doing something similar for computer games? In that case I would either allow an arbitrary sized bid, or raise it to something like 5$. But it also depends on wether we are talking about "release game" or "release another version"...

Any chance of such a system actually being developed?

The thing about fixed bids is that it's less friction, less angst on the part of the potential fan.
The value you choose is of course up to you. I fancied the UK pound as a pretty good unit, hence quidmusic, quidmovies, even quidgames.

However, I've realised that it may be better simply to create the engine, expose it as a web service and explore all the potential permutations - along with anyone else who wants to (commission free).

As to any chance of development, well I hope so. I'm always working on it as a side project.
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2007, 04:56:57 PM »

As to any chance of development, well I hope so. I'm always working on it as a side project.
Keep us updated then Smiley. At least I would like to try it out!
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2007, 05:05:27 PM »

Keep us updated then Smiley. At least I would like to try it out!
Of course.

Feel free to play about with QuidMusic in the interim. No commitment. No money required.
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Albert Lai
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2007, 06:09:37 PM »

I honestly wonder if that would work: releasing a kick ass demo, setting a donation target and then releasing your game as freeware once that target is reached.  I think you would still have to set up a "public broadcasting" method of offering some sort of gift for various donation levels, like t-shirts, mousepads, extra game content / ranking, etc.

That seems like it would work. I remember working (rather briefly, the group tanked pretty quickly) on a group where that was our goal. Rather, we would sell the game at 10 bucks a pop, and every time we hit a donation goal we would release one or two new  levels. Of course, the problem of never being able to stop working wasn't ironed out.

I'd like to see more comment on his idea. Does anyone else think its a good idea?
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2007, 06:21:34 PM »

That seems like it would work. I remember working (rather briefly, the group tanked pretty quickly) on a group where that was our goal. Rather, we would sell the game at 10 bucks a pop, and every time we hit a donation goal we would release one or two new  levels. Of course, the problem of never being able to stop working wasn't ironed out.
I never stop working anyway, so it's not a biggie ;].

I'd like to see more comment on his idea. Does anyone else think its a good idea?
So would I. I try to pulloff this "donationware" thingie for some time now, without much success Sad
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2007, 06:55:26 PM »

So would I. I try to pulloff this "donationware" thingie for some time now, without much success Sad

Kornel, I think part of the problem is that you like to start a lot of new RL projects, leaving fans of your unfinished games in the dust waiting for new versions to games they already like.  If you worked on DoomRL and *cough* (Wink) finished the graphical version, you could potentially have a huge fanbase that would pay you nicely to keep updating the game.  As it is, people know that if they give you money they are supporting development on a new Roguelike that they aren't necessarily interested in.

I believe what Alec says is correct in that you have to make people feel like they are paying for something tangible.  In your case, sending you money doesn't feel like it makes development go any faster.  I know that when I donated I had kind of hoped that I would see the next version of DoomRL come out a bit sooner (as much as I enjoy your other RL's, it's DoomRL that got me interested in your work in the first place).  Of course, I understand your reasoning for delaying work on DoomRL, but you have to see it from the view of a potential donor if you want to make money!  Donor X is uninterested as to why you aren't working on DoomRL and simply wants to see DoomRL get finished.  If you make it obvious to him/her that his/her money is going to get that next version out faster, he/she will let you have it.
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2007, 07:05:30 PM »

Kornel, I think part of the problem is that you like to start a lot of new RL projects, leaving fans of your unfinished games in the dust waiting for new versions to games they already like.
It's the 7DRL compo that makes me do that ;]. Technically it's just 7 days right? Anyway, I think I need some more serious management with the games. Like officialy dropping (and opensourcing) DiabloRL.

If you worked on DoomRL and *cough* (Wink) finished the graphical version, you could potentially have a huge fanbase that would pay you nicely to keep updating the game.
...finished...keep updating... xD. If I keep updating it it isn't finished yet, right? But I think I *may* see your point. The problem is, that I delay doing the really hard stuff that needs to be done on DoomRL (AI/dungen revamp) ad infinitum, adding minor features instead :/.

As it is, people know that if they give you money they are supporting development on a new Roguelike that they aren't necessarily interested in.
Heh, I get your point :/. Any idea how to change that, that doesn't involve throwing everything away in the holy name of DoomRL?

I believe what Alec says is correct in that you have to make people feel like they are paying for something tangible.  In your case, sending you money doesn't feel like it makes development go any faster.
You both showed the problem, but that still doesn't give me insight on a solution!

I know that when I donated I had kind of hoped that I would see the next version of DoomRL come out a bit sooner (as much as I enjoy your other RL's, it's DoomRL that got me interested in your work in the first place). 
For my defense I can say that you donated right before the exam session, and I just finished it like 2 days ago (there were due projects till that deadline) ;]. As for the 7DRL work, it was just a way to spend those 10 minute breather moments Tongue.
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2007, 07:35:21 PM »

I understand. Grin

My solution is this: get the graphical version of DoomRL out above all else.  I can almost guarantee that you will get about a billion new fans just from releasing a version with graphics (especially because I would pimp that version out on TIGSource like I was Fillmore Slim).  In preparation for the release, set up a prominent donation page (linked from the forums and the front page) that outlines exactly all the things you get as a donator: forum status, access to stuff early, etc.  Then let donors participate in polls to determine what you work on next.  If donors want you to work on DoomRL, work on DoomRL.  Finally, and I think this is key: when you release a new version, announce who donated to help get that version out.  Tie the idea of donations with new releases.

It's much like having people buy "stock" in your "company" and then giving them a certain amount of influence on what direction the company goes.  You have to be beholden to your fans to some extent if you want them to give you money.  At least until you prove to them that you are a Roguelike god not to be questioned. Wink

But yes, get the graphical version of DoomRL out ASAP!  You have original graphics already done, available for you, for chrissakes!  You're like on the cusp of being a legendary RL designer and you refuse to take that last step.  I promise you that each new game you start on will have less and less supporters until you prove to the world that you can finish what you start...

[/RANT] Cool
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Kornel Kisielewicz
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2007, 07:55:23 PM »

Got it ^^.

The current battleplan tough is:
* Before the March 7DRL: Finish the design of 7DRL, create a working Berserk! graphical version (no additional tiles needed, I just want to see how it's implemented before I start refactoring DoomRL to that goal)
* The 7DRL (Sorry, but I can't miss that one :>)
* Polishing up DoomRL for another offical release (0.9.8.7) because I held this beta content for too long now, and the people get impatient)
* Start refactoring DoomRL for graphics, presenting the intermediate results at the beta forums

DiabloRL is halted, Berserk! release may happen accidentaly somewhere along the road, StarDreamer is pushed to a post-graphics-DoomRL timeslot, and the new 7DRL may be further developed after the first DoomRL-graphics release depending on the public reaction.

Sounds OK?
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« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2007, 09:42:52 PM »

... Technically it's just 7 days right? ...
Ahhh... the trap :D

Anyhow, I share what Derek says; for god knows what reasons (apart from being an overly cool game) DoomRL is very popular, and it could be even more... heck even I released a graphics version of CvRL, and it made it accesible to more people (although much less than I had expected, but I hope that will change with next version), the point is, take advantage of your current position as top-notch new generation roguedev Wink
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