First Steps in Commercial Games

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SusanTheCat
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First Steps in Commercial Games

#1 Post by SusanTheCat » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:08 am

I have challenged myself to make at least $1 off a game in the month of October. I constantly undervalue my talents and find it difficult to cross the "I should get paid for what I do" line. But I do respond to a challenge. :)

Because of the short timeline, I won't have time to make a stand alone game. My plan is to polish up one of my shorter pieces to commercial quality.

So now my decision is how to monetize it:
Bargain Priced Game: Price the game at $1, have a website to buy it at and submit it to Android Market
Free with Static Ads: Offer it free, but sell static advertising in the game
Free with Dynamic Ads: Same as above, but sign up with an ad service

I like the first two options. (Less programming for me :) ) My Android spending habits are that I avoid free games at all costs but I don't know if that is a "normal" consumer habit.

And advise or comments welcome.

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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#2 Post by Tempus » Wed Aug 14, 2013 11:32 am

SusanTheCat wrote:My Android spending habits are that I avoid free games at all costs but I don't know if that is a "normal" consumer habit.
I've heard other people say similar things. Have you considered a "pay what you want" option? That's something I'd like to try out one day. You could set a baseline price if you think some of the audience would be turned off by free games. It allows for abuse since people can just pay the minimum price (which may be nothing) but it also allows you to net a lot more than any price you set.
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#3 Post by Greeny » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:43 pm

You need to sell it for more than $1. First of all, the service you use will want a cut, and secondly, it does you no good telling people your product is only worth $1.
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#4 Post by papillon » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:19 pm

That depends on the marketplace you're selling on - in some app stores, $1 is sadly a pretty standard price.

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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#5 Post by Dragonstar89 » Thu Aug 15, 2013 3:54 am

The usual app price I see on Google Play and the App Store is about $1.99. So, if you're sprucing up your short game, then I think you should at least set it to that. It seems (after reading app reviews) that people actually buy apps. I for one (being the terrible tyrant I am) have only purchased one app myself, which allows me to tether my android internet without interruptions. So keep in mind the people who like getting cheap things/freebies as well.
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#6 Post by DragYou » Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:12 am

Hello!

I've worked with an indie development team around their release, and I've learned quite a lot about the trade from that short experience. Let me outline some things that you should take into consideration!

Pricing
Of course, different pricing and payment options can offer different outcomes. Steins;Gate had the idea of making it so that you could pay for each individual chapter at a price, leaving the first chapter free, instead of buying the whole thing completely. This is my personal pick if you are going for a developing a longer type of Visual Novel, if not, the standard pay for a couple of dollars is fine. Also remember, do not underprice your work, and do not try putting microtransactions in a visual novel. One will lead you to a smaller sum of money than you can expect, and the other will lead you to a bad reputation.

Ads
These are not worth it. There's a reason why most games have ads and microtransactions, and it's because ads don't give much at all. If you are expecting at least one dollar off your work, I'm willing to bet you will only be making a dollar off your work. For comparison, I have ~2000 adsense views, and that has only brought in about 20 cents. Even with dynamic ads that appear in-game, or even at your pause/save menus, they are quite obtrusive, and are often easy to remove through an adblocker.

Distribution
Pick wisely. Don't go running to the guys that will give you the best cut, as they may not have as much traffic or their DRM may not be the best. Try going for the basic places first like Steam, Desura, Play Store. Another thing to keep in mind is that, depending on your sales, it may take 30-90 days to receive your first check.

"Pay what you want"/Humble Style
My personal favorite. Not only does is it provide a way for customers that had no intent to get the game legitimately, but it also gives you headway and possibly more traffic if you marketed your game right. You could set up yourself, put up on your website, and then give out game keys and a drm-free version, giving yourself a bigger cut as compared to a distribution through Desura directly.

TL;DR Put on Desura (Or another vendor that has its fair share of users) for a fair price, don't undervalue yourself, if you have the time, create a pay what you want style system on your website and give Desura keys and a drm free version. This is the method that I've seen success with personally.

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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#7 Post by papillon » Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:19 pm

You don't need Desura. You can just sell things from your own site.

Adding it to other sites can be a helpful bonus, but why rely totally on someone else who might decide they don't want to sell your game, and if they DO sell your game, will take a chunk of the money away from you?

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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#8 Post by LVUER » Sun Aug 18, 2013 7:26 pm

I don't know... may be site traffic? Exposure? Also don't need to take care of some hassle, like income tax, distribution, hacker, etc? Are popular sites like Steam no good?
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#9 Post by jack_norton » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:16 am

Image
:D
AFAIK getting a VN on Steam is going to be basically IMPOSSIBLE (there's only Analogue and stop, Magical Diary is not exactly a simple VN), and even on Desura is going to be hard - they haven't accepted Spirited Heart for example, when it was in a Groupee bundle (people wanted Desura keys for it, I rushed to make the game assets available in time and they never replied to my email leaving the game unpublished).
As papillon said, FIRST sell on your site, then look elsewhere :wink:
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#10 Post by papillon » Mon Aug 19, 2013 4:02 am

LVUER wrote:I don't know... may be site traffic? Exposure?
That's a reason to ALSO sell your games through other sites. That's not a reason to ONLY sell your games through other sites.

Definitely other distributors can be a big boost, but putting all your eggs in a basket that you don't control leaves you very vulnerable.
Also don't need to take care of some hassle, like income tax
You'll have tax headaches wherever you go. They're generally worse when dealing with other distributors, IMO. Although admittedly I have a... unique tax situation (every year I have to go round again with various companies seeing my British address and trying to file me under non-US-national).

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#11 Post by DesertFox » Thu Aug 29, 2013 11:04 am

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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#12 Post by Jason » Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:31 pm

jack_norton wrote:Image
:D
AFAIK getting a VN on Steam is going to be basically IMPOSSIBLE (there's only Analogue and stop, Magical Diary is not exactly a simple VN), and even on Desura is going to be hard - they haven't accepted Spirited Heart for example, when it was in a Groupee bundle (people wanted Desura keys for it, I rushed to make the game assets available in time and they never replied to my email leaving the game unpublished).
As papillon said, FIRST sell on your site, then look elsewhere :wink:
Dysfunctional Systems got in, and you have submitted a bunch of games already that are /way longer/ than that.
I really think it boils down to the style of the game design (or art) capable of appealing male audiences at one glimpse.
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#13 Post by jack_norton » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:24 pm

Well, Loren should DEFINITELY appeal the male audience (and not just because of the sexy art, is a full featured RPG)... but is not a big deal as I think I might eventually get in later this year. Or not, but I can live without it :)
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#14 Post by Jason » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:32 pm

jack_norton wrote:Well, Loren should DEFINITELY appeal the male audience (and not just because of the sexy art, is a full featured RPG)... but is not a big deal as I think I might eventually get in later this year. Or not, but I can live without it :)
I can't help but feel a little feminism issue in Steam heh (my hunch is the title being "Loren" and as for your other game it's the "hearts" in Bionic "Hearts"--- but that's just my opinion/assumption... I still don't get why they're not letting your games in.) , but yeah it's not like they're the only Nirvana of gamers out there.
Oh and I think it's alright to resubmit in Desura, I believe you just have to remind them over and over. I mean the Gender Bender game got in after all. They just seem to be busy most of the times that they miss some emails.
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Re: First Steps in Commercial Games

#15 Post by Sslaxx » Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:34 am

Dunno if it's up and running properly yet, but there's also CDP's GOG indie service at http://www.gog.com/indie - do NOT do the 60/40 thing though, that could potentially leave you in debt to CD Projekt. They do do a 70/30 set up though.
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