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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 3:44 am 
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wanax wrote:
Atlantis has my permission to realese the game...If you all have a good memory, someone has released Platman World without my permission!

People become stupid when money is involved!

I apologize for the outburst.

:)

No mystery, it was given to them by Wanax, however they should have waited until release date, before releasing their crack.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:14 am 
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I think there are overlapping but different demographics at play. I don't know the c64 scene well, but i expect it to be comprised to a large portion of people who cut their teeth at it or a similar computer (zx spectrum, acorn, abc80, apple II, amstrad, list goes on) using BASIC as their first interface... or just played the games at the time. Either way, they're more or less computer savvy to a large %.

NES gamers are, if i'm generalizing, a lot more comprised of people who enjoy the minimal and magic ritual of plopping a cartridge into place and play something from the couch or on the floor in front of a tv. The simplicity of the interface and its spatial and social context is part of the motivation to play games like this. Some of them are hardcore collectors, but not nearly all. Just like many like the ritual, program and pace of putting on a vinyl disc to listen to music, but only some of them actively collect.

NES emulator gamers are, really, more a subset of PC computer gamers, though there is naturally a lot of overlap, people that are both, and so on. This demographic, just like what i expect the c64 scene to be, is the same kind of demographic where there are enough many people that didn't think twice about cracking truly independent one or two-person efforts in the shareware scene of the 90s. While a NESDEV context of using an emulator may be to develop new software, the historical roots of emulation are entagled with the roots of software piracy.

Definitely defeating piracy for a software product is impossible, but developing strategies to get a bit more revenue for your effort is certainly possible. That may or may not include a ROM release. I don't think there's a clear cut answer to what's the smartest move. You ought to look at your game and ask it questions. Who wants to play this? Under what circumstances? Who am i catering to? What do i want to get out of releasing it? And so on.

Some games may benefit from a download key. Some may benefit from being spread as freeware on the get-go, for the physical edition to catch attention. Releasing the ROM as freeware after a while (like GradualGames did) might bring renewed attention to the game itself or its parent brand.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:13 am 
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Ok, but what's a fair price for a ROM only?

The cartridges are going for $30-50 (or 60 for CIB)

But mobile apps go for $1.

That just doesn't seem like much money.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:51 am 
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How i feel about the mobile app market: Mobile apps are either trash, or brought down by the expectancy to be trash, with a pretty small ratio of exceptions.

If the features between the cartridge and the ROM release are the same, a good place to start might be to look at your profit margin the average unit sale, what others take for comparable games, what you think your labor is worth, and what you think the market will accept. I think you could triangulate a reasonable unit price from these factors?

Also important: How big is your game?

Other question: Are you even able to turn a decent profit per unit shoehorned between what you can price tag the whole thing and the costs of package art, printing, board & shell manufacture, parts assembly and logistics?

Distributing a ROM is less overhead labour
The ROM image also has a different range of use values for the customer.

Lizard is sold kind of under the same premises as the article rahsennor linked to highlighted.
You can pay 10$ or more.

Something i've learned from being an independent grower and seller of hardy plants: Whatever price you come up with in the end, stick with the plan for some time. You don't want customers who paid n come back only to see that the price is now n - x within the same year, unless there's an obvious reason.

If you have several small games, it might make sense to bundle them at some point?

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:55 am 
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well you normaly would charge "your profit" margin, or it and a bit more. I've seen $2-$24 which all depends upon the size, type and quality of the game and/or notoriety of the Dev.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:22 am 
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FrankenGraphics wrote:
How i feel about the mobile app market: Mobile apps are either trash, or brought down by the expectancy to be trash, with a pretty small ratio of exceptions.

This has three causes I can think of.

First, mobile apps are designed for devices with no input other than a multitouch screen and an accelerometer.[1] It's like trying to play a PC game with a mouse and no keyboard: good for 1- and 2-button games or point-and-click adventures, but not much else.

Second, when Android first came out, purchasing on Android Market (now Google Play Store) was available in a small fraction of countries. In order to reach users in other countries, developers had to make their applications available without charge and use advertisements as the primary revenue source. The emerging expectation among users drove the demand curve for Android games toward zero price. iOS wasn't affected quite as much, as Apple always made sure that iTunes Store on OS X (now macOS) and Windows was taking money in a country before releasing the iPhone there.

Third, in-app purchases (IAP) are almost too convenient. Once IAP gained wide support on iOS and Android, the market could have gone the shareware route, offering a first episode for free and further episodes (or the rest of the game) for sale. Well-known examples of this include Id Software's Doom and Nintendo's Super Mario Run. But instead, some developers focused on chasing "whales" with the arcade model of consumable in-app purchases. After topping out in a block puzzle game like Candy Crush Saga, the player hits a paywall in order to skip hours' wait to start another game. In a recent Dungeon Keeper game by EA, as your base expands, your miner imps end up taking close to a real-time day to tunnel out a single map cell unless you pay real money. This becomes unbelievably tedious for a room in a typical base, which is 25 cells (5 across, 5 down). The deliberate game design compromises to drive more purchases further make iOS and Android feel trashy. Do the operating systems' IAP flows even remind the user how much he or she has spent in an app over the past month?


[1] There's no evidence that Android devices with a built-in gamepad, such as Xperia Play, Archos GamePad, and JXD pocket Internet tablets, or clip-on gamepads such as PowerA's MOGA Pocket, represent more than a negligible fraction of the iOS and Android market. Change my mind.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:58 am 
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I think that you should sell the ROM image file and a cartridge (although if you do not want to charge any money for the ROM image file, that is also acceptable (and sometimes preferable)). If you are worried about distribution of unauthorized copies, perhaps delay release of the ROM image file by six months (if you are using a custom mapper, you can decide when to release the specifications, but they should be made freely available before the ROM image file is released). Displaying the FBI warning during initialization should be OK (although I do not know what happens if you do not live in United States; also you I think you should not artifically make it take way too long), but you should not use altered versions; it is helpful to release the exact same data for every copy (and they are also the same as the data in the cartridge), and to publish the SHA hash or MD5 hash of the ROM data (not counting the iNES header). (If you want to, sell a limited number of gold (or whatever else it might be) "limited edition" cartridges before the ROM image file is available for sale, and afterward you can continue to sell cartridges but that are not "limited edition", perhaps).

If you have versions for touch screen devices, one possibility is to use Oeka Kids protocol for the touch screen (something I have seen suggested before).

Note also: I do not have a problem if you alter the prototype versions to be different from each other; it is only release versions that should be all the same as each other.

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Last edited by zzo38 on Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:00 pm 
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Here is my opinion and advice on the matter.

- Try and make a game that is just amazing. Something that would appeal to a large group of people.
- Put time and effort into hyping up your game so that when you do a kickstarter you make your goals because you established a large fan base.
- After finishing the game do a pre-order on kickerstarter or similar. If you want to make a profit, only release the game if you know you have 300 + pre-orders in sales.
- Give options for both rom only and cartridge for buyers. For rom price make it cheap like $5-$10 dollars.
- Sell merchandise related to your game on your website/kickstarter. If someone later pirates the game then you might be able to compensate for that by your merchandise sales.
- If piracy happens with your game, still sell your game, but also be willing to let it go and start on the next game.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 4:57 pm 
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Quote:
Put time and effort into hyping up your game so that when you do a kickstarter you make your goals because you established a large fan base.


Most of us aren't social media wizards with "fan bases".

Which is why kickstarter is probably not the right choice for most of us.

I would be more interested in a ROM distribution if there were a central location that people could go to buy them. Some kind of ROM market place.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:28 pm 
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I personally wouldn't charge for a Nes homebrew ROM because I know not a lot of people would buy it to justify charging for it, meaning I made it for some other reason than profit. At most I'd charge for a physical cartridge (because that's a lot of work/materials) but I'd still give the ROM away for free. You know, thinking about it, I'd do the ROM with a "pay what you want" price, starting from FREE. But that's me of course, I can understand someone charging whatever they want.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:28 pm 
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nesrocks wrote:
At most I'd charge for a physical cartridge (because that's a lot of work/materials) but I'd still give the ROM away for free. You know, thinking about it, I'd do the ROM with a "pay what you want" price, starting from FREE. But that's me of course, I can understand someone charging whatever they want.
That is fine. The physical cartridge should require payment; a ROM image file should also be available though, whether or not you want to charge money for it (another alternative is to initially charge money to profit from it but later on to make it available at no cost).

I, too, probably would release a ROM image file for free (and even the source code, too), but I don't really care if you do or not; I just like to have the ROM image file with the same data as the cartridge (with the header added, though) and a fixed hash code (so that you can ensure it is valid). I would charge for a physical cartridge if I am selling one, but would release the ROM image file freely at no cost.

Erockbrox wrote:
- Try and make a game that is just amazing. Something that would appeal to a large group of people.
Yes, if you want to make the game at all it should be a good one. However, what might appeal to some people, that other people might not like so much; make the game you like to make, although hopefully it will be good.

Quote:
- Give options for both rom only and cartridge for buyers. For rom price make it cheap like $5-$10 dollars.
I agree it should not be too expensive for the file download.

Quote:
- Sell merchandise related to your game on your website/kickstarter. If someone later pirates the game then you might be able to compensate for that by your merchandise sales.
Yes, that is a way to earn money too. If you like to sell merchandise, you can do so. But don't make the game require it; that is a bad idea. (Note: You can sell printed documentation together with the cartridge, however.)

Another alternative is to release the ROM image file at no cost, but you can charge money for the cartridge as well as charging money for prepackaged software for iPhone, Android, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS, even Microsoft Windows; such prepackaged software may have an option menu to switch between the NES/Famicom audio and its own audio track, and to upload high scores, online help, etc.

The subject line says "Why aren't more homebrew games sold as ROM only?" I doubt there is much point to sell it as ROM only, although if you are not charging any money for it then ROM only is reasonable. If you want to sell it, then in addition to ROM file you should probably sell cartridges too (and they can include printed documentation).

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:28 pm 
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You could also do a kickstarter with a stretch goal of releasing the rom for free like 6 months later after the regular release.

This way, you can sell the rom alone and you can also sell the cartridge, but people can also pledge extra for the free rom download stretch goal that will be released later on. People who bought the rom alone just get the rom 6 months before its free.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:37 am 
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dougeff wrote:
I would be more interested in a ROM distribution if there were a central location that people could go to buy them. Some kind of ROM market place.

Several people, including myself, are using itch.io for this purpose.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 2:04 am 
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^ this, I also have some older PC titles on itch, and it's my go-to platform if I ever sell a ROM.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:10 am 
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tokumaru wrote:
I do understand the piracy concerns, but I believe that people who won't pay for a ROM are even less likely to buy a cartridge


I'm not sure about this. I'm not a representive of the broad majority, but I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in the "dinosaur" approach that a digital ROM file has no actual value to me. If I'm buying a product, I want an actual product. I want something I can keep around.

The thing is, there is no difference between a ROM that I bought legally, and one that was illegally pirated off the internet. They are completely identical. Sure, I get to support the developer, and obey the law, but the result is the same as if I'd taken the illegal route, which isn't satisfying to me as a consumer. If a game that I want to buy on a cartridge was only available as a paid ROM file, I most likely wouldn't even buy the game at all.


Last edited by Sumez on Mon Jul 16, 2018 3:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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