Business model idea

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wonder
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Business model idea

Post by wonder » Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:12 am

Hi!

So, I have this idea for a business model and I'd like to know your opinions on this.

Before release:
- Once the game is ~95% complete the developer sets a target release price (ex: USD 25,000).
- In order for this goal to be met, the game goes through a crowdfunding process
- The crowdfunding page is fully transparent about the game's business model and developer's intentions
- Once the goal is met, the game ROM is released for free in the developers website

After release:
- Additional revenue can be obtained from an optional paid version on Steam / Nintendo Shop / Epic
- Additional revenue can be obtained by scanning in-game QR-code(s) linked to a PayPal page / Bitcoin address
- Additional revenue can be obtained from physical cartridge sales (if applicable)

I'm guessing someone already had the same idea, but nonetheless, I'm calling this business model "Pay-to-release". :mrgreen:
I hope this makes everybody happy, pirates and payers alike. :lol:

In the age of sharing and social media, I believe that having a large user base is the most important, at least in the long term. :beer: :D

What do you guys think?
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gauauu
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Re: Business model idea

Post by gauauu » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:10 am

One potential problem is that I, being a cheapskate, will see your model, and assume that my $5 contribution isn't likely to make or break the release, so I'll just hold onto my money and hope that the game gets released for free. (even if I would have otherwise been happy to spend $5 to buy the game)

How many cheapskates like me exist? I'm not sure, but if it's a lot, you're missing a lot of potential profit, by not providing me much incentive to part with my money.

bngrybt
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Re: Business model idea

Post by bngrybt » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am

I think that if you intend to make money from a game, you should plan to charge for it, even post-Kickstarter. Paying for something that is 95% complete and will be released for free is a tough sell. Pirates are never going to pay for your game anyway, so it's pointless to make any concessions for them in any serious business model. Nobody is going to buy something on Steam if it's available for free elsewhere. Getting your game on consoles is always tougher to do than Steam, and if they see a game with low sales that's available for free elsewhere, they won't be particularly interested in giving you a dev kit. For Switch especially, you'll probably need to find a publisher willing to work with you. Nintendo is notoriously strict about handing out Switch dev kits to small studios alone. They want to know that you're serious about running a business and not just doing it as a hobby.

I know that when I run a Kickstarter/preorder campaign, it's to get funding in order to produce physical carts. Profit made from one game then goes into funding my existence while I develop the next one. It's kind of cyclical. I think the free version would make that cycle a lot harder to maintain. Once a game is a few years old, that's a different story. A freebie in that case can be used as a promotional tool for newer releases.

On the flipside, if this is something that you're just doing for fun, and if you don't intend to make money from it, then by all means release it for free. Just keep in mind that your work has value to someone, even if it's something that you have fun producing. Basically, people will only take you as seriously as you take yourself.

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tokumaru
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Re: Business model idea

Post by tokumaru » Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:53 am

wonder wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:12 am
I'm calling this business model "Pay-to-release". :mrgreen:
That's a terrible name!

calima
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Re: Business model idea

Post by calima » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:30 am

bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
Nobody is going to buy something on Steam if it's available for free elsewhere.
There's a few pieces of Free Software there, the lazy Win/Mac users will indeed pay to get the convenience of easy installing and auto-updates. Not massive revenue, granted.

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wonder
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Re: Business model idea

Post by wonder » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:46 am

Thanks for the replies, guys!! You raised some really interesting points and I will rethink this entire thing. :beer: :)
One thing I forgot to mention, I proposed this business model in the context of NES development alone.
tokumaru wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:53 am
That's a terrible name!
True... anything that has "pay-to..." doesn't sound right to the consumer.
How about "Releaseware"?
bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
Paying for something that is 95% complete and will be released for free is a tough sell. Pirates are never going to pay for your game anyway, so it's pointless to make any concessions for them in any serious business model.
I think piracy is something that will always be part of the ecosystem. I'd rather try and make use of that part of the user base, than try to eradicate it.
If someone is unable to / doesn't want to pay for my game, I'd still like for that person to contribute by making the game more popular (advertising, reviewing, posting, retweeting, blogging, liking).
bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
Nobody is going to buy something on Steam if it's available for free elsewhere.
People tend to lean towards the more convenient option rather then the cheapest one. That how Netflix defeated torrenting. It's easier to setup a Netflix account (which can be used on multiple devices) than search and download torrents (to a single device).
If the Steam option is the lazy option, people who don't mind spending a few dollars certainly will.
bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
Getting your game on consoles is always tougher to do than Steam, and if they see a game with low sales that's available for free elsewhere, they won't be particularly interested in giving you a dev kit. For Switch especially, you'll probably need to find a publisher willing to work with you. Nintendo is notoriously strict about handing out Switch dev kits to small studios alone. They want to know that you're serious about running a business and not just doing it as a hobby.
To be honest I'm not really familiar with the Nintendo ecosystem, I thought that since they have their own NES emulation (Virtual Console?) you could just add your game ROM to their store. Looks like I'll have to look into that and do some research. :?
bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
On the flip-side, if this is something that you're just doing for fun, and if you don't intend to make money from it, then by all means release it for free. Just keep in mind that your work has value to someone, even if it's something that you have fun producing. Basically, people will only take you as seriously as you take yourself.
You're absolutely right on this one. The danger of releasing something to free is the devaluation of your own work and the product itself.
People tend not to pay attention or even value free stuff, even if it's good stuff. I will reevaluate my idea. Thank you. :)
gauauu wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:10 am
One potential problem is that I, being a cheapskate, will see your model, and assume that my $5 contribution isn't likely to make or break the release, so I'll just hold onto my money and hope that the game gets released for free. (even if I would have otherwise been happy to spend $5 to buy the game)
Agreed, there must be some incentive to have someone spending those 5 dollars. Otherwise people will just wait.

___________________________________________________________________________

To sum up, I really want to come-up with a cool new business model that satisfies everyone without undervaluing the product... back to the drawing board! :mrgreen:
Last edited by wonder on Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:51 am, edited 3 times in total.
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wonder
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Re: Business model idea

Post by wonder » Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:46 am

calima wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 10:30 am
bngrybt wrote:
Tue Jul 14, 2020 8:44 am
Nobody is going to buy something on Steam if it's available for free elsewhere.
There's a few pieces of Free Software there, the lazy Win/Mac users will indeed pay to get the convenience of easy installing and auto-updates. Not massive revenue, granted.
This! :lol:
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tepples
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Re: Business model idea

Post by tepples » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:14 am

I've seen terms analogous to "bountyware".

As far as I'm aware, the Virtual Console (Wii U and Nintendo 3DS) and Nintendo Switch Online routes to market are open only to pre-Wario's Woods licensed games, not unlicensed games. This is why, for example, WB Games (formerly Tengen) can't release Klax and Codemasters and Hasbro can't release Micro Machines through this particular service. Unlicensed NES games must instead be bundled with a third-party emulator. Haunted: Halloween '86 for Nintendo Switch uses a customized version of 3dSen, for instance.

I've also seen games whose engine is free software but whose non-program parts are proprietary, with the publisher regularly filing notices of claimed infringement against porters who distribute the non-program parts to the public. Idthesda's Doom (1993) is an example.[1]


[1] Though not a perfect one, as the engine became free software roughly five years after release.

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