Just a curious thought I had going through my head: how feasible would it be for a site to distribute games as a shop for small time developers?
Take gamedev.net for example:
Lots of people come and go every day.
If you were to have a contract that says something like split any profits made somehow (your game sucks and no one buys it; you get nothing), and use the site to sell these games.
If people choose to then move away, and find other distributers, they can.
I was wondering what the problems for this would be.
As far as I can see, you have the initial outlay of energy (& money) to create a site, right, and set up the infrastructure to order online, and delivery in a reasonable amount of time.
On the other hand, once its up, for this sort of deal, it costs the site nothing except a bit of space to advertise the item.
Now the cool bit; because it costs so little, you sell the games for a pittance. Ok; this sounds stupid, but think about it. If you game sells for $20, instead of $50, I''m sure you''d get more sales.
From the small time developers point of view (note words small time) this is cool: if they write something really good, they make money. If not: _it cost them nothing to try_ (=p except the development cost, yeah I admit).
To actually post out a game costs as much as it costs to burn a CD, print a title cover & pay for shipping.
It''s late. I''m tired. That probably didn''t come out how I wanted. Nevermind. HRm...let me try to summerise:
* site acts as shop for small time developers
* site pays developers depending how many units they sell
* developer pays nothing to advertise on site
* site sells product at low price to encourage purchasing
* If developer writes good game: people buy it (Hehehe. Hell..maybe even other developers)...
* If not, developer has wasted nothing but time (for games outlay of <$1000 no huge loss) + developer free to try to distribute games in other ways too.
* Site makes money every time any game sells (sounds good to me)
* Even big(er) developers can suppliament income by making smaller and cheaper games (eg. fun arcade games) and putting them on the site.
Hey! I was thinking about something like that today
Here are my thoughts on the future of gaming industry (lol, no, Im not a seer!) :
To make a game you need an idea and programming skills. To make a sellable game (a "hit") you need money (to pay a team to work for you, specially (sp?) artists). If you make a very good game (good/original ideas) but has not the name to get a big publisher, your game wont hit the shelves, but the game is still made, just no one will buy it, while if you make a game with lots of cool graphics and etc, you will spend a lot but earn a lot.
Gamers, on the other hand, are not being able to find anymore games that will make them satisfied (sp?), all they can find are clones (or games inspired in) of other games they played somewhen in the last decade(s).
Programmers/game designers are trying to get into the market but arent being able to break into it, as there are a somewhat large number of them already in the market, and due to the difficulty to get a game on the shelves of the big shops.
I cant really foresee what is gonna happen in the next years, but I dont feel its gonna get any better. The variety of games is probably just gonna get smaller and smaller, and the big publishers richer and richer.
A solution? Well, all I can think of now is something like Shadow Mint said. Use the Internet to sell the games. But I think a new site should be created (not use GameDev.net, but its up to them. If they want to sell, they sell. I cant stop them), and that site would only sell games that dont hit the shelves cause they dont have huge amounts of money backing them. So it would be something cheap to post a game to sell there (or maybe free, and the site owner just get a percentage of the sales), and the site would have a small description and a few shots of the games, and maybe some input from the buyers and from the maker (something like Amazon.com does for their books), and a contact address. That would be somewhat simple, just to let the public be able to buy games cheaper and buy games they would never find in the shelves of a "real" shop. Many many good quality games are made every year but we dont buy because we never hear about them and dont see them in the shelves. Who here ever played "Mad TV"? That german game is really really (I mean really) good. But outside of Germany it is virtually unknown (Im not from there, in cause you were wondering -and didnt see where Im from under my name-) cause the designer probably didnt have the money or the name to make it hit the shelves of the shops outside of Germany.
The only big problem with something like this is that nobody will know about the site, and if any game can get shown at the site, many really low quality games will show up there, making it annoying to visitors to keep seeing crappy games there, and they would stop visiting.
Well, I just wanted to say what I think about the future of gaming industry and a possible solution (uhm, maybe/probably that already exists, but I never heard). If anyone is interested in going into a project like that, it would be very cool, and I support people making stuff like that. You have just to think a lot more about the details and also major issues like the one I pointed and probably other dozens issues I forgot to point out (or didnt think about).
Those are my cents on this. Hope someone continues this discussion cause I think things are not really getting good for the game industry. Another point we should raise is a way to avoid piracy. Piracy is one of the major destroyers of gaming industry (if not THE major). It is estimated here in Brazil that for every original copy of Fifa 2000 (or was it 99?) sold, other 9 were pirated. Thats really really sad. In USA Id guess its like 4/1 (4 sold 1 pirated) or something, but thats really a guess.
Well post your thoughts! If wanted, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cool. Somebody replied. =) *nods* Exactly. You hit exactly what I was trying to say on the nose!
Just additional thoughts now I''m awake:
Problems with bad games being put on the site: I''d resolve this be having review and voting functions for people who have bought the game.
Problems with getting press: Yes, initially this is a problem. But, there are a fair few sites that do stuff like gamedev.net does (I think; lol. never looked that hard I admit). You could set up an affiliation with this sort of site somehow I think... dunno.
Problems with piracy: Interesting thoughts here. Two things. First reason ppl pirate games and apps: they''re expensive (are they? apps yes, but games? What''s $80??). The thing is, they''re expensive for people with a low disposable income, eg. students. Who happen to form most of the game market. That''s why I raised the point of selling the game at a low cost. By reducing that, the urge to try to find a pirate copy is reduced.
I also think things that use huge data files are a good way of knocking back pirate copies. Esp. once we get DVD technology for data storage commonly avaliable. 2 Gig of data files is going to make it a bit harder to download the games...
As for people who sell the CDs... well. In my experience (indirectly from friends they sell games at about $5 AUS per CD. So for something like that I dunno, but if you do have a price scheme based on number of CD''s sold: I''d think people would prefer it that way: They get the game, documentation, etc, legally, for maybe... twice the price? And it''s delivered to their door...
I''d go for that one. Only real pain I''d say would be payment; potential customers might not have a credit card. Possibly do a postal order sheet as well...
I think it''d work. It''d just take somebody putting a bit of effort into it all to get it working...
I really dont know why arent people replying on this topic (not that this should be in the Top 25 Replies rank ). Dunno if they think this is completelly (sp?) wrong, or something. But as if this is right it would have some serious impacts on the industry, Id love to hear people talk about this (specially (ack, probably spelled wrong now, not sure) if you dont agree with us -me and Shadow-, so we can see what are we forgetting), so go on and lets talk about this, people (Ok, I believe Shadow should have put a different topic, not "Online Shop"... but something more appealing -but still about this subject- like "The Future of Gaming Industry" ) !
Now, to the reply...
Uhm, on the bad games side. Well, I believe something like that must happen (like the Amazon thing I mentioned), but, hey, we have to remember this is still capitalism! Not because we are thinking about new developers/etc that we would be doing charity (sp?), the shop is still a shop. It will want to sell what is sellable. It wont show in the front/main page a big picture and a description of a damn crappy game, or it will go bankrupt! Of course it will accept as many games as possible, but not all games must be shown on the front page of the site/etc... Well, you got the idea : We are in capitalism. Thats it.
On the piracy : I believe people dont usually pirate cause it will cost him 50 bucks. I mean, thats the easy answer they (erm) give, but actually [I believe that] they buy and sell pirated games cause they know they are not getting arrested, cause its easy, and cause they dont give a damn to whoever makes the game going unemployed/whatever (and dont even try to convince them otherwise, it wont work).
Also on the piracy, I am positive DVD''s arent changing piracy, cause as DVDs comes, cable modems come, and optic fiber (omg I just created that term... I have no clue hows that in English, but its something close to it I believe) will be hitting everyone''s home soon. So, that will be somewhat like excuse used when CDs started popping up (it would end piracy cause of the huge amount of space a game would take, etc, but when CD-R hit it was a major disaster to the industry)... DVDs are only making thins get worse (in a DVD people will be able to copy 10 (or whatever) regular CD games, or hundreds if compressed/cracked).
Yeah, if the price of getting the original game with MANUALS (this is the big difference.. its much better having manuals and stuff along with the game.. I remember how many times I used that table that came with Red Alert saying what did you need to build certain structures, etc, and also that clothing map that came with Ultima Online.. I used it so many times in the beginning) is not much higher than the pirated copy that may not work on your comp and you dont have who to complain, and that comes no troubleshooting manuals, nor a manual with in-game tips, etc, most people would buy the original (I believe heh, you never know).
About payment.. Uhm, yah, thats a bit hard, as the customers would not only be students, mostly, but from many different countries. Shipping would be an issue, also, I believe.
Well, its not that easy to create the thing from the ground up, and creating web sites not my speciallity (sp?). I actually suck in it, heh. But Id like to hear from people about this. It would be good to have something like that available to people who cant/weren''t able to ger their games to the big shop''s shelves. Id love to be able to release a game in a site like that, so it could actually reach the public, and not stay here sitting at my hard drive due to the impossibility (sp?) of getting my little game to big publishers.