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## Exposure from free game vs. commercial game

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### #1toulhou  Members

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Posted 19 January 2014 - 03:44 PM

Here's something I would like to see stats or other info on. I have a game which will be coming out in the next year. It's a 2D, low-on-graphics, dialogue-heavy, story-heavy game (I'm a writer first and a programmer second). I have no existing user base and I can't afford much for advertising. If the game ever becomes remotely popular, I fully expect most copies played to be pirated versions.

So, my question is, is there a documentable increase in exposure that comes from releasing a game as freeware, compared to what you get when you charge $5 or$10 for it? I mainly mean initial exposure, I guess, although making a name for myself in this niche genre is arguably more important.

(Minor factors: I'll be doing screenshots and a demo, of course. And I'm hoping I'll be able to get it on Steam and such, regardless of price.)

### #2 Nathan2222_old   Members

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:46 PM

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### #3toulhou  Members

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Posted 24 January 2014 - 06:59 PM

True, but my question was whether releasing a game for free leads to a larger audience and greater exposure, whether via the media, word of mouth, or other means. Basically, is it worth it?

Edited by toulhou, 24 January 2014 - 07:00 PM.

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Posted 25 January 2014 - 01:10 AM

Not necessarily.  If people want to try your non-free game without paying for it they'll just pirate it, and with cracked copies of even smaller indie games being fairly readily available that's really not a whole lot more difficult that tracking down a free to play game.

If your game is of a scale where it surprises people that you've released it for free, or if you've already got a name for yourself then a free game might attract more attention than usual, but I think in general for most people there probably isn't really much of an advantage in either case.

If you're starting out as an unknown then you're an unknown either way, and you're going to need to work hard to get anyone to pay attention to your game.  If it's good you may generate word of mouth whether it's free or paid, and if it's bad you probably won't.

The above is however all based on reasoning and feeling rather than any statistical evidence though.