I've just published the summary findings from the survey I asked our Kickstarter followers to answer - and thought I'd drop them here as well for GameDev's to see should they tread a similar path, it's worth a peek whether you're doing a space game or not, as it touched on revenue models as well.
Without further a do...
- most play a mix of Space Combat, FPS, RTS, Building & Development, RPG more or less in that order
- most rank exploring as the most important feature, resulting in the following priorities in order ;
- Combat / Building
- Piracy came out as "so-so"
- most would play on their own
- owning/running a fleet is "so-so", although trends towards desirable
- most would own and run a space station
- running a planet was clearly desirable, but not really sought after
- running a star system was desirable, but less important than planets
- PC Windows won outright as "the platform"
- no-one said they'd play on iOS devices!
- some would play Android devices.
- none of the proposed payment models sat well, monthly sub being the only one to achieve any interest - choices were Annual, Monthly or pay to play (ie. arcade hall style, GBP1 per game).
- none of the micro-transaction models sat well, with only decals/customisations purchases, "cash to credits" and buying DLC making any headway.
The revenue model findings were a big surprise - it goes against all the current thinking on F2P and micro-transaction models - I've got experience in these and they've proven to be immensely popular, although less so in the USA. It seems Americans prefer to own their games outright, which does back up the research we got at EA when doing FIFA Online. If any Americans are reading - would you say that's a fair statement? This isn't my 'opinion' so please don't be offended, it just seems to be the facts as they are seen.
But it reinforces a need to provide a fair and flexible model for Dominion - allowing people to buy into the game by their own preferred route.
We want it to be value for money, where the player controls what they spend and get what they pay for - however they choose to pay. The problem is balancing the costs vs gains for all payment methods so they are fair for all - this is going to be a tough nut to crack!
Although "Buying outright" (the traditional boxed copy/download approach) is great, it would mean a higher price point to get us the revenue (with luck) we'd need to continue producing on-going content, and that means delivering more product and competing with bigger/better budget studios... which we can't do.