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So after doing some thinking, and seeing how plenty of people are objective to copy protection.

I've decided to attack the problem from another angle.

for our next game, we may implement a system of purchasing that is akin to 'donation-ware' but a slight twist.

basically each product that a price range, for MW lets say this price range would currently be (for the download version)


The buyer can choose any dollar amount within those bounds, they get the same game as everyone else, but they get to choose their price (within limits).

everyone is urged to choose what they feel is a fair price.

since everyone has a different sense of 'value' this makes purchasing somthing somewhat easier, yet it still requires you pay.

this 'should' open us up to a larger market, increasing sales (which will hopefuly make up for the loss in potential price per unit)

we need to make sure however that everyone doesnt automatically choose the lowest.

though, even the concept of choice might work, for instance.


I higher, high-end makes the low end feel better, and yet it would only be 5 bucks shy of the current price.

I want to hear what you all think =)
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Awesome idea, this must be one of those paradigm things everyone is talking about.

People have very definite personal opinions about the value of things. Whenever I see a product the first thing I tend to do is evaluate its worth and then work from there. In the case of video games there's a very broad spectrum of customers, with myriad different backgrounds, wages, values, etc. So while a publisher can only market for the majority demographic, a large group of people won't agree with the games value.

On the other hand, your system requires quite a bit of honesty on the part of the consumer. If you chose it, you'll likely see an average worth below what you would put on the game. That said, you will probably get many more sales, and as long as sales at $10 cover publishing costs (and a bit), your sorted!

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So it's basically the same model as that guy who juggles at Ye Olde Renaissance Faire and insists that I drop a "faire price" into his jester-hat.

I despise "whatever you think is fair" pricing, and I would no more pay above the minimum necessary to procure your product than I would try to negotiate a higher price for a car.

You're a business, not a charity. Act like one.

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I'd be very interested to see how this works out in practicality. I tried the donationware thing with TKC and have, to date, collected a total of $35 US. Yes, that's right, $35, from two people. And that's after I ran a poll of the userbase that claimed that 43% of my several-thousand active users would donate.

Now, granted, TKC is a lot less "worthy" of payment than a game - but it gave me a nasty wake-up call about the donationware trend. Clearly, people aren't really as generous as they like to report on surveys; whether or not this is because they're lying bastards (cynical me says yes) or because they simply have no incentive to remember to donate (rational me says quite likely) is not certain, but it still doesn't fix things.

A variable-scale system might be effective, especially for something that post people are accustomed to the idea of paying for (games). However, I would tend to question whether or not enforcing the "donation" would work at all. I have a feeling that it would possibly backfire even harder than a flat-fee charge.

I've been kicking around the idea of releasing a freeware game, on a very small scale, and using it as a teaser. The idea would basically be "donate more money, and I'll release more game content." I have no idea if it would work, but it's about the only thing I can come up with that doesn't piss off legit users, and still encourages actual revenue generation. As far as being a business... I don't care. I really honestly couldn't be less interested in running or owning a business. I'm out to make games, and if I can pay the bills doing it, so much the better.

For the record, I'm an industry developer, and I &$*#ing HATE copy protection of all forms. Hate it with a passion. I actually run a custom internal build of X³ when I play it (which is very, very rarely, unfortunately) specifically so I don't have to deal with the copy protection scheme. I know the idea is that the scheme is there to make sure I still get paychecks, but the whole concept just disgusts me. In the end, the only people who are ever inconvenienced by copy protection is the upstanding users, and that's just not right.

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I'm not sure how well this will work in practice. Like johnhattan under that model I think I'd only pay the minimum price to get your game. Plus as a prospective buyer it does give the impression that you're wishing to be paid extra cash for no additional benefit. I'm all for supporting indie developers, but by buying their product rather than as a charity (unless we all switch to a totally socialist system of government, but that's a compelete different topic [grin]).

A tiered payment model could work though, but you'd have to offer something in exchange for the extra cash. For some games that could be an extra mission or two, or extra character classes, but that's probably not possible with an adventure game.
But maybe you could provide extra content for the deluxe version? Maybe the deluxe version has more detailed artwork, or an orchestral score, or comes with a free CD of the music?

Maybe you could sell individual chapters? Give the first one for free, then sell the rest for maybe $5 each, and offer a discount for buying them all at once? This would only work if your story was chapter based though.

Or you could sell premium service for the extra cash; with the gold medallion plus membership you give a guarantee that any problems will be fixed within a week, and you are allowed to offer suggestions for the next game?

Or you could just sell the deluxe edition that comes with a collectable figurine and T-shirt, like the big companies do? Or you could sell a bunch of mini-games based on the same theme with the deluxe version?

Maybe this has gone on a bit too long [smile]. It's just that I think you'll need to provide your customers an incentive for paying extra, even if it's something small.

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I gotta agree with John Hatten on this one. You are a business - act like one.

I suggest you find yourself a good microeconomics textbook for starters.

What you are suggesting is similar to the concept of "price discrimination" (which is a good idea that will achieve your intended goal), except your idea for implementation is totally flawed.

Some of Trapezoid's ideas, above, are better implementations of price discrimination. There are also other possible implementations, like rebates and sales.

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Like I told you when you were trying to price MW, $15-20 is my sweet spot for downloadable game purchases.

I'll go a bit higher under certain sitations:
1) If the game is from an indie developer/group that I've followed their progress. (Reading GDNet developer journals has sold me more than one game, and I can name four more on the spot that I will be buying when they're available.)
2) If the game appeals to both myself and my wife. (Professor Fizzwizzle had me scrambling for my credit card, and Egyptian Addiction will be purchased before the night is out.)
3) If it kicks major ass!

So, the point I'm trying to make is: Make a kick ass game, and just ask for a solid number between $15 and $25. :)

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I (and almost every other human on thew face of the planet) will pay as minimum as possible. Not a very good idea. Why are you so focused on this stuff rather than making your game?

As an indipendent developer, you WANT your game to get around. Indis don't make that much money that often and are often striving to get noticed and get their name out.

Chances are, the people who pirate your game wouldn't pay for it anyway, so it's either pirate it, or not play it at all because they aren't willing to put forth x amount of dollars for a game that isn't Quake 4 or something.

So, in this case, if it's pirated, at least it's getting around and you're getting known, which opens yourself up to a larger market in the long run.

Take the indi-music scene for example. They are "pro-napster" as it gets their songs out. They put time, sweat and effort into their music too, just like we put it into our games.

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Your last two ideas have been fairly bogus, Raymond. Stick to programming, and get someone else to do your business for you.

I would never ask a glass blower to choose my diamonds, nor would I ask a coder to run my business. If you are serious about turning EDI into a self-sustained business, you have to start following time-tested business models, as well as identify your target customer.

You don't necessarily need to hire someone, but at least get some sort of business consultant who is well versed in the indie market.

I won't give you my opinions on what you should do with your business as far as marketing and pricing goes, because they are just as worthless as yours, but I recommend you talk to someone who actually knows what they are talking about.

Even talking to successful indie teams would be a good idea.

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It's a nice idea, but I don't think it would work out well, for reasons already more than well enough covered by the others who have responded. A 'deluxe' version, add-on/expansion packs, exclusive customised features, etc. are probably more likely to encourage people to offer up some additional cash.

Oh, and the marketting & sales articles at Dexterity Software (here) are an excellent read that covers some of this stuff.

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If I were to buy a game that had a pricing system like that you would get the minimum amount allowed no matter how good the game was.


Because I refuse to pay more then I have to for anything, thats the whole point of shopping around and finding the best deals.

But then you'd still have my Minimum payment right? Well yeah maybe, but I don't think you would get $10 out of someone that was going to just download a pirated copy. My point in the other thread was that if someone can easily download your game and there is no reason to buy a legit copy (serial key to play online) then why would they go to the store and pay for a game they already have?

I think the best way to get around piracy is to make a feature in your game where you use the internet, ie. multiplayer or a static world or something. If that part of your game is a big seller then people will buy your game to create an account for that part of the game.

I know counter-strike got me like that, I was playing with my brothers copy but if we both wanted to play online at the same time we needed 2 keys so I went and spent the money to get a key.

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