Is it possible to make money?

Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby ZCCdark203 » 20 Dec 2009, 17:41

I am wondering if something like the Blender Open Project model (see: Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny, Yo Frankie! and Sintel) would work. This are projects produced by small teams and in a relatively small amount of time. And the results are incredible. Of course the teams behind these projects consist of professionals. Furthermore these projects are produced in a real studio, and not over the internet. And lets not forget that the Blender Institute backs up these projects both financially and organisationally. That means, that this model is probably not interesting for lone-wolves and unorganised teams. But it might be of interest to competent teams that know what they are doing. The hardest part will be the beginning, though, as its unlikely that people will sponsor a project created by unknown people.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby kiba » 21 Dec 2009, 07:45

ZCCdark203 {l Wrote}:I am wondering if something like the Blender Open Project model (see: Elephants Dream, Big Buck Bunny, Yo Frankie! and Sintel) would work. This are projects produced by small teams and in a relatively small amount of time. And the results are incredible. Of course the teams behind these projects consist of professionals. Furthermore these projects are produced in a real studio, and not over the internet. And lets not forget that the Blender Institute backs up these projects both financially and organisationally. That means, that this model is probably not interesting for lone-wolves and unorganised teams. But it might be of interest to competent teams that know what they are doing. The hardest part will be the beginning, though, as its unlikely that people will sponsor a project created by unknown people.


Lone wolves like me keep records of their contract and try to make clear my obligation, for "legal safety" reasons. For my purpose, emails are sufficent. IANAL though.

Also, production over the internet is no more less professional than production in a studio. There might be some advantage in renting an office to put all the programmers together rather than doing business purely online.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby ZCCdark203 » 21 Dec 2009, 11:16

kiba {l Wrote}:Lone wolves like me keep records of their contract and try to make clear my obligation, for "legal safety" reasons. For my purpose, emails are sufficent. IANAL though.

Myself I was looking more into the probability that someone would sponsor one person.

kiba {l Wrote}:Also, production over the internet is no more less professional than production in a studio. There might be some advantage in renting an office to put all the programmers together rather than doing business purely online.

Professional production over the internet is indeed possible, but it's a bit harder. That, of course, depends greatly upon other factors such as the location of team members. Again: it isn't impossible, but it does require additional organisational work.

Personally, I prefer projects where I have the opportunity to actually work and talk with most/all team members in real-life. And with regular meetings you can easily get a good image of where the project is and where it can go. Furthermore real-life meetings also add some extra pressure to everyone.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby kiba » 21 Dec 2009, 15:44

ZCCdark203 {l Wrote}:Personally, I prefer projects where I have the opportunity to actually work and talk with most/all team members in real-life. And with regular meetings you can easily get a good image of where the project is and where it can go. Furthermore real-life meetings also add some extra pressure to everyone.

It's quite speculative right now isn't it? There's no example of such a team in existence today or any almost any open source game entrepeneurs. We might as well be pink ponies.

What I am more interested in right now is how many people are trying and how they're doing trying to make money off open source game.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby ZCCdark203 » 21 Dec 2009, 15:54

kiba {l Wrote}:
ZCCdark203 {l Wrote}:Personally, I prefer projects where I have the opportunity to actually work and talk with most/all team members in real-life. And with regular meetings you can easily get a good image of where the project is and where it can go. Furthermore real-life meetings also add some extra pressure to everyone.

It's quite speculative right now isn't it? There's no example of such a team in existence today or any almost any open source game entrepeneurs. We might as well be pink ponies.

I have written that comment with a more general context in mind: project management (in general). I probably should have said that I was looking beyond the topic at hand. My apologies. ;)

kiba {l Wrote}:What I am more interested in right now is how many people are trying and how they're doing trying to make money off open source game.

I agree.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby LeChuck » 12 Jan 2010, 03:17

What do you think about the chances for getting money by distributing binaries, but keeping the sources open?
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby Sindwiller » 12 Jan 2010, 19:16

LeChuck {l Wrote}:What do you think about the chances for getting money by distributing binaries, but keeping the sources open?


That's pretty contra-productive in my opinion. As an example, does anybody actually pay the shareware fee for the "official" Windows port of Xchat? I don't think so. Most people download "inofficial" builds from silverex.org and other places.

I still think that merchandise, shipping the game on a physical medium for a small fee and paid MMO-like server services are the only possible ways to make some money, beside donations... however, if it suceeds is dependent on the project's size and popularity.

Btw, welcome back Chuck :)
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby Modplan Man » 23 May 2010, 12:06

Hi guys. I've been thinking about this myself recently, and written on the subject over at the Ubuntu forums involving various ideas for FOSS games to become commercial, including discussion with someone working on a commercial FOSS game.

Here's the thread: http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1442535

Would love to see/hear your input. If you want I can create the thread here too if that'd be better/easier.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 23 May 2010, 18:42

This bump reminds me:

http://sleepisdeath.net/ is a public domain game, which you have to pay for (to get a copy from the developer)
On the main page there is no indication of that status.

PS: Including source, not just the binary
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby kiba » 28 May 2010, 13:50

The sales figure for Sleep is Death is something worth around 43,000 dollars for 4000 copies. So yes, it is indeed possible to make a living writing games, and do it public domain at the same time. Right now Sleep is Death is "pay what you want". The author notes that he made even more money using the "pay what you want" business model. (A thousand additional download or so I heard)


On a personal note, I was able to get a new game project that will pay me 150 dollars, a 272.72% improvement over the last price, 55 dollars.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 28 May 2010, 14:46

kiba {l Wrote}:The sales figure for Sleep is Death is something worth around 43,000 dollars for 4000 copies.

sources of information?
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby kiba » 28 May 2010, 17:44

Check the libregamewiki entry for Sleep is Death.

Here, you find all the sources that I got my information from.

(I also got some idea of what project Rohrer is working on next, but I have not added information about that yet)
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 28 May 2010, 19:10

@kiba please learn to use links
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby gordebak » 29 Jan 2011, 13:07

I've found KickStarter interesting. Some indie games are already funded. It may be a good way to make a little money. But project creation is for US citizens only, unfortunately.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 07 Feb 2011, 10:44

http://www.8bitfunding.com/ is a game-specific project kick starter
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby oberhamsi » 11 Feb 2011, 15:57

Sindwiller {l Wrote}:
LeChuck {l Wrote}:What do you think about the chances for getting money by distributing binaries, but keeping the sources open?


That's pretty contra-productive in my opinion. As an example, does anybody actually pay the shareware fee for the "official" Windows port of Xchat? I don't think so. Most people download "inofficial" builds from silverex.org and other places.


I think it depends on the platform. If you sell iOS / XBOX / etc. games then downloading unofficial builds is a lot harder and I doubt a lot of people do it.

You could even have a desktop version, which is free, and only charger for the mobile versions or smth like that.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby charlie » 11 Feb 2011, 16:47

kiba {l Wrote}:Oh, I put too much meaning into [the term slave labour], then. Even so, I still found the term to be a sort of doublespeak.


I was at a meeting today where the subject diverged on to how Americans have no sense of humour, how sarcasm is lost on them and how everything is taken literally. I know it's a generalisation, but thanks for proving the point Kiba.

:D

On another note, yes, it's possible to make money.

1. Put ads on the websites, get maybe $1 for every 3000 views. It isn't much but, over time, it will add up - especially when you have multiple active/playable projects over several years and forums supporting them (I bet some forums get 10k views or more a day). You can also add other monetizing links like an Amazon widget which can also help make a bit of extra cash.

2. Collect community donations - flattr/paypal, youtipit/bitcoin, etc.

3. If you find you are getting a bit of a community, you can sell merchandise - there's plenty of places that do that fee-free these days.

4. When you find you have made a good-enough project, you can port it to a proprietary market place - think iPhone, Android, Steam, XBox+PS etc - and sell the game there. You can keep the changes required to compile on those platforms to yourself (since you own copyright on the original project) to prevent copycats.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby TheAncientGoat » 11 Feb 2011, 16:57

You still have to make that article you know ;)
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 02 Mar 2011, 23:23

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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby qubodup » 30 Jun 2011, 18:55

yet another crowdfunding thing: http://www.rockethub.com/
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby FreakNigh » 30 Jun 2011, 20:43

Well here is my model and experience.

First you have to have an addicting game. It will probably take a very long time to get your game to this level and you will have to listen and take very good care of your initial players. Second you must have a game that you can force them to pay, period. No one will ever pay if they can get around it. For FOSS this pretty much means a central server dependency of some sort. If you are running the best server of your game and you have all the sources and compiles set to initially point at your server then that is where the average player will play. Also people don't want to play on shoddy free servers, they will pay to play on a stable and fairly admined server.

Also the free to play / freemium model is a gold mine. So much that any other model is a waste of your time. Design and make your game fit into this model. You want to charge $5 or whatever per person only once? The real issue is that everyone has different amounts of money and have different levels of respect for it. There are kids and adults out there with retarded amounts of money who would spend literally hundreds if not more on your game if you just give them something to buy. You are stupid if you don't provide those rich people with something to spend their money on because they will be the ones who pay your bills.

This is my model... The game is demoable on the server until you pay a very tiny fee to "activate". This "opens their wallets" and gets them comfortable with paying for the game. Afterwards, charge for upgrades in the game that could otherwise be obtained normally. Particularly competitive type upgrades that can be lost to other players, this way you can mix in human nature. They aren't paying for an axe anymore, they're rebuying what the dickhead just made them lose and now ten times better and they're going to go kick their ass and to hell if they had to buy it with real cash, they had more then they knew what to do with anyways. Then if you want to be invisible government like, design your game so it is a competitive oriented game where there are rewards for destroying each other :twisted: .

And if it does happen that someone takes up the code and competes with you, then close source it at least for awhile. No one can ever mod your game better then you so really they are just doing you a favor and giving you a chance to see what mods people like so you can quickly make a better version of it. Also if it is GPL they should be giving you the source too. (nobody will compete with you commercially with your own code if it is GPL)
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby FreakNigh » 30 Jun 2011, 20:51

And some other things I know about making money with free games...

Dwarf Fortress is an example of a game that the makers actually live off of just donations.

I once had a "lottery" system where every week I'd donate whatever was made with the advertisement cash to people in the game with in game credit. So the poor folk clicked the hell out of the ads and with only a few people it actually made respectable money ($100 / week / 5 people?). However google said I was cheating and never paid.

I've thought of an idea of making it so people can vote with money on what updates they want next...

However honestly make a game for your resume then get a job. Try to make money but don't count on it, these days that is like trying to be a movie star.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby Julius » 30 Jun 2011, 21:02

FreakNigh {l Wrote}:No one will ever pay if they can get around it.


Not to comment on the rest of your explanation, but this is simply not true (and reveals a pretty bad image you have of human beings).

Quite a lot of research has been put into this, and plenty of real life experiences with "pay what you want/ or what you think it is worth etc" have shown that if you have a decent product and are able to make people identify with it and you as the creator then voluntary payments can be quite significant.

The problem is that in the internet there is a barrier of trust (e.g. you can't be there in person), a barrier for payment (not everyone has or is willing to use a credit-card/paypal etc) and last but not least "getting it for free" elsewhere might be even more convenient and quicker.

I think the key to solving this is creating a community to build trust and a sense of "knowing" the creators... and hopefully more easy ways of payments will become popular.
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby charlie » 30 Jun 2011, 21:48

A good example of "pay what you want" model working is the humble indie bundles, that have raised several million (euros/dollars/pounds).
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Re: Is it possible to make money?

Postby FreakNigh » 01 Jul 2011, 07:47

Yes of course people will pay even if they don't have to. I'm talking about getting enough money to pay your bills though. Statistically speaking your not achieving that without a way to force to pay.

I've thought about a pay what you want approach because normally (imo) it's more about getting them to pay at all vs how much. If you can just get them to go through the process of pulling out their credit card then possibly enough people will pay something worth while. Was also thinking about releasing every source / exe bundle with a zipped password that anyone could buy. Kind of a ransom / pay what you want. I'd also make it so you logged onto a site to get it so in the backend I could change the pass if I needed but the people who bought could still log in and just get it again. I dunno there are a lot of ways you can force them to pay if you are willing to withhold the whole thing from them or at least in part.

I've been making games since 2002 and I can say when you made games back then you could easily get a lot of people interested. Now it's a hell of a lot harder. I'm convinced the world just doesn't want any new games, at least not a supply / demand level where hobbyists can realistically make the money to pay for their time to build it. However it's still a great challenge and probably the best way to learn how to program. I've read a ton of game developer interviews and there is always one thing in common - sacrifice.
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