Monetizing copyleft projects

Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby devnewton » 18 Mar 2013, 16:21

{l Code}: {l Select All Code}
Well, the fact is that it's almost impossible to monetise anything copyleft


Why? Just sold it. From players point of view, I see no difference between a proprietary game without DRM and a libre game.
devnewton
 
Posts: 78
Joined: 25 Sep 2012, 13:21

Re: Übergame

Postby Duion » 18 Mar 2013, 17:14

I think we need to totally rethink the way of monetising, a mindshift would be great concerning the worth of things with copyleft. For commercial things you pay a lot of money and get almost no rights, so you buy it, but it still does not belong to you, since you have no rights with it, for copyleft things you pay nothing, but get all the rights, so things are twisted here.
Duion
 
Posts: 252
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Re: Übergame

Postby Egberto » 18 Mar 2013, 18:00

Duion {l Wrote}:For commercial things you pay a lot of money and get almost no rights, so you buy it, but it still does not belong to you, since you have no rights with it, for copyleft things you pay nothing, but get all the rights, so things are twisted here.


That's interesting...

I was thinking recently how one person or small studio could survive making video games that are free software.

Talking about only video games, seems that the approach of liberating the source code and restricting content is one of the most used (like games that participate in the "indie bundles").

I wonder if people has been successful commercializing free software video games (specially video games, no other kinds of applications).

PS: I'm not sure but remember some article or commentary about that RMS was OK with the restriction of content, so ...
User avatar
Egberto
 
Posts: 26
Joined: 27 Jul 2012, 15:20
Location: México

Re: Übergame

Postby charlie » 18 Mar 2013, 18:05

Of course, the worry [which is a hypothetical one, because it hasn't ever happened yet] is that you start making money with a game - because the game is good - and start to attract attention. Big Evil Brand X then comes along, some suit at some board meeting presents your game and says, "Hey we can make money without doing any development!" BEBX then rebrands and markets your game.

Now, this may or may not be likely, but it is the fear any indie developer will have when it comes to going open source. Of course, it could be looked at in a different light (there's no such thing as bad publicity) in that eventually BEBX will be villified for this tactic whilst the original developer benefits from the extra mindshare it generates.
Free Gamer - it's the dogz
Vexi - web UI platform
User avatar
charlie
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2132
Joined: 02 Dec 2009, 11:56
Location: Manchester, UK

Re: Übergame

Postby Evropi » 18 Mar 2013, 18:55

charlie {l Wrote}:Of course, the worry [which is a hypothetical one, because it hasn't ever happened yet] is that you start making money with a game - because the game is good - and start to attract attention. Big Evil Brand X then comes along, some suit at some board meeting presents your game and says, "Hey we can make money without doing any development!" BEBX then rebrands and markets your game.

Now, this may or may not be likely, but it is the fear any indie developer will have when it comes to going open source. Of course, it could be looked at in a different light (there's no such thing as bad publicity) in that eventually BEBX will be villified for this tactic whilst the original developer benefits from the extra mindshare it generates.

Umm no, it's far more likely it's technically people who want say their friends to play the game, but their friends don't want to pay so the technical people will release it for free. An example is Silverex. XChat 2 was too hard to maintain for Windows so the guy applied some proprietary patches to it and sold it. Silverex took the source code a while later as they liked the client and released a version for Windows for free. I don't know of a single person who paid for XChat, they all just used the Silverex version (both have now been succeeded by the community-developed HexChat, which is fully free - XChat just wasn't turning a profit!). I can guarantee you this would have happened anyway. As long as they have the source code and can share builds freely, they will give away your product at zero cost. And you can do nothing about it.

But I don't think BEBX would do that, because they are probably smart enough to foresee people making a free version too. And many lawsuits if they decide to close the source code.

Open source works great for the server market where your customers know what they're doing and really need support and stuff. It's great for SaaS too, as hosted instances are just more convenient to work with and set up. But for monetising compiled or in some way downloaded desktop software... you can forget it. A rare exception is the Google Play Store. Android development is a black box to many people and compiling code for your phone or whatever doesn't have lots of documentation for it. Or at least, I don't have a clue about how it works, while all programs for the desktop (Linux/Mac/Windows) generally have thorough compilation instructions and all that. So in consequence there are some open source applications that are sold for money in the Play Store. Still, as I said, the more of a 'black box' development is, the more likely people are to be dissuaded to simply download the source and build your program for nothing.

The only place where it really can work for the end-user market (as opposed to technical) is games, actually. You can keep the art proprietary and open the source code. I can't see many people donating free time to a for-profit product (we'll have to ask qubodup about how it turned out for him), but it's the only feasible option if you don't want someone to just make a free version.

The above out of the way, if you intended to make a freeware game anyway (like the 0 A.D. people, and most modders in general), you have nothing at all to lose by making it open source - in fact, you only stand to gain!
You just wasted 3 seconds of your life reading this.
User avatar
Evropi
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 02 Sep 2012, 16:18

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Duion » 18 Mar 2013, 19:44

charlie {l Wrote}:Of course, the worry [which is a hypothetical one, because it hasn't ever happened yet] is that you start making money with a game - because the game is good - and start to attract attention. Big Evil Brand X then comes along, some suit at some board meeting presents your game and says, "Hey we can make money without doing any development!" BEBX then rebrands and markets your game.

Now, this may or may not be likely, but it is the fear any indie developer will have when it comes to going open source. Of course, it could be looked at in a different light (there's no such thing as bad publicity) in that eventually BEBX will be villified for this tactic whilst the original developer benefits from the extra mindshare it generates.


This was what I meant by ripping it off. Almost anytime the big companys have more infrastructure of experts and marketing, but they lack of creativity and talent, so their business consists mostly of building their infrastructure, do no development in the first, but wait for something good to come out by others, when they think it is good enough they can just take it and sell it and because their infrastructure and marketing is better, no one will realize, that they did not invent anything they sell.
This happend to counter-strike for example, it started out as a free mod for half-life and was user developed content, now valve sells it as their own.
Another example is infiniminer, it was an open source game, but they somehow discontinued it, maybe of the lack of developemend infrastructure and marketing and others picked up this concept and now it's called minecraft and one of the most successfull games today.

So this is why I had the idea to use a license like CC-BY-NC-SA that restricts use for commercial, even if it is not nice, but this will force companys to offer you profit sharing if they want to use it, but at the same time it is free to use, modify and redistribute.
Duion
 
Posts: 252
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Evropi » 18 Mar 2013, 20:08

Duion {l Wrote}:This happend to counter-strike for example, it started out as a free mod for half-life and was user developed content, now valve sells it as their own.
Another example is infiniminer, it was an open source game, but they somehow discontinued it, maybe of the lack of developemend infrastructure and marketing and others picked up this concept and now it's called minecraft and one of the most successfull games today.

Actually, you are false on both counts. The Counter-Strike team was hired by Valve and Valve purchased the copyright for the Counter-Strike brand and assets too. It wasn't open source. Another example is Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Again, id Software approached the creators of Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory and offered to publish a new Enemy Territory game for them. The modding scene is often a gateway to a company, as you get lots of experience with a given game engine such as the UDK by creating a successful mod.

Infiniminer was open source, but the Minecraft code was always completely distinct. Not to mention that the gameplay of the two was way different (I have played both). Infiniminer was meant to be a competitive 'racing' game of sorts where you had to go down and dig for precious metals, but Persson ('Notch') noticed that most people instead built stuff for fun and so he expanded upon the concept - changing focus completely in the process. However, he did things differently. His goal from the start was to make it into more of an action-adventure game, which is what became 'survival mode', but with building elements. Another inspiration was Dwarf Fortress. You can't copyright concepts anyway, and patenting concepts is really hard and probably a waste of your money.
Besides that, voxels have existed as a concept in computer graphics since at least the 90s, and most famously used in the Build Engine (Duke Nukem). Ken Silverman spent the better part of the next decade advancing voxels in computer games and writing various proofs of concept and so on.

I honestly don't think most people have anything to worry about if they don't plan on selling their game. Seriously you guys. Sure, I'm generally a proponent of permissive licenses over the GPL as I like to see what I contributed to the public being as widely used as possible. But either way, not only is this extremely unlikely to happen, but perceptions of things happening are false. I'm sure the Infiniminer feels happy that his ideas are being spread, even though he originally never intended to be anything like Minecraft.
You just wasted 3 seconds of your life reading this.
User avatar
Evropi
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 02 Sep 2012, 16:18

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Julius » 18 Mar 2013, 20:33

@ Evropi: I don't quite agree (although much of what you said made sense individually).
If you are the developer and go the Minecraft way for example (also see the current blogpost about The Castle Doctrine, which seems to be an all public domain commercial game), e.g. provide continuous and convenient updates and a nice server for people to play on you will get a lot of people to pay for your game as long as is costs less then say 10-20$. Sure there will be freeloaders also, but you will have a loyal customer base that can't be bothered to waste time with "not quite as good versions & servers" just to save a few bucks.

I guess a lot can be learned from F2P games here also... as much as I dislike that way of monetizing a game... statistics from it show that the majority of the income of these games comes from a rather small minority of the players that are loyal to the game and it's creators. So as long as you can convince those few that giving you some cash for your FOSS game is the right (and most convenient) way to do it, you can have a quite profitable game I would bet ;)

@Duion: What makes you think any form of NC protection will prevent cloning of a game type by a large company? They can just pay a team of 100 people to sit down and make a clone from scratch with a different name and market it like hell. And even if you go to court over the use of an game-play idea, chances that you will win are rather minuscule and the fines could be payed by the profits of said big player probably easily..
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Duion » 18 Mar 2013, 20:49

So what would be the alternative? Go the other way around and make it public domain as hell, to inflationate the whole industry, so nobody can make money anymore?

And about "free to play/pay to win", first I liked the concept, but later I realized that this is even much worse than the old way. In the past you paid a fixed price and then you had peace and infinite support by the developer. Now you pay nothing, but after some time you realize the game becomes unplayable, if you do not pay, because they developer will let you play but will annoy you all the time until you pay to make them quit and lift the restrictions and/or commercials. At the same time all the balance gets destroyed, because people become better by paying more. Even fixed price games mutate to this kind, first you pay 50 bucks, then you have to make an account on the developers systems, they keep track of you bombard you with commcercials, maybe a price for playing each month or virtual items for real money. Thats a thing I surely do not want, because it is all a lie, there is no such thing as "free" everything has its costs.
Duion
 
Posts: 252
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Julius » 18 Mar 2013, 21:28

As you have correctly ranted about, F2P is a way of inflationate the industry so that no-one can make money traditionally anymore :p I dislike F2P as much as you seem to do, but that is the way the games industry is currently heading for the most part (Btw: interestingly the TV industry that got there before, now came back to payTV and DVD sales of series which is quite similar to the traditional sale of games).

Making a game FOSS is actually a way to break that loop though. The idea is basically to make a sufficient number of players *want* to pay you even if they strictly speaking don't have to (which is similar to the piracy argument). Think of it a bit like Kickstarter... people actually want to pay those developers to make the game.
Edit: well to make players want to pay you, the game doesn't have to be open-source, but it greatly helps with a quite significant number of people and can be a great marketing argument.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” - Philip K. Dick
User avatar
Julius
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 2913
Joined: 06 Dec 2009, 14:02

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Duion » 18 Mar 2013, 21:48

My intention was a little bit different, I thought if restrictive license do not really help you, then go the other way around and make as much public domain as possible, so people may want to chose the free content and the others cannot make that much money anymore, but you also not, as a form of protest, against what is going on.
Duion
 
Posts: 252
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby quintux_v » 19 Mar 2013, 02:41

...and then there's the whole Nexuiz/Xonotic thing that happened.
[eX] member
aliases: quintux_v | blakthunder
User avatar
quintux_v
 
Posts: 187
Joined: 24 May 2012, 00:14

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Evropi » 19 Mar 2013, 02:46

quintux_v {l Wrote}:...and then there's the whole Nexuiz/Xonotic thing that happened.

Again, that was not a rip-off. The creator and rightsholder of Nexuiz sold the property to Illfonic. It was perfectly within his rights to do so. So this is not what Duion is concerned about. However, the community lost out big time on this. It's great that it was open source and continued to be a kickass arena shooter, now in the form of Xonotic. This could not have happened otherwise. But consider most MMORPGs: they die after a few months or a couple of years; the game is lost forever. Open source can prevent this, and in an increasingly service-based world, it is important that our older software can continue to function after the vendor drops support.
You just wasted 3 seconds of your life reading this.
User avatar
Evropi
 
Posts: 385
Joined: 02 Sep 2012, 16:18

Re: Monetizing copyleft projects

Postby Duion » 19 Mar 2013, 03:04

This is the way business works, buy some work others have done and try to sell it for more money, it is like gambling. The disadvantage is, to achieve a higher price you have to keep it back and most will more likely keep it back forever than open sourcing it. So everyone has to start from the very beginning again, if he wants to create something similar.
Duion
 
Posts: 252
Joined: 16 Mar 2013, 20:33
Location: Germany

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest