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Newton Ma
Business Geek learning the game design industry
Interests: computer games, card games, board games, business, research,
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The GAMBIT MIT event addressed this very issue last night. Where the Moderator from Owlchemy Labs, talked with Ichiro of Dejobaan Games, Eitan of Fire Hose Games, and Scott from the now closed MacGuffin Games. A very similar question was asked by one of the MIT students. She has an app/game, and wants to find the right revenue model and worries about giving it away for free but knows that can get a lot of notice. I think your point is absolutely correct from the point of view anyone with cash on hand. But anyone with the point of view of a bootstrapping start up will see it differently. Small companies pay very close attention to the money coming in because if they do not, they fail. The go back to work as a receptionist at an M&A company, or in America at the moment go back to unemployment. Eitan's advice was stay away from any apps store of any brand of mobile gaming. Because a startup can't wait for a fan that got something free to turn into a paying customer. On the other hand the moderator from Owlchemy labs broke in with a different answer to the same question. He suggested a free game, but with small in app purchases. Let a player love the game first, then allow them to pay for something if they want to. Another member of the audience who, I don't know and can't remember the name of, suggested making two versions of every app. One free with ad support, and one with a cost to the user but with no adds. Ultimately the answer is that the creator of said App/Game needs to pick a business strategy that works for them. But newcomers to game design generally aren't aware of those options. They look at chasing fans like going bankrupt. It seems like that may be a the source of some of the angst associated with the issue.
I'm going to be meta and comment about posting strategy, instead of the actual content. I keep trying to read this post... But there's an awful lot of great stuff here. This would make a good candidate for doing a 'directory post' which overviews each section (and links to them), and then make each section into a post of it's own. Bit's and pieces catch my eye each time I go through it. And it really is great stuff. I keep coming back to it to read more.
Toggle Commented Jun 28, 2011 on Investment [Engagement Hierarchy] at What Games Are
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Jun 1, 2011
At the last Boston Indies meeting Kwasi Mensah gave a presentation about Stem Stumpers. He talked about designing for a range of people from the color blind to the fully blind. During the presentation he was asked if he felt limited in designing the game. He looked blankly at the person asking the question for a moment and replied that the 'limitations' made the game. They were not 'constraints', but additional elements. Great post. Thanks! has a post up about an alternative method for making sure that everyone is making the same game.
Toggle Commented May 3, 2011 on Return of the GDD [Game Design] at What Games Are
I'm glad Scott commented on the next post, because my statements are a pale shadow of what he was really imparting. I think you both agree more then disagree... You just have a middleman mucking up the wording. ;)
Toggle Commented Apr 25, 2011 on Forget the Money [Heresy] at What Games Are
Scott Macmillian of made a similar point in his Pax East 2011 presentation: Death of an Indie Studio. On slide 65 you start to get into the part about the spectrum between art and business. Scott's point, which is parallel to this one, is that pure art doesn't make money. And pure business in computer games doesn't make art. But Zynga proves that pure business in computer games can make money. "Be somewhere in the middle between art and business".
Toggle Commented Apr 24, 2011 on Forget the Money [Heresy] at What Games Are
Ah! I see. The figure not only includes 'equipment' (which could be engines, modules, computers, servers, bandwidth, etc) costs but also salaries, whether they been 'donated' or actual. Hmmm... Makes me wonder about unaccounted for costs in production. Having Financial Accounting flashbacks. ;)
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Apr 5, 2011