Cost to purchase evaluation - assessing your project's value (FEATURE COMPLETE)

Discussion in 'Commercial Games Discussion' started by BreakerZero, Oct 2, 2018.

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  1. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    I'm officially at the point in my project where I'm thinking ahead to "going paywall". That is to say, my vision has reached a point where an official cash value has to be determined.

    Now obviously I'm hesitant to put up the paywall while the fourth act is only two-thirds done (bordering on halftime) and with the second quest barely written up as well - and both are for some patently obvious reasons. But here's the collateral damage I have to date:
    • Six primary chapters (and as many more in the second quest)
    • Ten crewmates (including the hero/squad leader)
    • No fewer than two bonus recruits in the second quest
    Not including diversions like the game room and whatever else I may add, this could easily translate to at least 20-30 hours worth of content for the main quest alone (I've already clocked 11 hr 30 min). With this proposition, I'm now asking this: how do I value my vision as it now stands with the content plan I now have? (Not saying it has to be the full, industry-average $60 MSRP for a big AAA like Zelda, Halo or Call of Duty, much less the $20 average MSRP for indie development - just a standard, "don't knock it outta the park" figure to match what I have in addition to what's coming.)

    Additionally this extends to "value add" features (journal achievement systems being the most common) so any input on that aspect is also welcome at this time.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  2. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I think it depends on several factors honestly.

    1) How many other games have you made?

    2) What is the current market for indie games (forget AAA games, those buyers are not looking for indie games usually).

    3) Other factors like game length, etc.

    I'd say though if you have not made and released a game, you're going to have a hard time getting buyers at more than $14.99 or so, as you will have no reputation in the market, and many buyers seem leery of unknown devs with as flooded as Steam is these days. Only reason I'd even suggest $14.99 is you want to set it high enough that you still make something on the constant 50% and higher sales Steam is going to encourage you to have.

    However, you may wish to go to Aldorlea Games and price how much they charge for games of your length and decide from there. Just note that many of their games sell for less on Steam due to differences in the two markets.
     
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  3. BreakerZero

    BreakerZero Veteran Veteran

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    For one thing I was being a board-crosser which is why I quoted both sides for reference in terms of expectation. But I'd say the $15 minimum maximum is reasonable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
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  4. Shaz

    Shaz Veteran Veteran

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    I believe the $15 was being suggested as a maximum, not a minimum.
     
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  5. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    People will debating this stuff until the end of time. My game is only 5 hours long roughly, but it has 100% custom from the ground up art, music and sound effects. So far I have put over 600 hours into its development and I probably have at least another 200 hours left until its finished, not including play testing. So factoring in my hours (I work for $35h generally) my games development will have cost $28,000 before factoring in the costs of software, music and marketing. Im planning on selling my game at $4 (I wouldnt pay much more than that for most RPG Maker titles so I certainly wouldnt charge more than that) and I expect to sell maybe 1000 copies tops based on averages I am seeing from other RPG Maker titles. If you are expecting to make something and turn a real profit, especially on your first title, well, I wish you luck!
     
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  6. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Right, $15 at most. Though there is one RPGMaker game I've seen just released that does have a $29.99 price tag on Steam. Of course they got the usual "You expect $29.99 for an RPGMaker game?" in their discussions.

    Then again, I remember paying $29.99 for Aveyond back in the day, but I think if they tried to release that same game now and asked that price everyone would say they are insane.

    Edit: @VisitorsFromDreams is right too. I think you just need to decide how much you value the game, and then prepare to defend the decision no matter what price you pick. In fact, in this market, I think even if you sold the game for $0 and it included a coupon for a free steak with it, someone would complain about the fact that you didn't include a free lobster as well. Just pick a price that you value it at, keep in mind sales and that many buy games on sale these days (especially in the USA market), and go from there.
     
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  7. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    Serious? Links please, I gotta see this!
     
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  8. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Now I don't honestly know if they did use RPGMaker, but they have been accused of it in the discussions, and the developer didn't refute it.
     
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  9. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    If its not made with RPG Maker itself it certainly seems to be made with a lot of its assets at the very least...

    On a related note, why does every generic looking fantasy RPG Maker game feel the need to list the number of different enemies, the game length, having multiple endings and side quests as features in their trailers? I don't understand this trend. This trailer is especially bad for it. It also tells you the game has a captivating story, I have seen other RPG Maker game trailers do this too. If your stories captivating then make it a part of the trailer, why hide it behind a paywall, RPGs are narrative focused games, the story should be part of what makes me want to purchase it in the first place. I am so done with these cookie cutter trailers that play out like a checklist.

    On the topic of price, I can buy both Hollow Knight and Hyperlight Drifter which are infinitely more polished and impressive indie games combined for less than the price of this game. I have noticed a trend here of people comparing the price of their indie rpg maker games to those in the AAA industry when the more fair comparisons should be to other indie game titles.

    Good luck to these guys because jeez, they are going to need it.
     
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  10. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @VisitorsFromDreams : I agree with you. Those aren't really features. When I made my trailer for the Release Something event, I focused on the story. I'll post it in the spoiler if you wish to see it. I'll admit it needs some improvement, but that is what I came up with in 1 day for the event using scenes from my game.


    Though on another note, I'm so tempted to post an RPGMaker game on Steam for $59.99 just to see if anyone buys it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
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  11. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    I don't know much about the market of video games. But, I thought maybe my two cents may help anyway (or, they may not, feel free to discard my inane ramblings).

    Basic Economics teaches that "you charge what you can get away with". That means... you don't really charge what you think it's worth. You charge what the consumer thinks it is worth. That is to say, do you think you will honestly get $20 for it? $15? $5?

    From a consumer standpoint... I rarely buy a video game. Why? Because even if they're AAA games... they're all pretty "substandard". Or rather... not what I'm looking for in a game. I don't buy RPG Maker Titles for the same reason. Oh, I put them on my Wishlist and say to myself, "I'll buy this at some point, just to give it a chance" and then really don't buy it. Even though I use RPG Maker, I have no illusions about the amount of Drek that comes out of the program and is sold on Steam. If I know that, despite being a fan of the program, and wanting to produce my own games with it... it's a safe bet everyone else knows it as well.

    That being said...

    If it's your first game, I really wouldn't charge anything more than $5. I wouldn't expect to make a profit at all on it. Or have it sell well even at $1. You're an "unknown". Unless you've created the next "Last of Us" or "Portal" or whatever equally ground-breaking game you want... You're going to probably do little more than sell to random people who happen upon your game and go, "Eh, might be worth $5" and pick it up on a whim.

    Personally, I plan to give away my first game. All four "chapters" of it. Because, frankly, I know it won't sell, it'll largely be complete crap and need several revisions, reworks, bug smashes, and fixes that players will find... that I won't. My first game is going to be garbage. I know this. Despite all the "high concept" stuff I put into the game, I am under no illusion that it will be executed perfectly... much less "well". As such, I expect to use that first game that is free to... Build up a potential customer base. To build good will. I know that even if I charged money for it, I'd not make a profit on it at all. That's fine. My first game is to get my name out there. If my first game and its 4 chapters attain a minor fan following (I'd consider 100 people good enough), then I might consider charging $5 for the next game I make. Sort of a, "Hey, if you liked this game I did, you may like this one too! But, it costs $5, so you gotta pay a little for it!". I might do a dozen or so games at that $5 price tag. Build up a consumer-base. Maybe later games, I charge $10 for. I'll probably never get to a point where I feel comfortable charging anything more than $20 though. Not on RPG Maker. Maybe if I were working with Unity and doing a lot of programming and stuff and pushing graphics, the engine, gameplay, other stuff... I would. But, it's RPG Maker.

    But, I'm not a guy who plans to turn game design into a career. For me, it's a hobby. A hobby I engage in because I want to share my stories with people. Nothing more, nothing less. It's something I do in my off-hours. I'll get to some point where I probably turn it into a company and such, for tax reasons and such (since I'd have to declare any money I made as taxes, and they'd ask me for a business license once that happens, which means I should be a freakin' company before selling it, otherwise I might get nailed by the IRS for undeclared income...). But, as long as I charged zero for my games... No need to pay taxes on a company, or start one, or get a business license, or worry about paying taxes on Income...

    Yeah, without a decent promise of income, I plan on charging $0 for my games. If there's a point I think I can "break even" after all the nonsense of getting Legal with the Government... I'll charge money then.
     
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  12. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    I want to add one more though to this. I've noticed that I never buy games for more than $19.99 anymore. Why? My backlog is so huge that I see no point in buying a game at full price when by the time I'll get around to playing it the price will have slashed to under $19.99 anyways.

    And to give you an idea how bad my backlog is, I just played the remake of X-Com2 for the first time last summer, and I think that game is 2 years old now or so? And I still need to play Wasteland 2, Divinity Original Sin or Blackguards, all games I own and haven't played yet. I even got PS2 and PS1 games I still have yet to play. In fact, I still have yet to beat the original PC game Starflight as well, or Bards Tale 2 and 3 (all games I own now thanks to gog.com). Or any of the original Ultimas, the only one I ever beat was 6 to this date.

    So basically, I probably have enough games until I'm 65 to play already, and as a result I've stopped buying new games. I imagine there are others who feel the same and are no longer buying as well.
     
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  13. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    Ill keep this feedback generic so as to make it something that can be applicable to people across the board here.

    You picked a few nice dynamic shots for the trailer which is nice, but there it is super wordy and long. As a general rule try to keep trailers around 90 seconds maximum. If something cant be conveyed with gameplay footage alone then leave it out.

    I also know its hard to convey a lot of the stuff found in an RPG Maker games without relying on text because, well thats what the games mainly are. Rather then explaining the story of the game in the trailer like you have the trailer should be used to ask questions to pull people in to discover the story for themselves.

    Using your trailer as an example of how it could be trimmed right down in terms of wording, here is how it might look with the "fat" trimmed.

    A mysterious book...
    A new and unexplored world...
    A threat uninhibited by space and time...
    Only you can stand in its way.
    Title reveal.

    Leave the world building and the overall narrative to the game itself, use the trailer to pique peoples interests and to make them want to discover it for themselves.
     
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  14. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Heh, interesting as I've seen much longer trailers than mine. 3 - 4 minutes is pretty normal I've noticed for the games I looked at, though I might have been looking at extended trailers by mistake and not known it. But, that is a good point as well, I'll probably do a short version to get interest when I redo it for an official trailer with the game release, and keep the long version for those who want to see more...or put it in a lost videos file to show off first attempts for those who wish to see it (as I got plenty of those, you should see some of my 2015 game footage!).

    PS: Where were you when I posted that for the release something event? That info would have helped back then :)

    PPS: You should offer yourself out as a consultant for trailer feedback. I wonder if we have a forum section for that under classifieds?
     
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  15. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    So have I... usually made by people who aren't from a marketing background. AAA gameplay trailers and story trailers that are usually longer as well but they are also have much more dynamic media to keep it visually interesting and engaging. Theres a big difference between what you can show from the latest 3D blockbuster and what you can show from a top down text heavy RPG.

    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    [​IMG]
     
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  16. OnslaughtSupply

    OnslaughtSupply Ssshhh... Veteran

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    The Great Gaias is made by a member here, Pots Talos I think. I could be mistaken. Somebody should ask why so much.

    I have some odd wisdom I've learned throughout the years, if you're worried about making money or is this gonna sell, it probably ain't going to sell. That in mind, I plan on releasing things for free because I love doing it. If enough people want to play my games, I might start charging. I just don't ever want to make a game just to make some money, I want to make a game because I wanted to.
     
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  17. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @VisitorsFromDreams : Ah. See I used AAA games trailers for a baseline, as I know most indie trailers are bad.

    @OnslaughtSupply : I think a little fear of it not selling is natural though. What I'd suggest instead is don't make this your only job. Have a way to pay the bills already and put food on the table, and let this be side income. That way if it works out, great, and if it doesn't all you really lost was time and any $$$ you put into it. That's what I did with mine at least.

    One other thought is it is honestly better in my opinion to start out intending the game to be commercial. The reason I say that is you will hold yourself to a higher standard in the end (at least I did), and so will your players and testers. Plus, it is really easy to go from commercial to non-commercial later as everything that you can use for free commercially can also be used for free non-commercially. It was for this reason I stated my game was commercial when I started. Final decision...still pending, though I'll probably sell it for something still.
     
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  18. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    I don't think I could disagree more with that statement. There's tonnes of amazing indie game trailers out there. RPG Maker less so but there are still plenty of examples of fun engaging trailers out there that all feel pretty different from each other.









    As a very small selection.
     
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  19. bgillisp

    bgillisp Global Moderators Global Mod

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    Ok, I should phrase that as most that I see are bad. In fact, all 4 of those you posted are not games I play. Though you did bring up an interesting point, it might be worthwhile to have a thread where we can discuss trailers we thought are good and WHY we though they are good.

    For example, I personally hate it when a trailer regurgitates what I could just read in the description. Don't make me feel like I wasted x minutes of my life as the trailer told me or showed me nothing new that wasn't already in the description or quickly deduced from the screenshots.
     
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  20. VisitorsFromDreams

    VisitorsFromDreams Veteran Veteran

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    I might start a trailer thread this weekend where I will talk about game trailers of all kinds and what cant be learned from them and how it can be applied to the games made here, as well as feedback on trailers by folks here.
     
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