Paying for RPG Maker games

Prescott

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So I want to know, how much would you pay for an RPG Maker game, and what would it have to contain for you to consider purchasing it? What would help to kind of "persuade" (for lack of a better word) you to buy the game? Demos that show it off? A huge list of features? Specific features? Completely custom graphics?

I think, for me, the most I would pay for an RPG Maker game would be $30. I would either need to see a demo or know that developers history (such as Kan Gao and To The Moon, having played The Mirror Lied). Other things don't matter as much, but a custom soundtrack and some custom graphics would really sell a game for me.

Content is a huge thing too. I don't want to pay $30 for a 5 hour RPG, you know?

anyway, what about you guys?
 

Shaz

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I've moved this thread to Commercial Discussion. Please be sure to post your threads in the correct forum next time. Thank you.
 

Milennin

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I don't know, I never bought a game made in RPG Maker. For me, the non-commercial projects are much more interesting. You get things that the developer wanted to make using his free time to tell his own story and show their world to others, and aren't bound to things like making the game appealing to a certain audience in order to make money. I like that part of RPG Maker because I'm also part of it myself.
 

Prescott

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Sorry Shaz, I was debating myself on which one to put it xD

Milennin, you do make a good point. There are tons of free games out there made with RM that really stand out as being amazing (The Mirror Lied, Rust and Blood, Pom Gets WiFi, Quintessence, One Night, Starless Umbra, to name a few). But most of those were released when selling them wasn't too much of a feasible option. Now it is easier than ever to sell your games, with Steam and app stores, and developers, in a lot of cases, want to be paid for their work. There is something about being compensated for your thousands of hours spent creating a project that feels really good.

I'm curious, would you consider donating to a game's developer if you really liked it, and they had that option?

If I were to sell a game, I would definitely make sure it had a pretty decent demo up first and I would get some feedback on that, then go from there on pricing and platforms. Would including the soundtrack make it worth paying for? Or extra things such as concept art? Or is that more of a "deluxe edition" scenario in your eyes? I totally understand the struggle with wanting to appeal to a certain group of people to actually get sales on your game (I think it's total bull **** and causes the game to lose its original direction). My team and I have been talking about keeping the balance between appealing to people as well as creating what we think will be good for the game. It generally leans a lot more in favor of the latter.
 

Milennin

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Since this thread was in General Discussion when I posted in it, I thought it was more about a general opinion on paying for RPG Maker games, but I see now this was meant to ask for help with your own commercial game.

I don't donate easily to a game, but if I think it was really good, then yes, I would (and have done so a few times). Usually if a game managed to entertain me for a long time or if it somehow made a impact through story telling or with great characters or just has excellent game design. I'm more likely to donate if I feel the game was the game the developer wanted to make, rather than just make it appealing to an audience and that they enjoyed working on it (as in being a work of love).

I also don't think I would mind paying for an RPG Maker game if it was unique and didn't really feel like an RPG Maker game any longer. Just needs enough custom systems and assets for it to be unique and have its own identity. If it's too similar to the standard RPG Maker systems, I feel like I'd be better off playing a free RPG Maker game. It's probably easier to pull off with something like a visual novel kind of game, but you'd need great art for that to work.

No need to advertise it as an RPG Maker game either. In fact, I think I'd find it distracting if I knew if it was made in RPG Maker, because I'd constantly be thinking about how they made this and that, lol. But that's just a personal thing. :D
 

Kes

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As far as including the sound track - as the audio folder could not be encrypted (not sure about MV, I haven't looked yet) people got the sound track anyway.  They could just open up that folder and listen/copy/whatever to their heart's content.

I wouldn't be too quick to assume that it is 'easy' to sell these days.  The market - even a niche market like RM games - is very full, some would even say it is close to saturation point.  Therefore if you, as an unknown developer, want to sell, you will need to make your game stand out from an increasingly large crowd.  You will need to differentiate your game from all the others.  How you choose to do that is up to you, but the most obvious will be in things like graphics, music, systems.  
 

Accendor

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I don't know, I never bought a game made in RPG Maker. For me, the non-commercial projects are much more interesting. You get things that the developer wanted to make using his free time to tell his own story and show their world to others, and aren't bound to things like making the game appealing to a certain audience in order to make money. I like that part of RPG Maker because I'm also part of it myself.
Interesting point. Perhaps I'm in a bit of strange situation here since I am aiming to go commercial with my next game, which means that I have to acquiere all rights for graphics, audio, scripts... etc. I will most certainly not be able to make a living out of this and I am developing the game in my free time next to all other responsibilities I've got. I will still implement everything the way I want it to be without bending myself of the game for the potential audience. It is ok if I fail and the players do not like my game, but I want to stay true to my vision.

I consider the whole project as a hobby of mine and therefore I know that sometimes I will have to invest money in it. If the final result is good enough to sell it and get a bit back of that - nice :)

Regarding money I am willing to spend to buy a game: It really depends on the game. What it really ould need are it's own graphic. I really dislike the chibi style of the last rpg makers and therefore would not buy a game if it was developed with it. Believe me, I know that graphic is not everything, but I just don't like the artstyle.

Also tbh the second most important thing is the story. That must be presented really well, then I am willing to pay even the price of a "normal" game (say ~$60)
 

tati light

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Your game probably will need to have something that differentiate from all others, otherwise it will be hard to get noticed.
 

Matseb2611

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I don't mind buying an RM game if it appeals to me with its concept, visuals, and everything else. I just see it as any other game. I do, however, rarely get games at full price. Even with triple A and high end indies I tend to wait till they're about £10-20 ($15-30) at most. So with RM games, I normally would prefer to spend closer to $10 or less, and it has to be clear to me that some effort was put into the game. All-RTP games are not necessarily a bad thing, but more often than not these games are made by total newbies and hence end up being below average games, so all RTP visuals is usually a big red flag for me.
 

SomaelCK

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The question is simply "How much would you pay for a game?". It's the same for all "indie" games.

Most users on Steam will not spend more than 15$, whether your game is made with RM or Unity, if your game is 2D. That's simply the "standard" mentality I've seen on Steam (Purely base on my personal experience). Even for high-end indie game with stunningly beautiful 3D graphic, putting 30$+ price tag will definitely make most people think twice before buying your game.

Simply put, majority of people won't spend more than 30$+ for an "Indie game" (regardless of the quality). They will consider it's a sacrilege if you put 20$+ price tag on a 2D game (regardless of the quality/contents/engine again).
 

Prescott

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I definitely wasn't thinking about going over the $10 price mark xD maybe if I was making it from total scratch, that would be something I would do. I was thinking more along the lines of $3-$5 xD

We will kind of be using the RTP in MV as a base, but do some heavy editing. For instance, I've already done several recolors and tweaks to the main characters to get their colors just right (the generator, while awesome, doesn't account for everything!) and that was fun xD

What do you all think about that? I know tons of people bought To The Moon and it mainly used the RTP and some edits. But then again, that's Kan Gao xD

Regarding the soundtrack thing, I know that there was an encryption system for RMXP that would encrypt your audio files, and save files. It was by Blizzard and it saved them as files only able to be interpreted by the script. Maybe there will one day be something like that for MV if it doesn't already do it.

There is also always the option of using lower quality audio files in your game, and then releasing the FLAC audio files. I know Kan did this in To The Moon. The files available in the game are not that great quality, but the soundtrack can be bought and downloaded as FLAC files.

The downside of that would of course be that players get less quality which isn't the greatest usually.

To remedy this in a different, solo project I'm slowly working on, I have made in game loops and then made extended versions to sell separately.

It's great to hear all of your opinions guys! It's a huge help. Thank you :)
 

Mouser

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Hmm... I waited till Skyrim Legendary came down to $20 before I bought it...   I may still buy The Witcher 3 at full price, but that would be as much to show game publishers that I support the DRM-free business model as much as for the game.

Asking more than $20 for a game in today's market is a bold move. That means you consider your game up there with top tier stuff, or are asking gamers to 'support' you for some reasons additional to strictly the game (see: my example above). I've bought some Nintendo DS stuff at around $25-30, so I suppose there is some middle ground between the $60 new releases and the $20 price point, but that's pretty scarce territory (even more so when compare to the <$10 playfield).

I don't think "RPG maker" is the deciding factor - it's simply the mass amount of choices available in the marketplace. Look at what other games are available, how long they take to play, how well done they are, and what they cost. Where does your game fit in relation to them?
 

SomaelCK

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What do you all think about that? I know tons of people bought To The Moon and it mainly used the RTP and some edits. But then again, that's Kan Gao xD
RMXP's RTP can do a lot wonder with just simple edits. They are just simply too good and clearly not milked by so many projects like VXA's ones. Beware of using MV's RTP tho, since MV is already popular and hundreds of other projects are already using MV's default RTP in their projects.

Regarding the soundtrack thing, I know that there was an encryption system for RMXP that would encrypt your audio files, and save files. It was by Blizzard and it saved them as files only able to be interpreted by the script.
Isn't Ocedic made the same encryption system for RMVXA game. It's very basic and easily breakable, but that will protect your audio files from average users.
 
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jwideman

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My feeling is that you should price it as LOW as you can, or at least launch with a huge discount, for a first game. That builds popularity for you as a brand, then future games can be priced higher.
 

Alexander Amnell

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   I buy a lot of rm games actually, but then I'm not willing to spend more than 30 dollars on any game these days to be honest (excluding the witcher 3, cd projekt red deserves my money and continues to add new free stuff weekly which is great). I also play a lot of free games though. Honestly I think (or hope at least) that the game price range bubble is about to pop, modern games these days can be well over 100 dollars if you want the full experience of the game as it was clearly intended to be experienced in development, with the ease of paid patches/dlc and I like the fact that indie games are out there for me to enjoy without having to shell out 100s of dollars apiece in order to get the 'full story'. 

   It isn't that I don't think some of these indie games are on par with or better than the stuff produced by AAA companies, more that most AAA titles are already overpriced at this point, they blow million dollar budgets on cinamatics and minute epidermal details unnoticed by the naked eye and blow even more money 'hyping' the game through media outlets because they know deep down that their games can't succeed on their own merits. Companies like Ubisoft and Ea mock our intelligence by repeating a cycle of lying to their customers faces, presenting a trash game wrapped in pretty graphics and promising to do better even though that promise rang hollow ten lies ago. As long as we keep getting hyped for a product we've never seen and buying it on faith regardless of the mountains of evidence that that faith has, is and will be misplaced then the market will continue to be cluttered with junk, to the chagrin of the serious developer who's revolutionary game falls by the wayside to the apathetic environment money-hungry gluttons with the funding to make their voices the loudest have made of the industry. 

   So yeah, I'm likely willing to pay more for a quality rm game than I would most big budget games at this point, because with a little research beforehand such games rarely disappoint on the level of DA:I, Assassins creed 100x10 (or whatever the latest game is actually called) and others that promise innovation while clinging to the same overused mechanics and stories nearly identical to that of a game they already sold me five nearly identical games ago.
 
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hishandmaiden

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For me, anything above US$10 is a no-no, unless the game is really good.
 

Chickenlump

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I would only spend over $5 for a RPGMaker game if it:

  • was very long, requiring 70 hours or so to complete
  • contains at least SOME new art/sprite resources
  • contains a few new concepts or RPG mechanics that are unique or not often used
  • has perfect or near perfect grammar

All default graphic assets would probably stop me from buying, I'd like to see something new. It wouldn't take much, maybe just new sprites or a new tileset or two I've never seen before. I'd even be OK if the graphics were modified default assets.

Under $5, I'm much more forgiving in some areas.

Typos, bad grammar or 'Engrish' will prevent me from downloading even a free game. I don't have perfect grammar, and I'm no grammar Nazi, but it's still important for a game to be written well to be enjoyable. One or two instances of typos or badly phrased sentences is enough to un-immerse me from the game's world and leave a bad taste in my mouth.

I'm very much looking forward to purchasing some good RPGs for my Android tablet through Google Play made with MV. It's too capable and versatile to accept games made with it that feel slapped together.

Max price for an RPGmaker game... I'd estimate (for me) $10 - $15. 
 

Chickenlump

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I am picky, but only when it comes to RPGs. 

It's my favorite genre, and almost all of the classics from my childhood were long games. 

I also don't fly through games just to finish them, I like to 100% them, take in the scenery, listen to the music, explore every nook and cranny.

70 hours to me might be 40 hours to another player.

I like RPGs because I can take my time, not have to rush through. It's an experience.

A handful of optional bosses/dungeons/quests would probably be enough. Multiple endings might be enough to induce another playthrough, or classes that I chose not to play as, but now wonder how they would have turned out. That sort of thing.
 

Mouser

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After reading some other posts, here's some more of my thoughts:

1) Grammar - I will not play a new game with bad grammar or spelling. OTOH, for full disclosure, I'm very happy that the DS 're-release' of Dragon Warrior (DQ) IV included all the original grammar mistakes. But that was a specific exception, invoking nostalgia glasses for a time long gone... I also pay attention to fonts and layout issues. I don't want to see dialog screens with one word 'orphans', as an example. Incidentally, this is where 'word-wrap' is a Bad Thing because it can lead to exactly that situation. Much better to stick with WYSIWYG and make sure the layout is pleasing to the eye.

2) Length - This is one I'm going to run up against in my own project but I like long RPG's. I won't be buying Beyond: Two Souls or other games of that ilk anytime soon. I would say I expect at least 20 hours for a "full" game. If a game is honest about its length, I'd consider shorter (especially in the <$5 market). I don't want to feel the game was chopped up to milk more cash (a la what BFG did to Syberia).

Combining this with the size limitations for mobile ports and I'm going to be using assets VERY carefully. In a way that's a real throwback to the 16 bit era games where every inn looked exactly the same, etc...  Big departure from my first Dammerung demo where I tried to vary the scenery as much as possible.

3) Assets - I'm not a stickler for 'original' since I haven't played that many 'RTP' games to begin with, but they have to look and sound good. Original but crappy isn't going to win you many customers. I'm a bit sensitive to audio, even in mods, and expect high quality sound. 'Artifacts' in sound loops and things like that are an instant buzz-kill for me.

4) This comes after the sale in many cases, but realize you have a very brief window to make your 'first impression'. Hit me with your best stuff right out of the gate - somehow show me what makes your game worth sticking around to finish. Draw me into the story, show me your 'unique' gameplay element, let me know what makes your game special. I've got a ton of games I never finished because they failed in this critical regard. Get me sucked in though, and I'll generally stick around to the end unless you seriously drop the ball along the way.
 

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