Paying for RPG Maker games

Sharm

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@metronome: You know, if things were like your story people wouldn't have a problem with the underpricing thing, but here's what's really happening.  A and B are getting lots of business by charging $50.  A lives in a place where they're just barely managing to get by with what they charge and wishes they could charge more so they could actually be paid like the highly skilled professional they are.  C, D and E, fresh out of art school and feeling uncertain about their abilities comes along and charges $30 for the same jobs.  None of them can make a living off of only charging $30 either, not even close, but since they're new they're doing this in their free time they can do it.  With the addition of these new artists, there are now more artists than there are jobs.  Since C D and E's prices are so drastically lower, they get all the work.  B lowers their prices to keep in competition and is now living like pauper.  A had to quit art and go back to being an accountant.  The clients are now used to paying $30.  C gets overwhelmed with the expectations and treats clients irresponsibly for the rest of their career.  D tries to raise their prices now that they've got some experience and can't, so they also quit art.  E burns out and decides they hate art and goes back to school.  But now there are new artists fresh out of art school to take their place so the clients go to them instead, only this fresh new group sees that $30 is the standard and decide to charge $20.

This is what's really happening in the art world.  This is why artists have a reputation of abandoning jobs and being unprofessional, and why finding someone who's actually professional and has lots of skill is nearly impossible and cost so drastically much more than what the standard is.  If you don't believe me go talk to someone who works in animation.  Doesn't matter who, anyone would tell you how high the turnover rate is and how fast people get used up and replaced.
 
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jwideman

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@metronome: You know, if things were like your story people wouldn't have a problem with the underpricing thing, but here's what's really happening.  A and B are getting lots of business by charging $50.  A lives in a place where they're just barely managing to get by with what they charge and wishes they could charge more so they could actually be paid like the highly skilled professional they are.  C, D and E, fresh out of art school and feeling uncertain about their abilities comes along and charges $30 for the same jobs.  None of them can make a living off of only charging $30 either, not even close, but since they're new they're doing this in their free time they can do it.  With the addition of these new artists, there are now more artists than there are jobs.  Since C D and E's prices are so drastically lower, they get all the work.  B lowers their prices to keep in competition and is now living like pauper.  A had to quit art and go back to being an accountant.  The clients are now used to paying $30.  C gets overwhelmed with the expectations and treats clients irresponsibly for the rest of their career.  D tries to raise their prices now that they've got some experience and can't, so they also quit art.  E burns out and decides they hate art and goes back to school.  But now there are new artists fresh out of art school to take their place so the clients go to them instead, only this fresh new group sees that $30 is the standard and decide to charge $20.

This is what's really happening in the art world.  This is why artists have a reputation of abandoning jobs and being unprofessional, and why finding someone who's actually professional and has lots of skill is nearly impossible and cost so drastically much more than what the standard is.  If you don't believe me go talk to someone who works in animation.  Doesn't matter who, anyone would tell you how high the turnover rate is and how fast people get used up and replaced.
Case in point: just look at how people are pricing their web design shops in the classified offers forum. $5 a page? $30 for a complete site? That's insane. I charge more than that an hour.
 

Celianna

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Yup, newbies price themselves so much lower, thereby also forcing experienced users to lower their rates since they can't get any more jobs that way. It's an endless cycle.


That said, back to the original topic. I'd pay €40 tops for a game that I'd like to play. For a game that I'm only mildly curious about, €20 is the maximum I'm willing to dish out.


Of course, you could always use the discount tactic. Say you want to sell your game at $30, but no one wants to buy at full price. So you list it as $40 with a 25% discount. Suddenly you have a lot more people willing to buy your game if they think they've got a deal.
 
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JosephSeraph

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Freemium / IAP games are put together with priced commercial games because differently from games with no revenue, they have a marketing budget, which nets them exposure. (in change of the revenue paying out for that cost.)

So while yes, some if not most players play it for free, the exposure is still driven by a commercial factor.

Also yeah Sharm couldn've put it better. She has years and years of experience on that field anyway. (or at least it's the impression i get, since I keep stumbling upon her profile on art forums on posts from years ago)

Prescott, thing is you won't be broadening your reach by setting your game's value low. Many eople'll just look at a $5, $3, $2 game that's on discount ad just "uhhh... not worth it." while if your game was $10 but constantly sold at 75% discount both the actual price / acessibility would be bigger, and the perceived value as well. Your reach would in turn be much bigger, without harming your other peers, while having lots of players.

Also, when I say quality I truly know it is subjective, so I basically just mean level of polish, content, etc. in whichever direction the game takes. There are a lot of quality stuffs that are not quantifiable, and i'm fully aware. As for how much I would pay, which I don't think I've answered yet...

...Currently I'm under a very poor financial condition so I'm turning up on loads and loads of games. But I could pay anywhere up to $60 for any game, indie or not, provided it convinces me of doing so. Now, convincing me would be the hard part! Good luck.

Still, I'm most at home with $20 games and waiting for them to come on sales, unless I'm really hype for a particular game. (which I've yet to be for any RM game, while I'm interested in quite a few I'm not overly excited about any of them)

In any way guys XD

Such a delicate subject >v> I'm glad we're being able to deal with it with such grace. *sparkles love on everybody*
 

Helladen

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Why would you charge your prices lower if the art they offer is worse? It is like buying a fancy car vs. a used car, you shouldn't lower your prices just cause you have competition. Most artists don't understand relationships, you have to form a client-base that keeps buying art from you.
 
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trouble time

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Prescott, thing is you won't be broadening your reach by setting your game's value low. Many eople'll just look at a $5, $3, $2 game that's on discount ad just "uhhh... not worth it." while if your game was $10 but constantly sold at 75% discount both the actual price / acessibility would be bigger, and the perceived value as well. Your reach would in turn be much bigger, without harming your other peers, while having lots of players.
Isn't this contradictory though? If people will value sometihng less because of it's price wouldn't someone who wanted quality art go for someone who prices more even if someone else were selling lower? 

As for me, I don't care if it's RPG Maker or not if it's something I want I'd be willing to pay full retail prices for it, ya know if I had the money.
 

JosephSeraph

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I just meant that the perceived quality of a $10 game being sold at $2 is bigger than the perceived quality of a $4 game being sold at $2. In both cases, the person would be paying $2, but in one of them the perceived quality would be bigger.

Also, no, if someone charges a fair price and somebody else agrees to charge $5 to draw a full body portrait it ceases to be a matter of quality anymore. $5 is several times cheaper than anything an artist that draws for a living could hope to make. And people will go for the $5 artist. and the artist that charges reasonable prices will be forced to lower their prices because of that. That is not something me or sharm or celianna are pulling out of thin air, us 3 have experience as professional artists and we speak from experience. It is a well known fact from the art world.

The first comission I accepted was a bulk of 12 fully rendered visual novel backgrounds.... for $5 each. That was in 2012. It doesn't take much to realize it wasn't a smart idea. I had barely money to pay for my cat's food (which was priority over mine) and literally wouldn't be able to stand up from my bed due to subnutrition. Also, I was living in a garage and obviously would not be able to afford renting a room in a cortiço anytime soon if things were going that way. (cortiços are like rooms in really poor housings here in brazil, the cheapest living available.)

I actually didn't finish the comission and only recouped the price 2 years later.

Thankfully however, after 5 days without eating my uncle bought me a lot of food (which I couldn't eat over a fourth of a place of because my body had unlearnt to eat) and the mother of a friend of mine offered me housing. From then I found my job as an English teacher and after learning how much money I need to live, I am much more properly tooled and experienced to charge a reasonable rate. I have witnessed many more artists do that. Back when I got several comissions at this horribly low price I didn't know, but I was hurting my peers. I was doing work that was of quality and charging a price several orders of magnitude than I should. Sure, a "better" artist would be able to price more, but I was still a good artist back then. And had harmed artists that were at the same skill level as I was.
 

metronome

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@metronome: You know, if things were like your story people wouldn't have a problem with the underpricing thing, but here's what's really happening.  A and B are getting lots of business by charging $50.  A lives in a place where they're just barely managing to get by with what they charge and wishes they could charge more so they could actually be paid like the highly skilled professional they are.  C, D and E, fresh out of art school and feeling uncertain about their abilities comes along and charges $30 for the same jobs.  None of them can make a living off of only charging $30 either, not even close, but since they're new they're doing this in their free time they can do it.  With the addition of these new artists, there are now more artists than there are jobs.  Since C D and E's prices are so drastically lower, they get all the work.  B lowers their prices to keep in competition and is now living like pauper.  A had to quit art and go back to being an accountant.  The clients are now used to paying $30.  C gets overwhelmed with the expectations and treats clients irresponsibly for the rest of their career.  D tries to raise their prices now that they've got some experience and can't, so they also quit art.  E burns out and decides they hate art and goes back to school.  But now there are new artists fresh out of art school to take their place so the clients go to them instead, only this fresh new group sees that $30 is the standard and decide to charge $20.

This is what's really happening in the art world.  This is why artists have a reputation of abandoning jobs and being unprofessional, and why finding someone who's actually professional and has lots of skill is nearly impossible and cost so drastically much more than what the standard is.  If you don't believe me go talk to someone who works in animation.  Doesn't matter who, anyone would tell you how high the turnover rate is and how fast people get used up and replaced.
Underpricing can comes with many causes, one of them is bankruptcy (my example), and another one is new market penetration (your example), and of course many other causes. I could provide examples where artist with great quality has to underprice their services in order to eat, and surely I believe there are lots of cases like yours. What you say happens, but that's not the only thing really happening in the art world.

But then again, my main focus is:

Chastising and marking C,D,E as disservice to the whole art communities like a plague is certainly offensive, let alone solving the problem, IMO. Some will even go even crazier by calling fellow artists to gang up on C, D, E, and mark them as enemies etc and I find it really really hostile.

I am pretty sure that there must be other ways to deal with those underpricing and overpricing stuff without involving those offensive methods.

But then, that;s may be just me being sensitive here.

@ksjp17

noted. and guess I will cool my head and go to sleep for now.

@bgillisp

when you say "legal", it is really up to a lot of factors.......especially if you are targetting some certain countries. But then, this is not the place for this kind of discussion so I will lay my case as I do with joseph seraph :D .

@josephseraph

Underpriced or not, doesn't give other artist rights to chastise (let alone harass) you and let you think that you are some kind of harmful plague of art society.

Charging 5$ each for 12 fully rendered background is in-experienced (at most naive), but that doesn't mean you are doing disservice to art society.

If I were an artist, and if I were to know you back in 2012, I would tell you that you were underpriced in my personal opinion, without marking you as my enemy.

And yes.

I'm glad we're being able to deal with it with such grace. :) .
 
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JosephSeraph

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Yes it ~does~ mean I was doing a disservice to the art society. And that doesn't mean I'm nobody's enemy, nor that I was. It just means I didn't know better. If anything, saying someone is underpricing is an empowering message that lets they know they're worth more, and I'm glad I heard it from other artists. I don't mean it in an offensive way, simple as that, even though you might be taking it offensively. Saying someone is doing a disservice isn't saying someone is bad or an enemy. They're just doing something wrong (that is unambiguously wrong) because they simply don't know better and it's OK not to know! That's why we learn.

Also, I love your pink dot XDDDDDDDDDD
 

Kes

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May I remind people that the subject of this thread is paying for rpgmaker games.  I know that the subject of art pricing came up as a legitimate illustration of particular points, but I think we are now in clear danger of veering significantly off topic.  Let's try and stick to the OP's question.
 

Dalph

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Answering to the OP here.

How much would I pay for an RPG Maker game?

The price is irrilevant to me, quality is what really matters here, just looking at the screenshots, at the synopsis of the game and at the gameplay video (not at the trailer because trailers can be deceiving) will give me a decent idea if a commercial rm game will be worth buying or not. If I see real effort put into the game itself then I won't care about the price, because my money will be well spent and I will buy the product immediately to support the developer. I did this many times and I still do it, my Steam profile is full of commercial rm games, I have both Matseb's games, Skyborn, Lilly and Sasha, DarkEnd, To The Moon, A Bird Story, Greyfox, Labyrinthine Dreams, Last Word and many others too. Of course if the rm game will cost as much as 30 dollars then it has to be worth that amount, so I expect a lot of effort to be put into it. I don't care if people are not able to create\hire someone for custom graphics or can hire\afford a composer for their game, just use what you have but ffs use it well at least! Games are supposed to be fun so make it fun! Even with RTP you can do amazing things if you know how to use it and edit it.
 
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Maple

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Answer to OP:

Hi Prescott. I would approach the purchase decision like I do for any other games–on the 1st impression. Does the game have a story that I find interesting? Does the game look like a generic RTP mess that reminds me of the hundreds of other games just like it? 

I would pay from $5 to $20 depending on my interest level. $20 really isn't much money for most gamers if the game is awesome to them. If I can be entertained for 4+ hrs, then it's worth it to me. Generally if the game has some original art, music, a meaningful and/or interesting story and is well-written, then I would say I'm generally happy paying around $10-$15 on average for really good rpgmaker games.

I don't really care how long the game is. You can't value a game experience on how long it is. Many 'long' games become a painfully repetitive grindfest anyway. I'll take quality over quantity any day. Besides, life is short for some. How many hours of my life do I really want to invest into one game when there are so many to try?
 
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Jay_NOLA

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These are some things that influence if I'll buy a game:

1.) A good story with good dialog, and good grammar.

2.) Unique assets that are well done.

3.) The game needs to be long and not over in just be 5-8 hours of play or shorter.

4.) Replay value.  Many games have no reason to replay them.  Having difficulty levels and other features that unlock only after beating the game help.  In addition to having multiple endings you can get, some randomness in things you can find quests, etc.  I need a reason to want to replay it.

5.) The price needs to be low around $10 or less for me to consider buying it.

Some games  can get away with a higher price but they usually have other things you get that justify the higher price.

One example of this that I have seen to get a higher price  is that some games come with some of the new assets used made available in a separate folder for purchasers of the game to use in other projects by the purchaser  I actually bought a real horrible game just because it came with the new music used in it as resources you could use in your own projects.

Another I've seen is discount codes for other games the creator made,  Usually I've seen this done if they newer game is sequel to an older one.

6.) Does the game have a demo I can try? 

7.) What are the reviews of it like.  I read the most negative ones first and work upwards as the negative ones will usually address an issue that I may be concerned with I've found.  Also how much of a fan base the game has helps in this regard.

8.)  Have I played other free or purchased games from the creator and liked them.
 

Clangeddin

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In my humble opinion, I do not see how anything else than a monetized free to play model (even with adds) can be profitable. The cost for producing a commercial quality game should be so high to warrant a price much higher than legal (free to play games) and non legal (piracy) competition and so be non-competitive.

Unless we're talking about AAA blockbusters, but those have million dollars investment and huge companies on their backs, not something that happens with indie gaming, generally.
 
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jwideman

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To answer the question directly, the most I'd pay for ANY indie game would be $30. It has to really blow me away, with great reviews, great looking art (nothing against RTP as long as it looks good), great music, great gameplay, and - for RPGs - a great story.
 

Sakuri

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Well usually i would cut down the price by 2 thirds of what i spent for resources (such as RPG makers, music packs, lighting engines, etc)
 

taarna23

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I'll be honest - I feel like a lot of the discussion in this thread outlines what's going wrong with the gaming industry at the moment. People are placing such a low value on games and are basically expecting it to be free or cheap. Which always circles me back to something I read once:


Sign hanging in a print shop:


I can do it good. I can do it fast. I can do it cheap.


Pick two and talk to me.


Problem is, these days consumers want all three. I even see that attitude toward games even in communities like this where a lot of people are making games, and know how hard and/or expensive it is to do. I find this quite distressing.


I won't pay more than x for an indie game.


Well, what's your definition of indie? Made by a team of one? Five? Ten? When does a game stop being "indie?" Is this measured on its popularity perhaps? How many downloads it has? Or maybe how many games the company has produced? At what point do you stop saying "I want to pay as little as humanly possible to play this game while still supporting the people that made it?"


I think this whole indie vs. not indie is drawing a meaningless line in quicksand. How many people would even know if their favourite little "indie" company wasn't owned by one of the big companies? It could easily have been a quiet sale. There's often not a need to rebrand something if it's making good money on its own.


So, putting it in perspective, people are willing to shell out $70+ (Canadian) for a brand new game from a big company, or possibly over $100 for a collector's edition, or throw hundreds of dollars over time into a freemium game, but when it comes to something that's been branded "indie," their wallets are suddenly feeling a little light? This boggles my mind, completely.


Pardon the rant, but I'm actually getting pretty tired of seeing people say something's priced too expensive when it looks pretty darn good, but a small team/one person made it, so why should we pay more?
 

Helladen

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Indies are treated differently - their budgets are much lower and can make a profit much easier than companies. Consumers pay less since there's less hype built around that game. You also have to consider that, indies are trying to undercut big companies to get noticed. Try to sell an indie game at 40 dollars, you will not do good. 20 dollars is about all you can get as an indie without insane budget and marketing. If you are a top-tier indie, you can get away at 40 though.
 

Sharm

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So by your definition indies are the cheap knock-off brand and if you're selling on name recognition then you're not indie no matter how many people or how much money goes into it?


My definition is if you make the game with the input of a publisher then you're not indie, everything else is indie.  But I don't really treat indie and non-indie any differently, if it's good I'll pay lots, if it's only okay I don't want to pay much, if it's bad I don't want to pay.  End of story.
 

bgillisp

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@Sharm: That's pretty much how I work. If the game is good and/or the developer has a good rep, I buy the game. For instance, right now there are 2 developers on this forum I pretty much buy their games at release regardless of price (well, unless I just can't afford it obviously), as I've liked what I've seen of them so far, and they have a good rep. And, there are others I'm leery of due to a bad release of theirs as well.


Though, I will admit, usually if the price gets low enough I'll check it out anyways. I've bought a couple games at $2.99 or lower (one such game was Duke Nukem Forever) just to see how bad a train wreck it really is. Sometimes I get pleasantly surprised, and sometimes I get exactly what I expected.


So....to summarize: Early on you may need to charge less as people don't know you from the others, and are less likely to take a chance, and a lower price point might attract them to try your game at least. But, once you have a rep, then the price is not as important to us.
 
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