MOONDOLLARS AND THE STATE OF EARTH

HELLO ME DROQEN
ME MAKE GAME;
NOW, ME SELL GAME.

Money is a weird and enigmatic thing. It blurs the boundaries of value: I might part with five dollars for a pricey beverage (an extremely temporary thing – I could just as well be drinking water), but not five dollars for a game (an arguably permanent thing). I don’t like dealing in money.

I first started selling Probability 0 pre-orders at the price of $9 each, and I didn’t know what that meant. Everything I’d made up to this point had been distributed for the low, low price of TOTALLY FREE and I was okay with that. I sold a few games to sponsors, and I didn’t like playing the money dance so I tried to avoid it.

$9 is infinitely more than $0 in math terms as well as in ‘boundary to reach the game’ terms, because now you suddenly have to go through a whole weird process to send money over the internet to get my game! I don’t really like that at all!

Something I can handle is dropping to $5 from $9. People know things are worth money, but nobody agrees on the value of things. I can drop to $5 from $9 and understand this drop it to a lower caliber of spending. Those who would get it for $9 and be happy can only be happier to get that same thing for FIVE dollars, because they’re losing less MEANINGLESS NUMBER (except, well, money means a lot) for it.

1. People who would have bought it anyway are made happier by a price drop.

For every game, there are people who play it and feel ripped off. This wasn’t worth my $9. This wasn’t worth my $5. This wasn’t worth the time I spent playing it. I don’t think I can say I’m actually going to reduce the number of people who feel like they wasted their money on Probability 0 (I think it’s absolutely worth it but I’m not everyone!), but I’m hopefully going to reduce the intensity.

2. Those who calculate Probability 0′s worth as $5 – $9 will buy the game and not feel ripped off. (Whereas previous to the price drop this bracket of people would have not bought the game at all, or felt ripped off: both things I’d like to avoid.)

3. Those who calculate Probability 0′s worth at less than $5 will still either not buy the game, or feel ripped off.

Dealing with money is kind of annoying. I just want to make the maximum number of ‘good games’ and create joy through them! Is that so much to ask???
(& I can’t just get a job! That means making fewer games, or games of less quality! noooo)

I guess what I’m doing is reducing the potentially unreachable audience, and making happy part of the potentially unhappy audience. ‘Audience,’ as if I am somehow performing the act of ‘selling games’ on a stage. Good use of english, Droqen.

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About Droqen

Droqen is a game designer/developer/creator/etc. from Toronto, Ontario. View all posts by Droqen

4 responses to “MOONDOLLARS AND THE STATE OF EARTH

  • Maxim Schoemaker

    I am happy I pre-ordered the game while it was still 9$ To me that makes the makes the game more valuable because I invested more in it. I believe paying for games (especially indie games like this) is more a token appreciation than an actual representation of capitalist worth. In my opinion games are worth loads more than what they are usually priced at (more so for indies than for AAA titles, cause they’re actually quite expensive :P). Things like the app store, where ‘apps’ (yes I’m avoiding the word game because I’m talking from a consumer perspective) are worth nothing more than a fucking dollar, and other practices have lowered the, to the mass, acceptable price for a game so much that it’s just stupid. I don’t give a fuck that I’ll become rich when my app priced at 1$ is sold to millions of users, I’d rather have it sold to a hundred people for 10$. Because these people will actually play the game, respect it, respect me and enjoy the overall experience a lot more than those who pay a mere 1$ so they can be relieved of boredom for fuckin 5 minutes. Games are art, a serious medium, not some toss away brainless time waster. (sorry for ranting…)
    I didn’t mean to contradict your point of view, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your work and your awesomeness :D

  • Maxim Schoemaker

    tldr: I’d be happier giving you more money than less :)

  • Maxim Schoemaker

    Also, don’t see this as advice that you shouldn’t lower your price. People are still people and if their perception doesn’t change nothing is fixed. You might be stuck with less sales then when you hadn’t listened to what I said and I’d feel guilty about that… Do what you think is best!

  • Droqen

    I’m ultimately happy with where the price is… except for how it interacts with the P0/P0 + friends price dynamic. I’d rather have a million people buy a game for $1 than a hundred people for $10 each, though: by selling for less you aren’t SHUTTING the gates to those who would appreciate your game — it’s just that by selling for more you’re closing the gates to the people who don’t find your game looks THAT appealing.

    The people who would have respected your game, for the most part, are going to respect it regardless of price. You may lose a few who can’t get over the fact it’s a game that sells for 99 cents, but you’ll gain many who bought the game ONLY because it was priced so low… and who gain respect for it over time.

    I know what a lot of things cost, but I don’t think I’ll ever know what most things are worth :)

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