One of the nice things about being an indie game developer is the community of devs who find each other through the internet. On one community that I frequent, I posted an idea a few weeks ago:
Starving Indie Marketing idea: Add a global counter for the total number times the game has been played by anyone, anywhere. Every time the game state reaches “Game Over”, the counter increments.
Then as the game over screen is displayed, the text: “If I had a nickel for every time someone played my game, I would have $” + global.games_played/20 + ” dollars…. In reality, I have $” + revenue ” dollars.”
Then display the IAP screen.
I’ve been wanting to see this tried, but haven’t been ready to set up a game for commercial release, so I just put it out there for anyone to run with it if they wanted.
So, one of the guys did! Jason Artis, of Hurgle Studios, is working on a Sudoku game for Android called Sinister Sudoku. Currently in beta, it will implement my “If I had a nickel” idea. So I’m really looking forward to seeing if it helps draw revenue.
My theory is that by providing immediate and direct information to the player about how well the game is doing, it will help provide the necessary incentive to the player to pay for a game if they enjoy it, to encourage the developer to continue working and release more games. I believe many players justify not paying for games because they rationalize that the game must be a success and must be making the developer all kinds of money, when the reality facing most indie game developers is anything but that. I like the free-to-play because it lets you experience the game to see if it’s worth paying for before you sink any money into it, and I like pay-what-you-think-it’s-worth models because it removes the excuse that many freeloaders use when pirating games that they’re “too expensive” and that they “would pay something, but not that much.”
Hopefully, by showing just how much revenue a game has generated, it will get players to realize how much labor and expense goes into producing a game, and drive home an understanding that it’s not free to produce them, and that good development cannot be sustained by low revenues. As a result, my hope is that those who are able to pay for games will be more likely to pay what they can and what they think the game is worth.