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Indie Game Pricing and Fund-Raising

Posted by Dave Seaman on Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The rise of independent game studios has brought with it a number of different pricing structures. The most traditional is that of a fixed price, putting indie games on an even footing with commercial releases – albeit without the backing of a large studio with a marketing budget. Then there are the “pay what you want” deals – harking back to the true beginnings of Shareware, where software was free to use but you could make a donation if you liked the game / application. Finally we have fund-raising before the game is actually released – either done directly by the studio or through schemes such as Kickstart. These attempt to raise the needed money for production of the game via donations, usually offering such goodies as a mention in the credits for a small donation, a slightly larger donation to get a copy of the game when released (effectively a pre-order system, but with a warm squishy feeling for the contributor), right up to being mentioned on the credits as a Producer, exclusive concept artwork and a telephone interview with the development team.

What I’m interested in is, if you’re an indie game developer, which method do you prefer? What have the results been?

If you’re an indie game player, do you like / dislike any of the above options? Do any of them tend to make you not take an indie production seriously?

Personally I’m more in favour of the first option than the others, but I can see why the others have an appeal. I guess it also depends on whether the studio themselves want to be taken as a serious rival to big commercial software houses, or whether it’s an individual just trying to stand out from the rest in what is admittedly becoming an increasingly crowded market.


Mr. Slate said...

As a developer, I'd have to say the first is the most appealing. Although I have to admit, I've looked into 'Kickstarter' and have thought about it more than a few times. I still think the best bet is to find a publisher so that they can help you with the business side of the industry.

CaptainD said...

Good point. Chris' article "Too Many Hats" helps people to see just how many things they have to spend time on to become a successful indie - just being a great programmer isn't enough on its own!

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