How do you get over the emotional disgust re:free

Community Forums/Technical Discourse/How do you get over the emotional disgust re:free

Matty(Posted 2016) [#1]
Hi folks,

Maybe I'm different, maybe I'm too stuck in the past, or something...but how do I get past the emotional disgust I feel about games and software being free.

Software and games require effort to create. They take an investment of time, money, sweat and effort to create.

However users, those people we want to enjoy our creations, expect all of this to be done free of charge.

As an example - last year I released a game for a low price, less than $3. It had 10 purchases in 3 months. I then released it in the same market sphere for free and it had 500 downloads in a few days.

I don't know about you and how you would feel about that, but it sickened me. I actually pulled it off the shelf after a few days as the downloads went up and up because I felt disgusted that the same group of people would value my work at $0 who were too cheap to bother paying the cost of a cup of coffee for something that required substantial effort to create.

I feel as if the artist/creator/developer deserves to receive some reward for their efforts. And for users to demand and expect things for free just feels abhorrent to me.

Am I behind the times?

Am I out of date?

Is it okay that I feel a sense of disgust at the sick nature of software developers being expected to produce free content by the masses for products that these same users would have no comprehension of how much effort goes into them?

Floyd(Posted 2016) [#2]
I don't much like it either but there seems to be no alternative. There is very little software that people will still pay for up front. You have to resign yourself to in-app purchases. That can be done honestly, not the endless nickel-and-dime approach which is all to too common.

Naughty Alien(Posted 2016) [#3]
...thats why i have halted my game development ( i have actually 2 games/9 episodes in total/ to deploy, all media done and it requires just a little bit more work to complete), and doing some business with hardware programming-industrial stuff..

MadJack(Posted 2016) [#4]

NO! I was looking forwards to the next installment of your adventure game.

Naughty Alien(Posted 2016) [#5]
..hey MJ..hoodwink is basically completed(3 episodes)..missing some music and some voiceovers..other than that is okay..appart from that, i have another side scrolling 3D game (some robot adventure stuff) which has all media done, just need to sit and do some coding..but i think time to let it go is not so good..i haven't abandon anything, just keeping 'handbrake' a year i hope it will work better :)

How is TU2 going (sales)? Better than TU1 ?

grable(Posted 2016) [#6]
They arent demanding it for free though, you were the one who provided it for that price.
Now granted $3 isnt much, but i can imagine a lot of people have already spent good money on way to many other games which either didnt fit them or were just plain crap.
And lets face it, most of the things on any app store are just that, crap.

And $0 for anything cant be beat, it allows anyone to try something without it costing them anything (cost is more than just $). Even though $3 is peanuts and we throw that out the window every day on senseless purchases, after a while even those $3 will sting if you suspect something might not be up to snuff. Nobody likes to be fooled, or rather, nobody likes to admit they were fooled which makes them even more "sour" when it comes to their next possible purchase.

Im not saying your game is crap btw, just calling it how i see it.

It would seem that to get any traction on Mobile requires you already have traction elsewhere, just look at how CRAZY people went for the shit that is Pokemon Go.
One either needs to fill an unfilled niche, or have something that wow-bangs people into blindly installing it on word of mouth alone, both hard problems :(
I would say the same is true for any saturated market like gaming, where only the big boys get to play because people already know them and they tend to scream the loudest.

On that note, if you look at the many successful Indie devs, they tend to release free games before they try selling something, and either have a small following or they have that niche you cant get anywhere else.
But this of course requires work and time, lots of it.

Or you can just do what Floyd suggests and go for micro payments which will fool most people into thinking something is free without it being so.

I might just be your polar opposite on this subject, so you might not like whats below...

As a rule i NEVER pay for things on app stores, but it has more to do with my disdain for the app store model itself than whats on them.
As such i am a proponent of Free Sofware (as in gnu) and Open Source. And i live by that, giving away whatever i make if anyone has a need for it.
I actually feel ashamed taking money for what i do sometimes, since its so easy and i actually like doing it! Though that doesnt mean i enjoy working for free mind you ;)
So i can see how youd want to get some of that investment back, but again, you were the one making something in the hopes of possibly selling it, which you IMO arent entitled to.
But i guess that is the distinction one has to make, is it work or is it a hobby? Or is it a hobby wanting to become work in the future? By realigning your expectations of what you want to get out of something in proportion to what you put in. Youve heard it before, but i felt you needed to hear it again.

Harsh words maybe, so please dont take them the wrong way, and i wish you success in any future endeavors :)

Matty(Posted 2016) [#7]
No I have no problem with what you said Grable. I think we do differ. I have bought numerous paid app games but refuse to pay in app purchases. But then I avoid the self serve checkouts at the supermarket because I'd rather the big grocery chains employ someone (and the cost of the checkout is already factored in to their price).

I'm not about to disagree with you as I can see the logic is quite sound but I think the views come from different perspectives.

I look at it like this:if I go to the movies and put $2 in the arcade machine to play Daytona for less than 5 minutes....what is the difference between that and paying $3 for an app that will be of similar personal value. Unfortunately.for devs we've devalued their efforts by providing so much for free. And even if you find the effort easy there are media and hosting costs which a paid sale can recover.

Albeit you are one forced me to put the game as free but the market expects it.

Matty(Posted 2016) [#8]
I suppose I have accepted mentally that it is the way it is....I just have to work out how to stomach it.

grable(Posted 2016) [#9]
The comparison to a round at an arcade game is very apt, one i didnt think of. Which puts things in different perspective, and i have to agree with you that they are similar in experience and cost for the user.
And i myself would not think twice about wasting money at an arcade (if they existed where i live that is), even though i would when it comes to mobile apps.
Which makes this rather weird, its like the platform itself as you say has been devalued.

But i still think it is possible to sell what you make and still have free software out there. It just has to be something people want or need. Or have that special allure with it like that arcade has. How to foster that though i have no idea :(
It actually reminds me of a Wine test i saw somewhere, where they purposefully mislabeled the Wines, and the tasters claimed the ones that cost the most was the best, even though it really was the cheapest wine. Its all about perception...

Back to too much free stuff.
This speaks to a larger issue in society, its like we are in a transition between the old "do the work, then reap the rewards" and something new not yet defined.
We as a people can already see the looming problems of automation in all forms of work, where it looks like no one will have work if this continues. Which then leads to the question whether money still is relevant in the future to come, or the very least the way we make that money.

Take for instance the idea of universal income, where every citizen in all walks of life would receive a flat income for simply being alive. Not enough to be able to drive a Ferrari around of course, but enough to be able to live like normal people. A place to live, food, and the things we need in todays world.
And for those that want more, or dont want to sit on their ass all day could then do actual work.
The fact is, not everyone needs to work, lots of what we do is stupid drudgery only there as an excuse because we still cling to that old adage that one must work or die.

Im getting way off topic here though, so excuse me ;) But these are the things i think about hehe.

grable(Posted 2016) [#10]
Didnt see your latest post.

Instead of accepting it as a defeat, one could instead acknowledge the change for what it is and try to ride with it.
This, i think is what micro payments is an attempt at, it just came a bit too early and has received much hate for its exploitative behavior. Or rather the behavior of big companies wanting to fleece their customers even more than they do normally :/

Im not a fan of in-app purchases or micro payments really, but if done right it will get past that initial gimme-free thinking and actually be profitable.
I have tried LOADS of f2p games, and have found only 1 that i still come back to, and which doesnt force me to micro pay for it (which i of course never do in any of them :P).
And that is The Elder Scrolls Online, and they are still going. Which tells me there is opportunity to be had in that space.

Yue(Posted 2016) [#11]
I think that times have changed, and the way to make money with creations, is based on offering free products in appearance and having money from another less subtle way. For example mobile devices are won by advertising, and although they seem free, they have their way of gain. So I think that really does not exist free, if so the work invested will only be wasted time

EdzUp MkII(Posted 2016) [#12]
I too have halted most of my coding as I can't stomach free to play methods. I only tinker with coding these days to keep the grey cells firing.

Gone is the days of perceived value and it's a all for nothing mentality.

Also giving your game for free puts it in a different market so it could result in more downloads :).

I'm tinkering with NG and C++ now, was coding monkey but seriously losing interest in that to be honest.

JoshK(Posted 2016) [#13]
The main cause of this is huge investment firms that are willing to operate for years at a time operating at a loss with other peoples' money. Now you know how I feel, considering that I have literally the only paid game engine on the market now. It's anti-competitive tactics and it should be shut down by the government. On the other hand, it has given me the third biggest game engine in the world because it killed off most of my competitors, so maybe not so bad for me.

EdzUp MkII(Posted 2016) [#14]
Josh worry when it starts eating into profits as it always does in the end. Unity, Unreal and Cryengine all having free versions doesn't help anyone. It just increases their market share in the end the others will start eating into each other til there's only one left. Then they will start charging again.

Using C++ and writing my own small engine will enable me to keep coding even if this happens so I can still keep doing what I'm doing

(tu) ENAY(Posted 2016) [#15]
I feel it everyday. It's the business model now. Give it away for free, and then hope microtransactions and other cancerous means make it a profit.

It has of course made me never want to work on projects in my spare time. If I have an idea I already know that someone else has made something similiar, and it's full of amazing polish, backed by advertisers, and free.

Then I just think, why bother starting? So I don't.

Even now, I still remember when people were complaining about only earning 1 or 2 thousand pounds from a single game at Idigicon where you'd get a lump sum on completion. Those really were the glory days.

You need to make content 10 times better and give it away for free, saturation is everywhere. Even game tools such as Unity and Unreal Engine are free now. Making it hard for people like JoshK and mark Sibly to earn a living.

I know how you feel Matty I really do.

My only grace is that I know in a full time job, I get paid to work on games, even if the game I am working on is a failure or gets cancelled midway.

.com boom of the games industry has long gone. Stagnation and oversaturation at every turn.

MikeHart(Posted 2016) [#16]
On desktop like Steam, you can still make decent money..

(tu) ENAY(Posted 2016) [#17]

On desktop like Steam, you can still make decent money..

Did you see this last week?

Steam is soon going to be impossible as well.

GW(Posted 2016) [#18]
I agree with Mattys view of mobile apps. The risk to reward ratio is no longer attractive unless you have an extremely unique niche. Even then, the chances that your app will be stolen is very high.
Desktop is where you can still make a living IMO. I make a living writing software (in Blitzmax) in very specialized niches.
Whether it's games or desktop apps, find a unique angle or under-served market and create something of value there.

Steve Elliott(Posted 2016) [#19]
I totally agree with you Matty. This race to the bottom to try and become competitive, or rip people off with in-app purchases is killing the industry.

If I was coding for profit I'd look at producing a game that was addictive enough that people were hooked on the levels you provide for free - then charge for a bundle of many more levels.

Mobile seems a complete waste of time because of market saturation, lack of filtering/standards and plagiarism.

The best option seems desktop through Steam or companies like Big Fish Games. Although BFG's require you to write for a limited number of genres.

Naughty Alien(Posted 2016) [#20]
im wondering does BFG publish 3d games?

Leon Brown(Posted 2016) [#21]
Times have changed, meaning that software developers need to consider alternative business models to run software businesses. People are conditioned to expect apps to be free, so unless you can access people willing to pay, it's unlikely that you will make a large amount of sales under the old model of people simply buying your games.

The software I create is linked to tuition services I sell, so whereas I don't sell the software, I sell the tuition services I provide the software with. This allows me to reduce lesson preparation and offer additional learning features that are a unique selling point. So whereas the software doesn't make money by itself, it allows me to make more money by being more efficient with the services I sell - and also to win more sales of those services.

My advice is never to take business circumstances personally - just adapt how you do business to fit the circumstances you operate in.

Pakz(Posted 2016) [#22]
Buy all the game programming books, spend lots of time learning how to program those impressive things(minecraft ect) Make it hard for yourself not to make good things. Merely being a good programmer requires luck (flappy bird ect.)

Whenever I listen/view interviews with succesfull people they advice other people to work very hard a life long to get the same level of success.

So stop playing games and watching tv ect and start learning to code those things that few people can make.

If I would have spend all the free time in my life learning programming games then I would probably find it easy to earn enough with what I could make. Now I have a difficult time making something that is rather simple. Took me a few hours to learn how to do a recursive maze generator!

So, work hard and always!

JoshK(Posted 2016) [#23]
On the other hand, Unreal and Unity are out of bullets now. What are they going to do next, pay people to use their products? (Epic actually did this.) So a lot of people try those products, get bored, and then come to me.

And yes, a combination of Unity and extremely bad decisions put BRL out of business.

Leon Brown(Posted 2016) [#24]
It's not just about working hard - it's more important to work smart ;).

EdzUp MkII(Posted 2016) [#25]
BRL isn't out of business there is a small burning Monday key shaped ember keeping it smouldering a bit.

I do think though MX2 if it fails will be the death of BRL as it's to late in the game to smack out another engine etc.

Qube(Posted 2016) [#26]
I do think though MX2 if it fails will be the death of BRL as it's to late in the game to smack out another engine etc.

Isn't it already?.

1.. Blitz2D, Blitz Plus, Blitz 3D, Blitz Max, all abandoned and given away for free.

2.. Monkey, nowhere near as popular as the Blitz range and sales dive bombed fast and Mark thinks about looking for a real office job ( he did make posts about this ).

3.. Seeing that loyal users didn't take to Monkey as well as hoped, what did BRL do?.. Come up with another variant of Monkey and give it away for free.

There is no business here. The glory days were over the minute Mark stopped listening to the horde of loyal paying customers that he once had. His choice of course and you have to do what makes you happy.

RemiD(Posted 2016) [#27]
But strangely, some video games which could be made by a lone developer (by some of you on these forums) (and maybe outsource the creation of detailed graphics) are "successful" (enough sales to be worth the time/work invested to make it, and appreciated by enough players) in the current context.
a few examples :

(and of course there are many others examples of different kinds of gameplay with different themes, i have mentioned these because i am currently interested in this kind of gameplay/graphics)

So maybe the problem is that your video games are too primitive ? not intriguing enough ? not easy to understand and to play ? not fun enough ? not targeted to people who care about this kind of gameplay/theme ? I don't know...

angros47(Posted 2016) [#28]

I think the reason why "Free to play" is replacing the previous business model is the continuous abusing of it, on both sides. Players have abused it, by cracking and pirating everything. And developers have abused it, by putting DRM that treat legitimate customers like criminals.

Why would anyone buy a game with a DRM that installs itself like a virus? Why would anyone buy a game that they cannot sell as used?

To sell something, you need to trust your customers, and they need to trust you. Now, developers don't trust gamers (since they put DRM), and gamers don't trust developers. So, that model collapsed, replaced by something different.

RemiD(Posted 2016) [#29]

So, that model collapsed, replaced by something different.

and i have just demonstrated the contrary...

xlsior(Posted 2016) [#30]
the other side of the coin: As a casual player, it will annoy me when a publisher goes 'free' an then tries to nickel and dime you to death with micropayments later.

I loved the original plants vs zombies, and would have gladly paid them again to own it outright on the PC -- but instead popcap decided to go the 'free' route, and even worse restrict it to iOS/Android, despite the initial promise of a Windows version.

Blitzplotter(Posted 2016) [#31]
I only tinker with coding these days to keep the grey cells firing.

Likewise, I liked making a duck invaders thing in Blitz3D from scratch whilst recovering from knee surgery a while ago. Otherwise its tough to get down at the keyboard. That being said, the challenge of working in a little extra functionality keeps dragging me back for a little more. Yep, I'm a nerd ;)

I've been impressed with what I've managed to achieve within Monkey, I really did not think I'd be able to code a GPS data parser / dynamic replay within HTML5, Monkey made it possible. Its not all gloom and doom ;)

As for micro-payments within 'free' games, they're not really 'free' then. Now, if they released games which would have one micro-payment at some point, that'd be more palatable. When you're faced with numerous payments to carry on playing, in this day and age, no thanks.

RemiD(Posted 2016) [#32]
Also consider that the people playing on smartphones/tablets may not be interested in the gameplay/theme of your game, and you may reach more people interested in your gameplay/theme on another platform.

I have tried to play on a tablet but i am back at playing on my laptop, the controls are more responsive/precise with keys and a mouse imo... Of course, it depends on the kind of controls you need in your game...

Playniax(Posted 2016) [#33]
There is no business here. The glory days were over the minute Mark stopped listening to the horde of loyal paying customers that he once had. His choice of course and you have to do what makes you happy.

I am not sure he stopped listening. There are just to many opinions here which is fine but opinions are not fact. There was no reason why BlitzMax and Monkey coudn't coexist and Monkey was just designed for the upcoming mobile markets at the time. Can't blame the guy for trying to get a piece of that market share. Monkey 2 is probably the result of listening to the Blitz people who were saying that Monkey X is bad which btw simply isn't true. And it would really be a shame if BRL disappeared. I guess people appreciate things more after it's gone. And knowing that you can already support Mark starting from $1 USD a month. Isn't that worth already the time you spent here on the forums? At least it will help him with covering the hosting costs ;)

Blitzplotter(Posted 2016) [#34]
I agree with Playniax, just this morning I spent just one hour working in additional functionality into my latest project, which is all coded within the HTML 5 language. With no design as such, simply an idea in concept and the native Monkey X compiler. BRL are one of the very few companies to provide the indie coder with such a wealth of software compilers that with some application can allow nigh on anything to be achieved. I get a great deal of satisfaction and reward from coding with BRL products and I cannot forsee this stopping anytime soon.