Free Demo Version of Sabotage Released (why I’m leaving money on the table)

By the time this is printed I would have re-written it from scratch 3 times.. I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit all the points I wanted – but each time it started reading like a screed of things I don’t like with the current system… Way too negative.  So how do you comment on something that you find so negative without devolving into that pool yourself?  Welll… I tried.

I took time out from Vectoroids development to address in app purchasing and registration.  It’s something I need for this game, and Sabotage was released as a ‘paid app’ – it actually didn’t do too bad as a first release with no real marketing behind it, but I thought some kind of free version was a smart move – after all I like to try things before I buy, and that is my litmus test for a lot of my choices.

So how to do it?  Looking into it it seems that the going ‘free game’ method is to throw in ads and recoup the revenue of the game and have an in app registration with ‘no ads’.  Maybe a pause for 30 seconds with a pay to continue…. Easy right? So why didn’t I do it?

Many factors – number #1 being ‘Oh I love pop up ads…said absolutely nobody …. Ever.”. If I don’t like it, why would I do it to someone else?  I know the reasoning behind it, and I know why ad viewing times require people to put them in places where they aren’t just skimmed over… and of course they need to get some revenue back – Harlan Ellison says ‘pay the artist’, and I agree with that.  I have no argument with these things.

I just don’t want to do them.

I don’t want revenue gained from customer frustration – I don’t want to clog game mechanics with ads – and I don’t want to annoy people into buying the game… It’s a simple game, I think it’s enjoyable, and I want it to be enjoyed.  At the end of the day I guess I’d rather leave money on the table if it means that the end player has a better experience.

So how am I going to get revenue? I decided to go back to my roots with the c64 and Amiga – a playable demo… only a bit more than that – more like a promotional demo.  all the gameplay is there, but a few ‘nice to have but not essential’ features are clipped, and if you want them you can register.
None of these things (IMO) diminish the gameplay, but having them does enhance it.
Those are:

  • High Score entry
  • Continue play on death
  • Level unlocking and restart
  • 6 of 15 attack waves – you get the first half of the game.

And absolutely NO ads. or other annoyware.

What about the ad revenue? I’m leaving it on the table and not touching it.  Lord knows that is a hard decision to make.. Coz I certainly ‘aint rich.

History may prove me wrong on this – but I’ve been around for quite a while, and I think there’s things in the game industry that won’t ever change… People who want to buy a game will buy it, and people who don’t want to won’t. No matter what you do.
Back in the 64/Amiga days I had boxes and boxes of disks – of hundreds of games, many I played…. maybe three or four times.  On a shelf I had maybe 20 games that I bought.. and I bought them no matter what the cost was.  I mowed 3 yards to purchase Elite on the 64 (in Australia it was 60 dollars when it came out).  Other games – nope, was never going to buy them.

So, is Sabotage a game people will buy?  I don’t know – quite possibly not.. it is a vehicle for my learning about the platform and the market.  It stands up as a complete, fun, albeit small game – and I believe at 99c it falls into ‘I would play it 4 times at an 80’s arcade (5 in Australia)’.  But ultimately I’m not really all that concerned.

What I do hope is that people who pick it up will understand this is going to be my business model – my Modus Operandi.  I want to build a customer base not on annoying or manipulating them into a purchase – that a purchase will give them something of value, more than ‘I won’t annoy you with ads’.

I don’t like the current system and where it’s going. I don’t like ‘revenue is king’ as a silent partner in my marketing.  I want to base my business model on respect.  I won’t do to you what I don’t like done to me.  And I respect your opinion to register, or not register any of my games. The onus is on me to create something you enjoy enough to buy, not on you to use your dollar to circumvent aggravation or frustration.

In the end the commodity I want to peddle is enjoyment….  I think it’s a much more positive metric to gauge my own success or failure than revenue.


Sig. – RetroRomyDude.







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