Updated on October 20, 2017
In one way, this is the hardest posts I’ve ever been inclined to post. In another, it’s also the most logical, given our current situation.
Our studio is at a crossroads. We’ve taken all the new revenue from PWU Ep2 and invested into new things. That’s already done and is going to happen. On the other hand, my policy of releasing everything for free might not work out anymore. Before you rage, here me out.
I started this with nothing but an AIF game. My Patreon quickly grew to $400 in the first month. I convinced a programmer to join me for a percentage deal of that and whatever was to come, and to this day, he is still with me (smart guy, aye?). In fact, today we are 7 people working on our games. All thanks to Emily: Sister Attraction. Wow(!)
I said several years ago that our games will always be released for free, and until now, they have been. That was something that was very important to to me. When I started I was alone, I just wanted feedback on whatever I did, which mainly came from forums.
On the one hand, I now have to look at our competitors that have Patreon exclusive content all over the place and even micro transactions in-game. On the other hand, I have to think of this as as a game studio (which it is) that needs to at least pay for the people working here and hopefully even get some new games down the pipeline. Not to even mention the vow I took. I swore all of our games would be free. And to this day, I’m proud we’ve realized that. Not many game studios our size have. The question is:
Is it a sound business strategy? It certainly was when I was alone. But now, with 7 people involved, is it still?
Yes, I realize; releasing the games for free is basically what separates us from the other developers. And I don’t fucking break my promises easily. But let’s say we could monetize 5% of the content of PWU Ep2 and use that to create more games, isn’t that worth it? And in saying this, keep in mind an extremely small portion (something like 5%) of a game would be Patreon-only (nothing story-altering, basically).
I’m not going to bore you for too long so this is basically what it comes down to (seen from a business perspective): Do we earn more, as a game studio, by releasing our games for free (after a while of being Patreon exclusive). Or do we earn more by having extremely limited content in our games be Patreon only? And how do I make that call?
This post is open to anyone, whether you are a patron or not. I don’t care. But your feedback, as always, would be appreciated. As always, that has been my motivation factor to keep continuing making games all this time.
More info on actual game studio updates coming soon.