Joined: 20 Aug 2011 Posts: 13
we are all doomed original content needs a monetization model I would like this thread to be an open forum to discuss the most important topic we are not discussing as puppetmasters. How do we monetize original content?
Mon Mar 12, 2012 6:25 pm
Joined: 20 Aug 2011 Posts: 13
Basically you can do a Google search and come up with three ways these games make any money. 1. Sponsorship which you probably will not get prior to about a million players
2. Subscriptions, the drop of players for majestic, 75000 to 13500 shows exactly why that's a bad model.
3. Market your own IP. Ala perplex city trading cards
I would say that's a model to follow except its been years since perplex city and we have yet to see perplex city 2. Why???
Original ARG content needs a monetization model. Without it we are all doomed to fail. I have no interest in making an ARG just so a major studio can notice me and hire me for making there own game I want to keep producing original content without going bankrupt.
Im sure many of you feel the same way, lets cme together and brain storm
Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:03 pm
Joined: 26 Sep 2011 Posts: 786 Location: Dallas, Texas
Well, there's a few examples I can think of, and one of them is actually recent (like, this just happenned today and we're debating about it in the chatroom right now)
1. now-i-know: Had a good setup, asked for money upfront, but we all expected that it was just part of the game. The timer to pay hits 0:00 and... well, he wasn't kidding. He DID want money for the game. Interest died off pretty quickly.
2. Marble Hornets: Selling DVDs and Shirts, but this was advertized through an out-of-game blog/site, so you don't have to donate but it's nice of you to since they've proven themselves to be worth the funding. (not that they're doing this for the cash, they've said at the end of the day they make enough to go buy lunch and that's it)
3. My Dad's Tapes: Just today started a kickstarter page and had an in-game character tweet about it, and the kickstarter is an odd combination of IG and OOG while acting VERY IG. I think that's what is pissing the players off the most and what to stay away from. It gives the story from Chris's point of view and his plea for money... but then you look at the donation page and it has prizes he shouldn't have his hands on (an autographed copy of the book someone else has, ect) that just seems... cheesy. The basic idea is that I think it would've been better if it was handled in the way The Joker Blogs were, esp since MDT is asking for like $3500. The Joker Blogs had an IG character link to the funding page, but then the creators had made the page OOG. "Hey, sorry for ruining the immersion, but we need money to keep this amazing series going and this and this and this are what you get if you fund us"
There's also the thing in MDT's favor that now-i-know missed- we've gotten a year's worth of free content. So, we know they're worth it, but at the same time, WHAT is the funding going towards? We have NO IDEA. Will it be worth it? Will it go to the budget? Will it just go to their pockets?
Current project: QS#286, a novel about a quarantine.
Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:42 pm
Joined: 20 Aug 2011 Posts: 13
Many are trying the Kickstarter route these days, BUT- and this is a big but, you need to have the fan base before starting the campaign or you will ultimately get nothing. That means working free for a while. Honestly, is that anyway to really run a business. You cannot really run a real business on Crowd Funding. Sure sometimes a miracle happens on Kickstarter and someone raises an obscene amount of money, but its very difficult to be that story.
I think we need to find a way to get the general public to accept paying for the experience up front. Like seeing a movie, you have to pay before you go in the theater.
Sat Mar 24, 2012 12:17 pm
Joined: 05 May 2006 Posts: 237
agreeing with this - however, you ahve to invest first - eg you rarely go and see a film unless you have seen marketing for it, you know of predecessors for it [eg batman series etc] or you know of the director/cast before.
there's also the bled them dry approach - ala casinos - come play for free at first -0 but then to get the next aspect/clue/etc you need to pay for it?! not nice at all but something to possibly consider
of course - there is the have a big prize aspect as well - but then you are back to the beginning of either creating the big nice prize yourself [more funding required], getting it donated [see previous] or making it part of submission - someone did this before - thought it got somethhing good - so you pay 10 units to play, 5 of that goes into the prize fund - more people that play, more prize fund... possibilty?
matter of fact I could leave....
Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:36 am
Joined: 18 Feb 2009 Posts: 42 Location: Arnhem, Netherlands
There's an elephant in the room. Allow me to address it.
The fact is that for more than 10 years independents have been looking for ways to finance their endeavors in the field of Alternate Reality Gaming and create a working business model. So far they have failed.
(Perplex City possibly being an exception, but on the other hand there never was a PC2 or a similar project. So, maybe that model was not successful enough)
I personally believe, from a business point of view(!), that the biggest weakness for an ARG is the fact that the experience is not re-playable.
A player missed an ARG and it will never ever come back.
This means that any potentially paying player who missed the experience will never become a paying player for that experience.
The hundreds of hours you invest in creating your ARG are gone soon as the ARG ends.
I personally believe that this is not a sustainable model and that ARGs will evolve into re-playable, scripted experiences. (Real Life events could, for example, still be held during the launch/first run of the experience).
Here are some of my thoughts on some optional models (for traditional ARGs as well as re-playable, scripted versions):
Freemium episode models:
Chop up your experience in chapters/episodes.
The first (couple of them for) free.
If possible, make them re-playable. If not possible, make each episode accessible to players who have not played the previous one.
Have each new episode have something extra at launch: like real life events, personalized stuff etc. Sort of like how some video games have extra bonus content at launch.
Then when you have a re-playable, scripted model you could even offer older experiences at a discount and still make money off those experiences. (NoMimes media has an excellent example of a scripted mini-ARG on their website, I believe that these type of scripted experiences could very well be the future)
I once mentioned this on Twitter and got bombarded with complaints about The Lost Experience.
However, my idea of product placement was more subtle than TLE.
For example: If you're working with video, your character have to wear clothes. Does it really matter if these clothes are sponsored?
(If it does, then logically you do not allow sponsorship for the clothing.)
If a scene is in a restaurant, why not use a restaurant that's willing to pay you? Does it really matter in which restaurant the characters have their scene? (If it does, then logically you do not allow sponsorship for the restaurant location.)
The key is to allow sponsorship/product placement for things that do not influence the story but which you would use anyway and which could be from any brand willing to pay for it.
Has your ARG finished? Did many players like it? Why not sell stuff?
Were there specifically made objects used in the game, visible in pictures/videos? Why not sell them, or even have an auction if your experience had many players. Sell T-Shirts. Sell your handwritten scripts. etc. etc.
I agree with the comment made earlier.
Crowd sourcing should only be used to get things going, but it is not (yet) suited for a business model.
You really, really, really have to offer something huge to have players pay to play your game.
Keep in mind that you are competing with dozens of smaller/independent free games and at any given time there are multiple bigger games that are paid for by sponsoring and have huge budgets to do the most incredible stuff imaginable.
Can you really, honestly compete with that?
Many years have passed since Majestic, so this could be worth a shot, but remember that you will have to invest heavily in such a project.
At the same time there are now many, many ways of free entertainment on the Internet. When you charge people you are no longer just competing with other ARGs, you are competing with any alternative form of entertainment a player could chose to pay for or experience for free.
As for myself. I am currently working on a project that will have some (scripted) interaction but can be replayed, so that the hundreds of hours it will take to develop it will not be lost once the game ends.
The first time the game launches will be through traditional trailheads, but after that you can replay it any time you want.
Sun Apr 08, 2012 11:05 am
Joined: 17 Apr 2012 Posts: 11 Location: Austin, TX
Have to agree with Dominic's assessment. I would imagine a blend of Freemium+Merchandising would be best: Free to play, but the for-pay merchandise includes clues and an opportunity to be a key player.This if, of course, after you have 4-5 months of awesome free content and a fanbase of some sort.
Honestly, PMing a game isn't as easy as most newbs think, and giving money to a novice is just a waste of the players' resources. If you see a game going strong and all of a sudden some fund-raiser or for-sale products show up, then you're more likely to pay up to keep things going.
And, who doesn't want a limited edition T-shirt? If the game is getting bigger and bigger, your one-of-five-hundred T-shirt could be worth some bucks a few months later at the end of the game when 10K players are searching eBay for them...
Tue Apr 17, 2012 2:28 pm
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