CoG business model

Hosted Games get less exposure, so allowing people to download it for free increases the chance of downloads. Unless the writer has a following, they need to build up readership primarily. Marketing it as free vs. even 99cents is much easier.

As a reader, I like the option of downloading for free then paying to support the writer by turning off ads.

I’d rather pay $1 and own it outright, although $2 or $3 and owning it outright still seems like a good deal. If there is a ‘remove ads’ option that should be charged at $1 or $2 in my opinion. If the game is good enough I’ll happily support the author by paying to remove ads.

I would prefer the option to remove the ads for $2, myself. But if I’m to be perfectly honest, I think it would result in a considerable loss of income. So I would probably rather the other option in order to keep COG going, even if it means I don’t get the option I would personally prefer.

@Mardam if you have any of the other games with ads on, I think it would be the same as them. A lot of the ads are for other CoG games.

I support the free version + ads idea…and if the game has more parts then price them for 89 cents for example (first one free, others for fee). In every CoG game with ads I bought the option to disable them just because I want to support the writer and I think many people will think similar.

@Redgrave That is, in no small part, because our advertising service experiencing some serious cash flow problems.

In our ongoing efforts to monetize our games, we were first banned from AdWords/AdSense. Then AdSense bought AdMob. AdMob was brought under the umbrella of AdSense after about four months, and when the conversion was complete, we were blocked from any further use of AdMob.

Which brings us to MobClix, are current advertising partner. MobClix has been having financial trouble since early last year. They are supposed to pay using N90 terms (meaning, we get paid around August 5th for the month of April).

Their last missive stated that we were going to be paid for June on December 7th. That has not happened. As you may have noticed, that’s more than 60 days overdue (on top of the N90 terms).

Thus, while MC has not paid us for months and months, their system is still working. Part of their system allows us to run “House Ads”. Back in July, we started running House Ads. We can measure the number of clicks on the House Ads by game, and pay royalties to our authors based on those clicks.

We’re not paying as well as MC does (we recently upped the rate to $0.03/click, and may up it again soon), but unlike MC, we’re paying, and we’re paying immediately (payments for House Ads go out with the monthly royalty payments, about ten days after the close of the month).

Unfortunately, much as there was a big step down from AW to AM, and from AM to MC, there’s an even larger step down from MC to the next best advertising provider. And, for the time being, even though MC is so behind, we’re not quite willing to fully divest from MC in favor of something that may very well be no better.

I would be more inclined to buy a game I haven’t herd of if it was cheap and had the option to remove the adds if I liked it, but as a fan of the work you guys do, if you were to put an increased price on an unknown game, it tells me you yourself thinks its worth it ,and would give you guys the benefit of the doubt and buy it anyway. I no that doesn’t help you sorry…

Stick ads on the game if you want, but I’ll be frank, there are no ads on the internet anymore. Not to anyone with any sense to get adblock plus. And that’s the advertiser’s fault, most people got sick of intrusive spam heavy ad sites, when I go to my sister’s (she’s clueless about computers anyway) and I go on the internet there, it’s like torture. Adverts every where. Urgh.

Point is, I think the majority of people will just block the ads and play on anyway so it’s not really that viable of an idea imo for the net anyway.

I’d happily pay upfront for a hosted game ($2 seems reasonable - would this equate to about £1.70?), but I do prefer the model where you can play part of the game for free (ZE did this I think?) and then pay for subsequent updates. I think by the end of a decent length first chapter, you know if you like the game or not and if you’re willing to pay for it.

For me, ads don’t bother me too much, but if I enjoyed a game, I’d pay to remove them in order to support the author.

Off the current subject on prices,. I had an idea to help recent cash flow problems. Now it’s a bit “out there” but has anyone ever thought to confront the education bored and tryed to insert yourselfs into the reading program’s? it hits all the marks, Parents that worry about kids playing too much video games are happy because they are now reading, and the kids are happy to still play games (and your making money)? Like I said, it’s Abit out there but…

Great conversation. As the author of one of the new games coming out, I’ve been following this conversation closely. My game is Life of a Wizard and it’s roughly 150k words. It’s my first game through COG so I have no fan base. I am worried that ad supported games are in trouble due to the fact that the current ad company hasn’t paid our developers in 4 months. Some of you have Beta Tested my game and know what it’s like. The game has no demo version and a sequel is unlikely due to the scope of the game. Considering all of this:

  1. Should I release the game for free with ads and an option to pay to remove them? If so, how much should I charge to remove ads?

  2. Should I charge to buy the game? If so, how much?

As one of those that hasn’t had the honour of testing the game it’s hard to say, and made even more difficult with the ad company problem… In this case I’d even suggest a third option(for those on phone), being able to download the demo, and pay for the full game if they like it?

@Lucid a free, short demo seems like a good idea. Having been one of the privileged ones able to beta-test your game, I would personally charge between £2.99 and £3.49 (sorry, I don’t know what that equates to in dollars) for the game. I’d probably charge £1.99 to remove ads- any less and you won’t earn as much as you could, any more and not enough people would remove them. Personally I feel you should charge to buy the game and possibly charge to remove ads as well, having tested it I would say it would definitely be worth paying a (relatively) decent amount for, and once it comes out hopefully people will give it the credit it deserves on the forums and encourage more people to buy it.

In summary:

  1. dependent on the answer to 2- if no, definitely, £1.99 at least, but possibly more. If the answer to 2 is yes, I’d still go for a ‘remove ads’ button but make it a bit cheaper.

  2. I’d definitely say yes- the game is really too good to not charge for it, considering all current releases have been charged and (without wanting to give away any spoilers) I think Wizard’s Life is easily better than them.

@Lucid CoG (or anyone else) can correct me if I’m actually mistaken in this belief but, even when there are absolutely no problems with the ad company, I think you’ll find that free-with-ads is not exactly a money-spinner. If you’re hoping to get something worthwhile out of this, put a price tag on it - especially as you’ve stated that it’s unlikely to have a sequel, so it’s not a case of trying to build a huge (free) fanbase with the intention then of selling all your avid readers a follow-up game… That, to my way of thinking, would be the only good reason for releasing any decent, large game as free-with-ads.

Bear in mind also that, for the vast majority of players–and for most games they release–CoG’s standard price is extremely good value-for-money in this day & age, considering the time & effort that actually goes into producing one of these things.

Above all, if you don’t place any value on your own game, why should anyone else?

All that said, @Redgrave’s point about a short demo is a very good one. Something able to be downloaded & tried for free is always a good idea, to help convince the large percentage out there who wouldn’t normally buy anything unless they have a good reason to. I would recommend having a close look to see if you can turn the first 10-20% of your game into a free demo, and let your game speak for itself.

My heart supports the free with adds idea, but my mind can tell that no money will be made by that. It depends on whether you want to have some money for your hard work or popularize choice of games. A free game would make CoG famous if it was good and came out at the right time to the right people.

@Lucid, I agree that your game’s worth charging for. And I don’t think it’s your job to popularize CoG. So here’s another vote for give-them-a-demo and charge. One issue is that the depth and scope of your game might not be immediately apparent from the demo – so I’d suggest ending the demo with a teaser that sketches out some of the major milestones and at least some of the possible endings to shoot for (e.g. become a lich, father the next king, bring about a Golden Age, conquer the world).

Even though my young mind has no experience of making money while pleasing your audience.In a perfect world, it would be free-to-play forever, like it used to. But consider the fact that the Authors not only have to write but program and then fix the errors and so on. So it’s alot of work to actually make a game. And I appreciate it, I even help my grandfather when we go on holiday to his farm just so I won’t feel like I’m being a spoilt daughter to my parents.

Lots of excellent suggestions. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • Ad-based revenue is difficult at the best of times, so it looks like this will become a purchased game.

  • The administration doesn’t like demos for apps, although they are okay with them for the web based versions.

  • As a Hosted Game, they like to stick to $1.99, but Choice Of games go for $2.99.

So, it looks like this game will go for $1.99 once it’s released.

Thanks for your input!

I find that paid CoG games downloads are abysmal in comparison to their free stuff.
People see a price tag and think ‘nah’ and move on without even trying your game - I know - I’ve been there.

My personal favourite approach is where it’s all one ‘free’ app, but you have to pay for the second/third/fourth parts - Like Choice of Romance and Zombie Exodus.

You need to give people a chance to try the game before paying for it, however you do it, because let’s face it: No CoG game looks good in screenshots.

Was just looking around at what happened to the traditional AAA and I found this, in case you guys haven’t: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JoshBycer/20121211/183293/Are_AAA_Studios_DOA.php

Not much of “solution” with pricing scheme per se, but analysis on consumer behavior is interesting nevertheless.