Releasing a Hosted game for free (No ads, waiting, optional purchases)

Something I would like to ask about. Would Hosted Games accept a submission if the writer insists on the game being absolutely free? I have searched past postings but have not found any concrete answers to this question. I found a previous post where it apparently costs (correct me if I’m wrong) about $1000 for CoG to publish a game under the Hosted Games label, so I thought I’d ask about this.

For the record, I was a very active lurker in CoG during the really early days of the company, before the forums even existed. I am aware of the Adsense incident and the various discussions on how CoG could come up with a new business model going forward.

To be upfront, I have completed a game (I’m planning to post a closed beta soon) which I am considering entering in a comp (IFcomp or Spring Thing 2024). Assuming responses are positive, I will consider following up with a Hosted Games release, although I would like to release it for free. Also, I believe some online competitions such as Introcomp do not permit commercial releases, so I thought this would be a question worth asking.

1 Like

Best to contact Hosted Games directly to check in about details. Certainly Creatures Such As We was published through CoG to be played for free after being in IF Comp so there is some precedent.

There’s still the option to purchase, though.

Thanks for the replies. Interestingly, I returned to Creatures Such As We (I have the app on my phone) but it now has ads with a paid upgrade option. I could have sworn it was completely free when I first downloaded it, though…

Alternatively you can compile a ChoiceScript game and release it online yourself for free, as long as there isn’t a price or optional-donation on there.

1 Like

Yes. Contact COG to be sure, but they have to pay their staff so I’m assuming games through HG will at least need to have an ad, DLC or wait timer on them to be released.

If you don’t want to monetise your game in any way, I’d look at hosting through

Creatures such as we was a special case I think. I’m pretty sure most games that are released via comps such as IFComp need to be extended out and have unreleased material to be released via HG on a case by case basis on discussion with COG.

I thought about that, but the Hosted Games label does provide access to a large existing choicescript fanbase. Such things would be invaluable to a writer who has yet to build an audience, especially if I decide to monetise a future project at a later date.

Hmm… I wasn’t aware of this… I might have to look into adding content post-comp. Actually, if a game did well in a comp, I was under the impression that CoG would be eager to add it to their selection of titles.

Have to speak to them. I do remember asking about it at some point as I have multiple comp entries floating around at least one of which I wanted to turn into a HG but can’t find the thread (maybe I emailed, can’t remember it was a while back.)

The only other published example I can think of is Scarlet sails which is a released IFComp entry (placed highly) but it had additions to make it about twice as to be publishable as a HG. I’m hoping to release Raishall (Ectocomp) but it’s at least 10x longer than the original with additional images so again significantly different from the original. On the HG page there’s now a clause in the HG prerequities that says you cannot host the same game in a competing format elsewhere while it is on the HG platform, so unless your game is significantly altered it may not be a sure thing they would accept it.

Introcomp is a bit of a rarity in the comp spheres not allowing commercial release afterwards (although need to read the fine print and comps like IFComp are meant to be available forever not taken down afterwards for a commercial release). From what I can gather, I don’t think they want introcomp to turn into a format where people can get free testing of their commercial game or to get free advertising to launch a kickstarter, rather than to get feedback to improve your game creation skills and showcase an early WIP such as is the goal of this particular comp.

1 Like

Alright, thanks. I’m guessing you were talking about this? (I just stumbled upon it.) Seems that it’s a case-by-case thing.

Yep that was one of them. I seem to remember something else as well about lengthening the game out, but as it was a while back can’t quite remember where/who/how. Might even have been a conversation with the author of Scarlet Sails about getting their game ready to be published at some point. Sorry! But yeah, basically final say is up to the COG staff. May be a harder sell if you don’t want it monetised in any way but if you’re planning to enter IFComp or SpringThing anyway, not going to lose anything by asking about publishing option.