Stories aren't worth the price

Some of the games only allow you to barely make a character before they ask you to pay money. This is worth nothing, especially from an author who makes short stories for an app. Offer more chapters to actually entice readers or lower the price unless the app itself only wants to rely on a handful of actually good stories for revenue

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@Youdontneedtoknowme, I wonder if your thread name is actually getting at your point: would it be more accurate to say “Stories should offer longer demos or lower their prices”?

I think these threads might address (in part) the issue:

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In my experience, they kinda do lower the price for games with shorter demos, or demos with lower replayability. Or at least, shorter games, which would therefore have shorter demos, probably have lower prices. The price mainly reflects the total amount of content. Sometimes it feels like it should reflect the difference between content provided and content missing, but that’s just not really how product pricing works, in any business, not just CoG. Maybe it could reflect just the amount of content missing, but then you’re just not paying the authors for all the work they did essentially for free, which is particularly a problem if the demo is long.

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I mean how long a demo should be compared to total length or at least average playthrough is considered, so it would be a waste to offer long demos for shorter games

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First off, welcome to the forum! It looks like you just arrived here right before posting this, so it seems that this is an issue that you’re passionate about.

While there are definitely some games that have this issue, I find that most games get their selling point/schtick across by the end of the third chapter, which is uuuuuuuusaaaaally (anecdotally, admittedly–wow, using the suffix “-ly” too often makes all words sound weird) the minimum length of a demo. I think it is a system that, while more fair to authors across Hosted and Choice lines, can end up shooting you in the foot if your story doesn’t pick up until like. Chapter six. Unfortunately though, because of how varied COG’s overall output can be (which is a plus! I like the diversity of its authors and plots), it can always be difficult to have consistent demo length/quality. But that’s something that is true of all games. If you’re not able to decide if you want to purchase a game based on the demo, you can always check in with the forum and see what everyone’s thoughts are!

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It seems a little unreasonable to me to be demanding lower prices because demos are too short. Frankly, a demo is just a small bonus. It’s being offered for free, and while it’s probably a good idea to have one so potential readers know better what they’re getting into, there could very well not be one at all and the price would still be justifiable, because what you’re paying for is the full game.

Of course, a game could simply be bad and thus not worth the price in that sense, but I don’t think that’s what you’re saying here.

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I’m wondering whether this is about the CoG or HG app?

If it’s the latter, then the content will by nature be very diverse in quality and length, since the games are made by different authors, and the Hosted Games label doesn’t have many limits on what they will publish.
I’d say it probably makes more sense to think of it more like a small book publisher, than the other IF apps.

I also think the HG demo lengths are mostly decided by each author?

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I thiiiinnkkkkk this might not be the case when it comes to IF. Hear me out. You can do A LOT of research on games right now. Reviews, Let’s Plays, YouTube, tea leaves, animal sacrifice, whatever. But most of those can’t really be applied to IF, because IFs are just plot, so you probably want to go in fully unspoilered, and if you want THAT you can’t really rely on most of those.

It doesn’t particularly affect me, because heavens know I go through more WIPs that I probably should in any case, but most of the customer base doesn’t have the ability to wander around the forum that I do because they are fools who haven’t realised that online freelancing is the way to go because they have far greater restraints on their time.

Quick, we must re-examine our life choices! :stuck_out_tongue:

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I agree with you. ( :scream:) Without demos, sales numbers would plummet.

cough Lux cough

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I would disagree that IFs are just plot. They have (or at least can have) everything that most other forms of game have, only conveyed through the medium of text as opposed to anything else. Still, you’re probably right that demos are not a small bonus. A significant bonus, then, although still a bonus and not what should be used to calculate the price of the entire product (which would be like saying a box of cereal should cost less because the free samples given out at the supermarket were too small).

You don’t really get gameplay or graphics or music or “plays well enough in a machine with XYZ specs”, which may be all important things when considering a game purchase. Basically, the only way to evaluate an IF game is by plot, and you can’t get that from a third party without spoilering yourself. And, unless that third party does a really in-depth exploration of options throughout several playthroughs, they’re probably not even going to hit the story beats you would. Ergo, a demo that is representative of what you’re going to run into during the game is important. How long the demo should be is dependent on how long it takes the game to reach that representative point. E.g., a Wayhaven demo that ended before you can get a sense for the personalities of the Bravos would be useless.

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…And even if someone did a great review of the early plot, there’s still the chance of you just not being able to warm up to the particular writing style of an author once you read their text for yourself.

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I would say some of the demos out there are pretty useless. But also, they’re free, so I can’t really be disappointed unless I actually buy them…in which case I’d probably be more disappointed by the game than the demo.

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In all honesty it really depends on how the reader feels by the time the demo ends

You didn’t hold back with that title and your personal thoughts (and I appreciate that). I’m not gonna hold back either.

In my view, complaining about the price of these games reeks of entitlement. You probably don’t know, but an average Choicescript game takes months if not years of writing, coding, and testing - the tasks that are hard in and of themselves but are amplified by the fact that the games are usually written by one person (who often has a day job, college, or other responsibilities).

And considering that an average CoG/HG/HC game costs at most a few bucks, complaining about their price (let alone the free demo portion) is pretty heartless. (and if a few bucks is a sizeable sum for you, you probably have more important things to worry about than misleading video game demos)

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Not to mention that they can easily rack up a total wordcount higher than the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so calling them “short stories” is just… something I don’t have vocabulary for.

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In my case, I only bought a handful of them, not so much because of some problems, not related to the topic, but I do enjoy the demos and the free chapters to play, we can do a lot of things to read more or to learn more. If you want to read the story you can help the authors and makers by paying, if we think it’s not worth it, we can just read the free ones, and think of what will happen, we can make our own story on our taste, we can find stories in many books too, or you can search on the internet, this is a nice discussion, thanks~

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