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Making a profitable XNA Community Game

Last post 7/23/2008 6:15 PM by JoelH. 18 replies.
  • 6/13/2008 5:31 AM

    Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    I know there is no official word from Microsoft on how to get revenues from community games downloads, but even if that never happens and all games are given away for free, there are many other ways to at least get back all that time and money invested on your indie project.

    I would like to hear what others are planning to make a profitable XNA community game. I think that advergaming is one of the best ways to achieve this. Something like that game called Yaris that I have seen on some members Gamertag.

    I would also like to know what stats are going to be available for us creators. I think that at least a download counter is mandatory in order to offer advertising space on our games. A playing time counter will be a dream come true, but I don't think even XBOX Live Arcade titles have that info. I guess that retail games have all that information and much more.

     

     

  • 6/13/2008 6:06 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    Revenue... being investigated... more to come in coming months... ;-)

    Stats... being investigated... download stats seems a good place to start. Playing time probably not. # of times your game crashed, maybe. If you have other good ideas, post them on the connect feedback site, we'd love to hear them.

  • 6/13/2008 5:29 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    Leaderboards would be great. With leaderboards, you can always create special statistics boards to put your data in :-)

    To generate revenue, you could have an unlock mechanism, where someone pays you money and gets an unlock code. The unlock code would be some hash of their gamer tag and a key, and the game would know whether it's right or not. Because it's a hash, you can't use the same unlock code for two different gamer tags. Just beware that if you're not selling anything tangible, you should budget 10-20% of your revenue to credit card charge-backs and fraud.

    In fact, you could probably create a collectible trading card game mechanic based entirely on that revenue mechanism.
  • 6/13/2008 9:51 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    You could explore the Shareware idea and leave it to the individuals conscience to pay a shareware fee.
  • 6/13/2008 10:47 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    jwatte:
    Leaderboards would be great. With leaderboards, you can always create special statistics boards to put your data in :-)

    To generate revenue, you could have an unlock mechanism, where someone pays you money and gets an unlock code. The unlock code would be some hash of their gamer tag and a key, and the game would know whether it's right or not. Because it's a hash, you can't use the same unlock code for two different gamer tags. Just beware that if you're not selling anything tangible, you should budget 10-20% of your revenue to credit card charge-backs and fraud.

    I had the same idea but then I wondered how Microsoft would feel not getting a share of the millions I would be sure to make...

    Shame the EULA forbids it right now...

    b. Programs developed for the Xbox 360 Platform
    i. Personal Use.  Use of any programs developed for the Xbox platform using the software is restricted to your personal, non-commercial use. 

     

  • 6/13/2008 11:57 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    Please, no legal interpretations on the forums! Personally, I think that selling codes is separate from using any particular software -- and, specifically, the player who plays the game is not doing it for commercial purposes. But if you really want to have an opinion, rather than hot air, go talk to your lawyer :-)

     

  • 6/14/2008 12:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    Isn't that my line? Heck I'm the 1st to shut down the armchair lawyers....

    But I thought I was pretty darn safe with that quote... making money on the 360 using an app you wrote using XNA seems like a commercial enterprise to me and its the person selling not the player I was thining about.  

    But I will clarify Jon is right, IANAL, this is my personal opinion, please consider that part of the EULA and go talk to your lawyer if you decide to do this....

  • 6/14/2008 3:27 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    jwatte:

    To generate revenue, you could have an unlock mechanism, where someone pays you money and gets an unlock code. The unlock code would be some hash of their gamer tag and a key, and the game would know whether it's right or not. ... In fact, you could probably create a collectible trading card game mechanic based entirely on that revenue mechanism.

    What a great Idea. I was actually thinking on making an strategy game where you may get additional characters when providing a special code, it never occured to me to use a Hash based on the gamertag to prevent pirated claims.

    Antony Kancidrowski:
    You could explore the Shareware idea and leave it to the individuals conscience to pay a shareware fee.

    Well, I have never sent a penny to shareware developers, not even to Winzip. I am really gratefull to a lot of tools and software that I have used, but sending money over the Internet is not an easy step for people residing outside the US. Still a good alternative that I may take into account for some of my games.

    Jenkmeister:

    Stats... being investigated... download stats seems a good place to start.

    Excellent!

  • 6/19/2008 7:20 AM In reply to

    What's Next ?

    I have been watching XNA from the beginning,as a professionnal game developper , I subscribed here a few months ago

    but there is something terrible I would really see in the next release of the framework , it's a native physic engine... with

    a C# wrapper on it, as for the Graphics module, not the  top of the noch as Havok or whatever,  but the minimal to setup

    a rigid body world, collision detection on some primitives (boxes, capsules, spheres) and the base to create joins (hinge , hinge2,..) , as an

     ODE or Newton (free) engine would  provide...

     

    This is something I really wait for as for me XNA propose  a 99 % great production pipeline... except on this *only* point, so

    please just review this position and you will get much much more quality content  (Mr Black , Mr Strayer  , Mr Hansen   ?     )

     

    Cheers

     

  • 6/19/2008 12:44 PM In reply to

    Re: What's Next ?

    I believe someone started a wrapper for Havok and there's already a couple of physics engines out there (Farseer, NGD). Asking for one to be built in to the XNA Framework is like asking for it to be built into DirectX IMO. There's a lot of other things I'd prefer to see worked on than a physics engine.
  • 6/19/2008 5:09 PM In reply to

    Re: What's Next ?

    Microsoft has repeatedly stated that XNA is an enabling technology, not a game engine. They do not provide a content pipeline (hence no built-in animation), no scene graph (hence no built-in occlusion or transparency sorting), no game entity system, and no physics.

    Also, if you wrap a native engine, then you can't run it on the Xbox, because you don't get to compile native code there.

    There are a few C# physics engines usable on the Xbox and Windows already, including BulletX, Farseer and JigLibX, so if that's all that's preventing you, I suggest you use one of those and make your game already :-)


  • 6/26/2008 6:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game


    Jenkmeister:

    Revenue... being investigated... more to come in coming months... ;-)


    Excellent! I'm excited to hear the developer/Microsoft revenue split will be.

    Jenkmeister:

    Stats... being investigated... download stats seems a good place to start.

     
    Also great!

     

    I've looked, but I haven't seen if there will be a user rating (based on fun, or however the user wants to rate the game) that's attached to the game and different from the peer review entry rating. I assume there will be something like this, but a system that let's the players (say, only after they've purchased the game and played for at least an hour or so) give the game a star rating (0-5). Then anyone looking at the list of games, in addition to looking at them by category, could look at the list based on user ratings.
  • 6/26/2008 8:53 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    You could even analyze download/rating patterns to generate "if you like X, you may also enjoy Y!" messages.
  • 6/26/2008 10:03 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game


    ShawMishrak:
    You could even analyze download/rating patterns to generate "if you like X, you may also enjoy Y!" messages.

    Right! Or more similar to the Amazon model, it could be like "users who downloaded this game also download these other games" and provide a compiled list.

  • 7/10/2008 6:22 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    I hope microsoft doesnt allow us to use microsoft points as a way to make money off our games. I think this will cause nothing but shovelware and rushed game projects. Now im not saying that we shouldn't be able to add our own ways of gaining some type of revunue but off of microsoft points im gonna pray that we can't. Too muich shovelware and noone will use the xna service. All xna games on the service should be free to play. Maybe microsoft could add sometype of add system in so we could gain some profit off that something similar along the lines of google adsense.
  • 7/10/2008 8:10 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    I'd much rather they let me charge for my game if I want. Fact is that you will still get rushed games and trash games regardless of cost. But it's unfair to then say that developers like myself and others who want to make some quality games (and try to profit from the work) should have to give our games away. It's a two way street: charge money for crap and risk losing gamers, make all games free and risk losing developers. I know I would start focusing more on Windows development if they announce that all Community Games must be free. But from the looks of the GameFest details, they have a session focusing on the Community Games (Community Games on Xbox LIVE Marketplace), so hopefully we'll find out more then.
  • 7/10/2008 9:41 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    I'd like to see a model like the Apple Apps store that just launched. They take 30% and let the developers decide what to charge for their games (or apps).

     


  • 7/11/2008 1:25 AM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    Nick Gravelyn:
    I'd much rather they let me charge for my game if I want.

    I agree.  If someone wants to give their game away for free, fine.  But if someone is willing to pay for my game, I should be allowed to sell it.

  • 7/23/2008 6:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Making a profitable XNA Community Game

    MarkcusD:
    I'd like to see a model like the Apple Apps store that just launched. They take 30% and let the developers decide what to charge for their games (or apps).

     

    It's like you have psychic powers!

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