Hobby - or Professional?


Currently, I am working my "dayjob", and I cannot wait to get home and start on the game again. This is also true for Bound to College. I really would like to use these sprites for BtC as well. And I am writing a script for BtC, to get the story straight and have a path I can follow, just like I have now with (B)Engel.

So more and more, the idea comes to my mind: What if - you could create these games and make a living out of them?

Surely it would help to finish a game and see what the revenue would be like. Considering I am not doing a lot of marketing at all and have not completed a single game, this might be a far fetch.

On the other hand, thanks to your ongoing support, I already earn a little. So far, I mostly blew it to the DAZ3d store, donated it, upgraded my computer, or supported other artists.

The question is: WHAT IF? 

  • What if spend 8-10 hours a day on the game, instead of 2-3 after work?
  • What if I do finish a game, and set a reasonable price tag on it?
  • What if I hire people, to help me finish certain things?
  • What if I do some marketing for myself, instead for a faceless company?

Some of you might have wondered why Bound to College suddenly has a price tag. 

It is a test for me. To see if and how much people are willing to pay for an unfinished game in development without any update coming any time soon. 

The outcome is quite discouraging if you google "Visual Novel earnings" or something similar. Almost everyone tells you to better not do it. It is hard to come by any figures on how much you can expect to earn. So basically, all I have is my own experience. And the question is: How much up can it go? 

Long story short: The decision is more or less made for me. I want to do it. I want to take the risk. 

The only question is: When? 

So right now, I try to push (B)Engel forward as hard as possible, with the prospect of being able to do so full-time soon, and I hope for the figures to continue to go up. Up to the point where I dare to do the final step.

That said, once again, I want to THANK YOU ALL for your ongoing support, without which I could not even consider it.

Oliver

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Comments

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(2 edits)

Two things to consider:

1. Monetising a hobby can make that hobby into work - draining your motivation to do it.

2. People want to support developers they like but may not want to support a specific game. You might consider a revenue/donation stream that is not linked to a specific game, e.g. a Patreon  or alternative channel where those who want to support you regularly can do so.

Good luck!

Thank you for your advice. Both points are valid. To be honest: payments here at itch.io were almost non-existent until I set a price tag. It is the generously support over Patreon that gives me the chance even to consider it.

Also true is the point that work is work. So it won’t be “just” a hobby anymore. Lack of motivation or a just a creative blockade can have a significant impact. Or people simply not liking what I do anymore. 

I have been self-employed before and know what it is like not to be able to pay you bills anymore. That’s why I am so hesitant and want to make sure I can sustain myself with this.

(+4)

Another perspective: As a customer, software developer and business owner, I will offer other perspectives.  

You have a well liked product in BtC.  You have stated you look forward to working on visual novels at the end of your normal work day.  These are very positive attributes and can be the basis for financial success.

Now for some honest feedback. From a customer perspective, your current choices have a negative effect on your brand as a creator/developer.  Customers will naturally now ask if your next project will also be abandoned before completion. This will affect the number of customers willing to pay for BtC or future projects.  It will also affect how much customers will be willing to pay.

From a pure business perspective, you get paid for results, not for effort.  The amount you can charge for results depends on what customers perceive as valuable in the quality and content of your product.

You can change course and finish BtC.  If you chose this path, by releasing incremental content or finalizing the story, you could get a better idea of what customers are willing to pay for your work.

Please know I make these comments out of respect for the great work you have done with BtC and my sincere wish that you can create a successful business doing the work you enjoy. I wish you all the best as you determine your path forward!

(+1)

You are right. From a business prospective, this is what I SHOULD do. And I considered it.

If I intended to do this, I’d have two opportunities:

1. Finish it “properly”, which would mean I won’t be able to become a professional any time soon. And we are talking years here, with all the branches and alternative endings planned already.

2. Cutting Corners

This is what you see on many games on a budget. Even with AAA titles. For me it would mean unsolved story parts, inconsistencies, “cheap” renders, shorter stories, no more animations, and so on. Especially the kind of “multiverse” going on right now, where player choices not only lead to a different ending, but very different branches throughout the game, would have to be stopped.

Yes, I would have a finished game, and I could achieve this in maybe a month, or two. And it might be the right thing to do from a business perspective.

But then again, I did this, and I want to continue it, because I love doing it. 

So I won’t cut any corners here. 

Instead, I try to find a way to do both: Continue with BtC, like I intended it to be, and develop it properly.

So to create BEngel, and finish it, should be shorter and more efficient, than to finish BtC at this point. You only get the scale of BtC, when you played it several times.Because of the alternative branches. I totally messed up with the scale of it.

So I cannot stress this enough: I did not abandon BtC. Just the opposite. I try to find a way, to continue and end it properly.

(+7)

"How much people are willing to pay for an unfinished game in development without any update coming any time soon"

-

Yeah, everyone know the answer, nobody. Why pay for a game that has no updates, instead of paying for those that do ?

When I start supporting a developer, if I don't see regular announcements or updates within 2/3 months of the last update I stop.

Now what if you do regular update, and set a reasonable price on it, well, do it. People will pay for a good game, and updates.

BTC have a great story and many ideas to continue, if you want and can do that, add a sandbox mode.

(+1)

Thank you for your feedback. As I mentioned before, I did not stop working on the game. The next update will take a while, and I will prioritize (B)Engel for the time being. That said and based on your feedback, I just released the current state of the next update.

Also, please don't pay for the game, if you have already downloaded it. Make sure to download it from "My collections" page in your account, or from the email sent to you when you first downloaded the game. 

You should be able to download it for free this way. 

I would not want you to pay for every update, and I do not want to make people pay who have been supporting me already. 

If you have any issues with that, please contact me.

(+3)

"How much people are willing to pay for an unfinished game in development without any update coming any time soon" - I think you should know the answer.

(+1)(-1)

if there's any more content other then what came with the last update id buy it.

(+1)

If you have downloaded the game, before I set the price, you still should be able to download it for free. Look at the "My collections" page in your account. It should be listed there.