Why Free Games?
[The text is just a transcript of the video...]
I want to keep making free games, and this is why:
Most of the games you can buy on your phone these days cost only 99 cents. And it looks like PC games are starting to head that way too. This price does not in any way reflect the actual time and effort it takes to make a game. Some of these games are made by one person in a few weeks, but others take a team of people months or years to build.
In order to survive you either have to a huge advertising budget, or, you have to hope that somehow your game becomes a viral mega-hit. You can’t predict it, and you certainly can't rely on it. This system is broken.
Then we have so-called "free-to-play" games. Many of these claim to be free but actually require you to spend money on energy or coins to keep playing, sometimes sacrificing the actual game design in the process. They often use exploitative techniques and this brings up troubling questions of addiction. This system is broken.
You can try to survive using advertising, but ads distract you from the game, they take up part of the screen, you click on them by accident, and they’re not related to the experience of the game. You need thousands of people to see them in order to make money at all, and that money is coming from a third-party with no connection to the creator or the player. This system is also broken.
Now let's say I get lucky, and manage to sell enough games to support myself. Some people will buy my game, play it once, and then delete it, never touching it again. I still have their money, but there’s no connection there, they don’t know who I am, or what I’m doing with that money, and they probably don’t care. Even when it works, I think the system could be better.
So what’s the alternative?
Well, there are many potential solutions, but the one I’m trying now is crowd-funding.
First, it’s a pay-what-you-can model, which makes a lot more sense to me. Some people are happy to pay more than that ubiquitous $1 price-tag. Everyone’s situation is different.
It’s also more than just an impulse purchase. You're making an investment, in a real person, because you believe in what they’re doing.
And finally, if the games themselves are free there’s no need to worry about clones or copy-protection or piracy. In fact it makes sense to share the games as widely as possible and to encourage others to copy them and share them as well. After all, digital games are essentially free to distribute anyway so all these artificial restrictions we’ve built up will continue to cause problems in the future.
I’m not trying to sell a product with this campaign, I’m trying to sell a vision. In this vision, creators & artists are free to experiment, to innovate, and to share their creations with everyone, without worrying about how to pay rent.
Products are great, but they’re not as important as people. We need to help each other and create amazing new things by working together… as a spaceteam.
That's why I want my games to be free.
If this philosophy sounds intriguing to you, then please share the campaign as widely as you can. These broken systems affect all of us, and I can’t change them by myself. I need your help. And I’d love to hear what you think about all of this, so please join me in the forum or on Twitter and let’s talk about how we can make it happen.