Oversteer Racing: Dev blog #24 – The one where we think about the money

Wow, dev blog 24…. that must mean I’ve been blogging about Oversteer Racing for two years… ouch. I’d have hoped to have more to show by this point but the game is something that I can only work on in my spare time and that’s an unpredictable quantity. Also, the game is a labour of love, something I want to do but also something I don’t want to feel like a chore.

Although the game is a labour of love I do want to include some sort of monetisation. It’s not like I’m expecting to retire on the profits but having a bit of income to help pay for my business costs or assets for my next game or even updates to Oversteer Racing would be nice.

I’ve previously mentioned some of my thoughts on monetisation and I’ve given this more thought recently. Having read a few game reviews on the app store it seems that more and more players understand that free-to-play games aren’t free to create and that it’s important for developers to earn some money from their efforts (if only to fund future work rather than make a profit). However, there’s a very clear dislike for large numbers of adverts and many players feeling like the number of ads they see are disproportionate to the amount of playing time they spend in the game. I’ve seen reviews talking about seeing a minute of video ads following a game session that lasted 30s.

In Oversteer Racing it’s clear that the playing time will be quite long. I’m aiming for laps to take around 25s so, even a short 10 lap race would take at least 4 minutes. Consequently showing an advert after a race would not seem, on the face of it, to be disproportionate. I may need to make some concessions though. For example, if you crash out early then perhaps I wouldn’t show an ad and maybe I wouldn’t show an ad after all races. I definitely don’t want to show adverts between menu screens as that, for me, seems pretty aggressive.

I also want people to be able to pay to remove the ads completely. As a parent, and from talking to other parents, I know that this is something that people often want to do for games that their children enjoy.

Rewards

If people do want to see ads and, as a developer, I’m receiving money for that then I’d also like people to be rewarded. They may not have paid for the game but at some level the amount of income generated by an individual player watching ads would reach the level that someone might reasonably have paid for a game (even though it’s free-to-play). At that point I think people should be “rewarded” even though this contradicts the view of some companies where players are “monetised” throughout the entire time they play the game.

I’m not sure what decisions I’ll take in the end but it seems to me that if a player has invested a lot of time in the game then they could be rewarded for that. In a lot of games these people would be seen differently and as a source of continued revenue. My current thinking is that people who watch enough ads to have generated a certain amount of revenue should have access to similar content as anyone who pays. So, for example, if I have an option to purchase new tracks then anyone who “pays” a similar amount through ads should get that content too.

Next month…

I’ll be returning to AI for the rival cars and specifically looking at how cars behave when near other cars and obstacle avoidance.

About Kieren

Director of Mucky Creature Ltd. As it's a one-man games studio I suspect that also makes me lead developer, sound designer, lead artist, marketing director, community support officer etc etc...
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