Charging Download Fees

Discussion in 'Indie Business' started by Davaris, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Davaris

    Original Member

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    I've been thinking about charging a nominal download fee (for a sizable demo) and before I try it out, I thought I'd ask what you guys think of the idea.

    Here are some of the things I've been thinking about:

    1) The huge numbers of people that download demos with no intention of buying them. Why should my paying customers foot the bill?

    2) The mental barrier between a customer and 'that very first purchase'.

    3) The common view that if something is free, it has no value.
     
  2. papillon

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    Sooooooo not willing to pay to download a demo. Not even a quarter.

    On the other hand, forcing me to sit through advertising in order to download a demo, I'd do.
     
  3. Escapee

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    There are thousand of free download sites ( with ads, adsense )avalaible on the internet. You are going to need something extremely unique and addictive to attract paid downloads .
     
  4. Backov

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    They're not, you are. It's a cost of doing business. It's also a tiny cost. At a good, current bandwidth price a 20mb demo download costs you 3/10 of a cent.

    Yep, now add in the download barrier and the fact that you want them to pay for your advertising before you give them the privilege of experiencing it.

    Yep, commercials (and demos) have no value. They still do what they're supposed to do however.
     
  5. moose6912

    moose6912 New Member

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    If I have to pay even a few cents for a demo download. I would not download that demo for 2 reasons

    1) Keying in my payment details just to download a demo is one more unnecessary step that I have to take

    2) I already have to spend time download the demo, so I do not want to pay a few more cents to download the demo.

    Think of it as opening a store that sells chocolates. If you provide small pieces of samples for customers to have a taste test and charge them for the small pieces. You will have very few tasters and even fewer customers
     
  6. Davaris

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    What if instead of calling it a demo, I called it part one? In the case of my game it is accurate. It is the first part (4th or 5th) of the game and there are no restrictions. When you complete it, it tells you to keep going and buy the rest of the game.

    I could have two purchase links on my site, buy part 1 for $5 or buy the whole game for $X. I'd probably have to offer a discount to anyone who bought part 1 though, but I don't think it would be difficult to do.

    As for demos I know of one site that doesn't offer them at all (is it Shrapnel?) and it must be working for them, or they'd be doing what everyone else does.
     
  7. Pyabo

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    That's different... essentially, you're selling a game without a demo. Why not just do an experiment and stop providing your current demo and see how that affects your sales?
     
  8. Mark Sheeky

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    Actually I think this could work. You'd have to provide lots of information about the game to customers, including lots of really cool movies of the game being played and it would have to look beautiful. It would probably have to be an action hardcore genre like FPS, RTS, RPG or racing. If the cost per download was low and very easy to pay then the advantage of potentional "one click" purchase of the full version (which you'd have to implement) might make this work.

    Mark
     
  9. Nikos Beck

    Nikos Beck New Member

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    Advertising is probably the least invasive way of generating revenue from downloads. The penny that it costs you to upload the file is offset by the penny you earn by showing an ad on the download page.

    What about word-of-mouth from someone who downloads and loves the demo? They're friend will download the demo themselves which sets you back a penny but now you have another potential sale.
     
  10. cliffski

    Moderator Original Member

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    hmmmm

    My demo IS my advertising. I want everyone vaguely into games to download the demos of my games and try them. Unless your demos are huge, the cost per download is trivially small.
    Say you pay $100 a month (makes it easy) for 500 gigs bandwidth.
    that's 5 gig per dollar. On a 10 meg game you get 500 downloads per dollar, on one fifth of a cent per download.
    assume a 50MB game and a whole $0.01 per download. Assume a fairly low-average 1% conversion and a $20 revenue per sale.
    you earn $20 and pay out $1 in bandwidth. Who cares?

    Nothing should come before the initial thought of 'I should try this out' and them doing so. No adverts, no newsletter sign-ups, no surveys, no costs, no delays, no logos. nothing.

    Just my opinion.
     
  11. princec

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    The caustic veteran speaks the truth.

    Cas :)
     
  12. HDL

    HDL New Member

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    My current favourite game is Avernum 4, where the demo is huge. After finishing several games I'd paid for in three hours it was an absolute delight to find a demo that took me days to complete and which, by the end of it, had be absolutely hooked. By the time I'd finished the demo there was no way that I wasn't buying the full game. If I'd had to pay for it though (and there was definitely enough there to be considered a game in itself), or if the demo had been limited to just an hour I doubt I'd have bought it.

    I'd a similar experience with Aveyond as well. Ahriman's Prophecy is offered for free on the site, and it's a prequel to Aveyond. If I hadn't played that wonderful, long, free game and wasn't well aware of the quality of Amanda's work then I may not have been tempted to buy Aveyond.

    Use your demo as advertising for your game, to get people interested in it and to build up a community surrounding it. People are more likely to buy a game if they have a demo to play. The better the demo, the more chance they'll buy the full game.
     
  13. Spore Man

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    A demo answers these important questions:

    A. Will it work properly on my system?

    B. Does it deliver what it promises?

    C. Is it well made? Polished? Free of bugs?

    D. Do I like it?

    etc

    That's the whole point of a demo. To test the waters. And the bandwidth consumption is just part of your cost of doing business (file it under your marketing budget!)
     
  14. Sol_HSA

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    The way I've understood "indie" game pricing was that the cost of a game, for a customer, consists of:

    1. digging up the cc
    2. entering the information
    3. paying X amount of money.

    where optimal number for X is slightly less than the effort to do 1 and 2. If it's higher, people will stop and consider if the game is really worth it.

    Now, if I'd have to do 1 and 2 just to see the demo? No thanks.
     
  15. Davaris

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    To be honest I'm not really concerned about the download cost. I'm just looking for a way to try something new, because the try before you buy system doesn't work very well for my game.

    In fact it doesn't work on me (as a customer) at all. I have never ever bought a try before you by game. I might download and play one, but after that I lose any desire to buy them. However if a product has cool promo pics and I can't touch it, I want to own it. :)

    I've played a couple of his demos and they are so big that I have never got to the end of them. Of course I get bored and stop playing them half way through and then there is no reason to buy.
     
  16. KNau

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    If try and buy isn't working you could always go freeware / ad supported.
     
  17. Davaris

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    The other thing I've noticed about my playing habits is if a game is complicated and its a free demo I'll give up pretty quick. However if I've paid for it, I'll make the effort to learn, because you know... I paid for it. This could be one reason why Shrapnel don't offer demos, because war games can be very complicated.

    I've thought about it but I don't know where you'd go to get that kind of thing and it doesn't pay much more than a few cents per download does it?
     
  18. Jack Norton

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    If you take this route, be ready to get lot of refunds... :eek:
     
  19. Davaris

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    I noticed it doesn't cost you anything to give a refund through RegNow, so I don't fear refund requests at all. :)

    I'd still like to try that low fee for part 1 of the game idea, but after all that has been said here, I'm concerned that the process will be too complicated for the buyers.
     
  20. Backov

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    If that's what it says, I'm sure they'll honor it.

    That is, until they cancel your account for too many refunds.
     

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