The answer depends. If someone is paying full price for a game, then we’re talking about a lot.
Here comes the trick — don’t expect that the game will always be free. Many developers don’t want to go this way, because there is a big barrier to entry.
“The barrier to entry comes through making your product and selling it to someone. If you get people to install your software and buy it, it’s going to take time for you to make that money back,” says Scott Guthrie, developer and publisher at Double Fine Productions. “Once you have enough to pay for the game, it’s going to be in there, and you’re going to keep making more games, and that’s a constant cycle.”
Guthrie says games are made to be bought. They’re not made to be enjoyed. “One of the biggest misconceptions in how we make games is that we make them to be played, but the truth is, they’re made to be played,” he says. “We’re made to be more than you. We’re made to be more than someone else is capable of making.”
On the other hand, if someone is paying for the digital download of a game from GameStop, the price is going to be very low.
Guthrie says it’s easy to get the mentality “all games are free, but then when you have a million gamers getting one each day, then you have to really work and get really rich off of it,” that you’re somehow shortchanged.
He says it’s an idea that comes from an earlier, less successful era of game development. He has seen the need to work to turn a profit.
“The idea of ‘making it’ is the most important thing. We’re looking for revenue so that we can have some money to start working on our next projects,” says Guthrie. “We don’t have to be making games forever to get our own income. We can start making one right now and then we’d rather have it than not be making it at all, because it’s an asset of our own. So we have to get something out. And that’s very different from making a game.”
Game developers want to know what’s on the horizon so they know what’s happening and what they won’t be able to do without funding. It’s a process that takes time. Games are not meant to be cheap.
“We are working very hard to reach the goal
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