License Options [OLD]

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DM Lackey
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License Options [OLD]

Post by DM Lackey » Tue Nov 22, 2005 10:45 am

Is it possible for a GM to purchase the Player Licenses needed for his/her game? I have found it difficult to find players in the past willing to pay for a License. If I was to host a game as the GM and bought say 6 player licenses, would I be able to pass the access along to my players? In addition, if a player would drop out, would I be able to switch that access to a new player?

Thanks!

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Post by heruca » Tue Nov 22, 2005 2:38 pm

Welcome, DM Lackey.

Some excellent questions! The licensing details are still being worked out, so I can't offer you definitive answers, yet.

What I CAN tell you is that the way I had planned to do it would not have allowed transfer of licenses. But your concern is a legitimate one, so I will see if I can make it happen. I will probably embed any floating licenses in the GM Client. That way, a player who disappears forever won't permanently make off with your paid license.

That means that players with an unregistered Demo will be able to play continuously (no 15-minute time-out period) as long as they are connected to a GM Client with sufficient floating licenses. Players that connect to your host with a registered client will not "use up" one of your floating licenses, of course.

What bothers me about all this is that the poor GM has to shell out big bucks because his players are cheap. It just doesn't seem fair. The GM is already paying more for the GM Client than players do for the Player Client.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Halebop » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:40 pm

This would be a cool idea if you could implement it. I'm not showing off but I make enough money not to worry too much about spending $25 or $100. Most of my players are not so lucky or have obligations like families and mortgages that can make it hard for them to fork out another $25 on every whim the DM has.

Perhaps you can look at packaging a GM client with a number of player client licenses at a somewhat discounted price? Say 10% off for volume. If there is a fixed cost componant to your E-commerce transactions this would also help lower your transactional costs and would certainly reduce admin time by swapping more, lower value sales for less higher value sales.

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Post by heruca » Tue Nov 22, 2005 5:48 pm

Good points, Halebop. I'd certainly want to offer discounted rates for anyone purchasing a lot of licenses at once. And 10% sounds about right, although I'd probably discount even more for really large orders.

And just to clarify, even without floating licenses, the players would only have to "fork out" $15, not $25.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Huyderman » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:22 am

Klooge Werks operates with a similar price for player liscenses (15$), but go as far down as 45$ for four and 60$ for a six pack of floating player liscenses. Altough their GM liscense is much more expensive and don't include a player liscense.
Hope you come up with a bulk pricing scheme, it'll make it easier for me to convince my gaming club to sponsor a set of player liscenses (floating or otherwise).
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Post by heruca » Tue Nov 29, 2005 12:37 pm

Welcome, Huyderman.

Does KW permit you to permanently transfer a floating license to someone? If not, I think that limitation may account for the significant price drops.

I do plan on offering some sort of bulk discount (perhaps at a couple of different levels), to make it more "palatable" for someone wanting to place a large order. Just haven't decided yet exactly what the exact discount will be. Expect more news on this in the next couple of weeks.
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Huyderman » Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:19 pm

I don't think you can transfer, although they have the same pricescheme for both regular and floating.
Anyway, with the steep cost for the GM liscense, Battlegrounds seems much more tempting in any case. :)
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Post by unteins » Thu Dec 01, 2005 1:05 am

Personally as both a GM and a player, I think the player only licenses don't make a lot of sense. I understand you want to make money, and believe me, I understand how hard it can be to get people to pay for things, so feel free to ignore me.

1) As a player, if I only play with 1 GM who uses BRGP, then having the ability to connect to more than one game is meaningless.

2) As a GM, if I only play with one group of players, having them drop out every 15 minutes is irritating and disruptive to game play and I may or may not be able to get them to buy a player license.

3) If I GM with a bunch of different groups, convincing each group to shell out bucks to use the client is even more difficult.

So, I think it would be easier to get players to use the software if the demo client were feature limited and not time limited. For example, fewer macros, no chat log saving, no notepad, etc.

Alternatively, support low cost floating licenses that the GM buys, like say $5/person. This doesn't hurt the GMs so much and it allows the adoption of the software by more players. if a player plays with multiple GMs then all the GMs have to pay $5 for the same person, so the player might want to buy their own client then.

Again, you could make the floating license version less useful than a paid player license, like not being able to save macros between sessions, etc.

Just some thoughts. I do like what I see so far, and the pricing isn't outrageous, I just don't know if the fee structure will actually encourage people to use the software. I would rather sell 1000 copies at $10 than 10 copies at $100.

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Post by heruca » Thu Dec 01, 2005 7:39 am

unteins wrote:Personally as both a GM and a player, I think the player only licenses don't make a lot of sense. I understand you want to make money, and believe me, I understand how hard it can be to get people to pay for things, so feel free to ignore me.

1) As a player, if I only play with 1 GM who uses BRGP, then having the ability to connect to more than one game is meaningless.
This is how I foresee most people using BRPG. I figured that the ability to play with my old gaming buddies from high school and college that I haven't been able to see in many years was worth the modest price of admission. A product like this will let you do so for many years. Isn't that worth the price of going to one or two movies? (and a movie only entertains you for about 2 hours, assuming the movie doesn't suck)
2) As a GM, if I only play with one group of players, having them drop out every 15 minutes is irritating and disruptive to game play and I may or may not be able to get them to buy a player license.
The exact time-out period may change. Let's suppose I end up raising it to 30 minutes. One or two sessions should be plenty of time for someone to see how the features work and be able to tell if BRPG is right for them. The intent of the Demo is to allow the program to be evaluated prior to purchase, not to let people use the game for free.
3) If I GM with a bunch of different groups, convincing each group to shell out bucks to use the client is even more difficult.
Sounds like an ideal candidate for floating licenses.
So, I think it would be easier to get players to use the software if the demo client were feature limited and not time limited. For example, fewer macros, no chat log saving, no notepad, etc.
I considered a feature-limited vs. time-limited approach, but then people might decide not to purchase because the particular feature that they were hoping for might be one of the disabled features. It defeats the purpose of being able to really try out the software to see what it can do, because they'd be left guessing as to how those disabled features work.
Alternatively, support low cost floating licenses that the GM buys, like say $5/person.

Just some thoughts. I do like what I see so far, and the pricing isn't outrageous, I just don't know if the fee structure will actually encourage people to use the software. I would rather sell 1000 copies at $10 than 10 copies at $100.
I certainly hope that the pricing isn't outrageous, since it's less than that of my commercial competitors. And that's really what this all comes down to: what the market will bear. The more competing products out there, the better it will be for everyone, as competition tends to bring prices down, or at least the developers will want to beef up their feature sets to better compete. This is good for the customers.

All told, I will have spent 2 years of development on this, and if I'm really lucky, I might sell a couple of thousand copies. Perhaps a thousand copies a year, for several years. That equates to some $20,000 a year. I could go get a job flipping burgers someplace and make twice that or more. Oh, wait. That's only if I sell at my current price point. If I reduce the price to what you suggest, I'll make about half that. :?

OK, I'm over-simplifying here, because I don't want to get into details like the fact that Paypal will take a cut of every transaction, that the game might flop, that I've had development costs, that I will have to pay for advertising, and travel to attend game conventions, and that hackers or other unscrupulous people might find a way to pirate my software and post it free somewhere.

Hmm, where did I leave that McDonald's job application...?
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Guest » Thu Dec 01, 2005 11:25 am

I fully understand the poor return on development investment. I've written my own pieces of code that took dozens and hundreds of hours, and so far, I think I am amost up to $100 I've made :)

I look forward to the release so I can check it out.

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Post by Dormouse » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:02 am

heruca wrote: And that's really what this all comes down to: what the market will bear.

All told, I will have spent 2 years of development on this, and if I'm really lucky, I might sell a couple of thousand copies. Perhaps a thousand copies a year, for several years. That equates to some $20,000 a year.
Well, it is about what the market will bear and how you can make the most revenue. Your development time is already spent and will either prove to be worth it (in financial terms) or not.

If I use the prog, it will probably be at home with a tabletop game and give me a bit more flexibility and less ink usage than printing maps. I will need the GM map, the players will need a Players map (with all the players on it). I assume that I will need the GM version plus 1 floating license? That's OK. Less OK, if I needed 4 or 6 floating licenses. On the other hand, if everyone were playing online, that cost would feel reasonable.

My market segment is probably quite small, but your pricing structure needs to be calculated to produce the most income overall from all segments of the market.

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Post by heruca » Sun Dec 18, 2005 10:21 am

Dormouse wrote:I will need the GM map, the players will need a Players map (with all the players on it). I assume that I will need the GM version plus 1 floating license?
Welcome, Dormouse.

You can either use a GM Client and one Player Client, or a GM Client with one Floating License and the free Demo. Your players will get a composite image of what all their characters can see (the only way around that in a face-to-face session is for each player to have his own laptop).

Since my last post here, I raised the Demo's disconnect time-out period to 30 minutes (I agree that 15 minutes was too short). So now, one or two sessions should be enough for players to see if they like the software enough to justify buying it.

And yesterday I announced a sale price that lowers the cost of the Player Client and the Floating Licences from $14.95 to $12.95 (and Floating Licences can even be bought in bulk for just $10.00 each).
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Kepli » Sun Dec 18, 2005 11:13 am

Very nice Heruca ... 8)
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Post by Dormouse » Sun Dec 18, 2005 12:34 pm

heruca wrote:You can either use a GM Client and one Player Client, or a GM Client with one Floating License and the free Demo. Your players will get a composite image of what all their characters can see (the only way around that in a face-to-face session is for each player to have his own laptop).
That's fine. The point of face-to-face sessions is the faces to faces really & working as a group so there is no disadvantage to this. I'd hate to be facing a set of laptops & we'd probably still have a battlegrid on the table.

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Post by Dormouse » Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:17 pm

The only other thing I'd say about making money from BRPG is that you essentially have 2 choices at the beginning to kick the whole thing off.

The first is to charge high because the initial users will be the most keen & then gradually reduce prices to bring more customers in (the typical pricing strategy in IT, much software, electronics etc).

The other is to start with very large discounts (it is easier to reduce/remove discounts than it is to increase the published price). That gets more people in early who can then be your evangelists & creates a community. Once a product like this has a lot of community acceptance, then it is much easier to sell because players know that they can join a lot of games with it & that it won't be money down the drain. Progs like winrar, winzip & zonealarm started free & then became priced (pricey?) once their reputation was established - but they'd never have got that reputation if they had not started free.

Looking at the competition (superficially anyway), I certainly don't think that you need to reduce your basic prices. One way of giving initial purchasers a bigger discount without costing yourself anything in the near future is to give them free upgrades for life.

The only other issue is about pricing for GMs & players. I agree with you that GM+player licenses can be pretty steep for a GM to stump up - especially as these GMs probably don't have an established group (otherwise they could make a group decision & share the cost). But it is equally true that players won't want to spend this money just to join a group they are uncertain about (I can remember many evenings wishing I'd joined one of the other groups). As an introductory offer, it might be worth doing something like the GM license with 4 or 5 or 6 (non-convertable) floating licenses as a package for about $50. Might even increase initial revenue (I only need to buy 1 floating license for the way I intend to play, but I might consider going for this, if it didn't cost too much more, "just in case").

Another option is educational discounts (as long as you have a way to police it, possibly most easily done by an email address at an accredited institution). The basic reason for the existence of these is that students have relatively little money, people often get hooked on software they like for life & it creates future sales. I don't know how much the educational sector (schools, colleges) is of the whole market, though. If it is a very large % of this market, you might just as well have lower prices - & that doesn't seem sensible unless everyone else has their pricing strategy wrong. If not, it might be worth considering.

Just a few ideas.

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Post by heruca » Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:36 pm

Dormouse wrote:The other is to start with very large discounts (it is easier to reduce/remove discounts than it is to increase the published price). That gets more people in early who can then be your evangelists & creates a community. Once a product like this has a lot of community acceptance, then it is much easier to sell because players know that they can join a lot of games with it & that it won't be money down the drain.
That's the option I'm going with, for the very reasons you cited (as well as to reward the people that supported me from the start).

Not really interested in educational discounts. People in school should probably be studying, not playing games, especially if they're so short on cash that they'd need a discount to be persuaded to buy in. I know that MY grades in high school and college would have been a lot better if I didn't have the distraction of RPGs. :)
:arrow: Please help spread the word about BRPG and BGE, and never hesitate to tell me how I can make them better suit your gaming needs.

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Post by Dormouse » Sun Dec 18, 2005 1:50 pm

heruca wrote:People in school should probably be studying, not playing games, especially if they're so short on cash that they'd need a discount to be persuaded to buy in. I know that MY grades in high school and college would have been a lot better if I didn't have the distraction of RPGs. :)
I first played D&D at Uni (& still play 1e) & had to be very careful about money. I know that the RPG club would have been very interested in this type of software (except that I was there is pre-computer days), but would not have had much money to spend on it.

Didn't do my marks any harm either - I had higher marks in my subject than anyone in at least the previous 5 years & a lot of the other RPG members did very well too. To some extent, I think that your marks depend on how well you can focus on education at that point in your life - & if it isn't easy there is no shortage of other distractions.

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Post by Mind Flayer Monk » Sun Dec 18, 2005 4:02 pm

I think your best bet for generating initial sales would be to offer a few packages to "heavy use users" of other VT software at discounted rates.
For example, people that are heavy posters and contributors on the Openrpg, Fantasygrounds, Kloogeworks forums. That will help you build a strong base of "core users".

I think the big seller will be the "value" of the game-which is greatly enhanced by user contribution with artwork and modification and customization.
--I must feed

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