The profound rantings of the one like Tom Atkinson… and now art gallery and shop.

Software as a service should actually be rent to buy

This post is an enhanced version of the very long comment I posted on this popular Youtube video What Went Wrong with Gaming? uploaded to Youtube 2 weeks ago by Josh Strife Hayes.

My 2 cents on a solution: 1. The industry decides how many hours in a lifetime, for example 200 to 800 hours, sounds like a lot but it is to pay for all this development cycle via beta, early access, pre-release, version 1.0, bugfix, major update, then the final finishing touches and polish at the end. Also define how rent to buy payments add up to a full licenses over time 2. Game devs should **raise** the price of their games premium one-time personal-use "lifetime" license - lets say from $20 to $75 for example - (which covers all updates and patches forever) but also issue fractional and much cheaper 4 to 8 hour licenses (1/100th the time of lifetime) price say $0.75 or $1.50 (lock down the expected slippage from buying in slowly via long-term rent-to-buy, I suggest 50% based on time, this allows discount here for paying up front, and to change the price later in a stable way) then sum together the hours until the lifetime is hit over time (I'm thinking 3 to 5 years before announcing version 2.0 and sealing off the features of version 1.0) and 5 years purchases of the same 800 hours mite end up costing $150 in the end, but still, they *eventually* convert into transferable / re-sellable lifetime accounts if a player purchases the equivalent amount of time in fractional rentals versus in one hit. 3. The industry should work to permanently define what they feel is a lifetime equivalent interaction - probably in terms of number of hours played - that a lifetime constitutes, I suggest a large number like 800 hours but 200 hours maybe more sensible, depending on how long they expect to support the game version. 4. Publishers should indicate clearly what stage they are in - Early Access seems a good example of this; but I would add a late stage when a game is fully designed and updates pushed out, that people can expect new development (in the relevant version of the game) to slow down, accompanied with some final tweaks to pricing but never break the promise that if you purchase a hundred packs of 1/100th a lifetime, then the end result is an upgrade to lifetime license. 5. Devs should find a way to fail gracefully for those who buy lifetime ticket too early but then have game go under (before finishing). Be honest if they are struggling, explain their financials and allow their players to indicate what is important for them to keep working towards that full unlock from rent to buy, and/or indicate the risk of potentially sudden collapse of the project due to funding issue. 6. Then focus more on the artistry and uniqueness and vision they have or are working towards, and what people can expect from the version, or whether certain feature will be put to version 2 requiring another payment altogether.
Posted by tomachi on January 7th, 2023 filed in Game Development