ID:227699
 
This started as a response to the yearly blog post but didn't want to derail the topic. The purpose is only to get people smarter than me thinking.

I believe our energy would be better spent defining the problems then focusing everything into solutions.

The big problem
Lack of money?

Here's a rant to help get some ideas flowing.

Solution #1: Sell Memberships

Membership is obviously aimed solely at developers, I would assume makes up a small percentage of the 4,600 players currently online(less than 500?). There's a largely untapped market within the standard players.

How does BYOND leverage this majority?
What would these potential customers be willing to pay for, and how much? Making hub entries and file hosting may not be much of an incentive.

Perhaps a lower priced membership option that is more suited for players? (Pager, avatars, game perks etc)


Solution #2: Help Developers

As a 'developer', I want to make games. My job is harder than it should be a lot of the time. Example: Most people have to build their own 'chat system' then spend time fixing bugs, exploits and oversights.

While you should be expected to do everything yourself, it's great to not have to reinvent the wheel sometimes.

I believe the community could be the solution here; a group of developers who collaborate to provide resources that most games need. Almost every game needs a good communication system, administration, debugging and various other things.


Solution #3: Game Hosting

What else can you sell or up-sell to your customers?
Many games requiring hosting and many are paying for this.

One potential method is for there to be an 'official' BYOND server hosting. This, of course, should be outsourced to another company with BYOND merely acting as the middleman/reseller.

The provider would obviously have some deal worked out and somehow be able to keep the installation up-to-date. (MySQL databases would be necessary too, with phpadmin or something similar)

Yes, we can just get our own VPS, spend however long figuring out how to install BYOND and solve the potential issues, learning enough linux commands to get it running and then get back to what we're supposed to be doing; making the game. Again wasting developer energy.

There are numerous benefits, especially if it had integration into the BYOND accounts.


Solution #4: Game Subscriptions

How can we help developers make money(and take a small cut of the pie)?

The % of the cut isn't the problem, it's the size of the pie that matters.

If BYOND helps to get 100 subscriptions; their 20-30% is justified; but if the developer could have gotten 80 subscriptions without BYOND then there is an issue.

Anything BYOND does here should be about making the pie bigger, not about taking larger slices.


Solution #5: BYONDimes

Easy method to buy game subscriptions, memberships and such. I understand it had it's pros and cons but it should be listed anyway.

Microtransactions are also becoming widely accepted by gamers.

Having the money sitting in an investment account is always useful too. Which also brings up the idea of a simple "for every $5 in your account at the end of the month you go in the draw to win one of 3 free one-year membership".

If a player has money sitting in their account, they'd be more inclined to pay for a service than having to make many individual credit card payments.


Solution #6: Game Ads

While I'm not a big fan of this, it should be mentioned.

Flash games have MochiAds and various other things. They're not too intrusive if done right.

If developers get a share of this revenue, I'm sure many would be happy to have it available in their game.

My opinion is if this is done, it should be done tastefully and with developer consent.

Disabling ads could also be an incentive to subscribe to that individual game.


-----------------

I better stop here or I'll be late. Haven't had time to proof-read, sorry.

If you disagree with something, be brief and then get back onto the solutions. Don't waste too much energy on the bad idea.

Thanks in advance for keeping this topic constructive and solution-focused.
This makes me wonder. What ever happened to the BYOND store?
I understand that not many people made purchases but if I remember correctly, there wasn't exactly a lot offered.
Kajika wrote:
Solution #3: Game Hosting

What else can you sell or up-sell to your customers?
Many games requiring hosting and many are paying for this.

One potential method is for there to be an 'official' BYOND server hosting. This, of course, should be outsourced to another company with BYOND merely acting as the middleman/reseller.

The provider would obviously have some deal worked out and somehow be able to keep the installation up-to-date. (MySQL databases would be necessary too, with phpadmin or something similar)



Once an easier way to Authenticate the BYOND Key comes in from BYOND either it be JSON or etc http://BYONDPanel.com will have this ... I also thought of doing it via DMCGI and get it to output to PHP.

Each one of my plans is dedicated comes with MYSQL Phpmyadmin apache2 php5 DMCGI and whatever else you want ....

Each server is on a core I5 or higher with 256MB RAM (burstable to 512MB, 15GB HDD, 500GB Bandwidth) to 512MB RAM (burstable to 1GB, 50GB HDD, 1TB Bandwidth).

Each server has the ability to host as many games as they client wants. the system I have created, allows for multiple users on the one server hosting whatever they like the system allows for SLOTs client A has 1 slot ( = one game) B has 2 slots B can host 2 games at once yay.

If BYOND wants to venture out I am here all my plans are CHEAP and I am sure we can make a deal and make them smaller $$ wise.

The system is in place working effectively and can be integrated into this website if need be.
Because of you, I was introduced to BYOND. Thank you.
I agree with the quote that ATHK posted. The would be a really great thing for BYOND to offer, and in fact I am biased towards BYOND Panel, so why couldn't it (or something very similar) be a full official part of of BYOND?
Keep in mind that it is just Lummox JR and Tom. Two people handling the website, the language, and everything else that goes on that is BYOND.
And its just me that handles BYONDPanel.com ... the live chat the site content the installation of new servers the monitoring of servers etc.
Well, I was just dreaming big I suppose.
In response to Spunky_Girl (#5)
Kumorii wrote:
This makes me wonder. What ever happened to the BYOND store?
I understand that not many people made purchases but if I remember correctly, there wasn't exactly a lot offered.

Generally these services don't make the client much money; usually only a 10-20% cut. Every bit helps.
If something like this went ahead, perhaps selected developers could enter into the scheme to provide the world with Last Robot Standing mousepads etc.
I'd think game related merchandise would be more popular?

Spunky_Girl wrote:
Keep in mind that it is just Lummox JR and Tom. Two people handling the website, the language, and everything else that goes on that is BYOND.

Absolutely. The goal with most businesses is automation, with the exception of the hosting part everything else is pretty much set-up-and-leave.

As for hosting, they'd just be endorsing an outsourced service with some minor integration. Being part of the BYOND umbrella requires it to have a certain standard.

I was with digitalBYOND for some time, unfortunately it closed even though we had paid in advance.
ATP was good but I've never been able to get ahold of him to renew the service.
Knowing the hosting would be available indefinitely is a major plus and I'd rather support BYOND than use another VPS.
In response to Kajika (#8)
Kajika wrote:
Knowing the hosting would be available indefinitely is a major plus and I'd rather support BYOND than use another VPS.

Installing BYOND on a shell isn't hard but can be for some people.. even more hard if this wish to have DMCGI.

This is why I created a one click stop/start solution, which BYOND could easily do.

Maintaining and monitoring the servers could be an issue on a wide scale, updating each server every linux update could be cumbersome. Unless of course they incorporated a auto update script .. like myself.
Byond store merchandise for particular games would be really cool. Personally, if I loved a Byond game that much to buy a mousepad or whatever, I'd want it to be really high quality and be willing to pay a bit extra. So if Byond decides to go with this idea and chooses a vendor to work with, please no cheapie stuff.
In response to Knightcrawler (#10)
Knightcrawler wrote:
Byond store merchandise for particular games would be really cool. Personally, if I loved a Byond game that much to buy a mousepad or whatever, I'd want it to be really high quality and be willing to pay a bit extra. So if Byond decides to go with this idea and chooses a vendor to work with, please no cheapie stuff.

In regards to this I don't think BYOND should advertise games merchandise if they get a "cut" from each sale then sure...

But it is pretty easy to set up a store that has all the basics and just add a picture here and there on the items...

I believe that's how BYOND used to do it?

The site used to be http://www.cafepress.com/byond - not sure if it was set up by a third party or Tom..

http://www.photoshoppix.com/webhelp/wesite%20addons/ cafepress.html

May of been shutdown due to costs.

p.s look at design your own.
Well, as a developer continuing to have a BYOND membership hasn't changed, even with the slight price increase. The new features subside the elimination of blogs so for me its just a sweet a deal as it always has been.

However, for casual users who don't develop the BYOND membership has little to offer, but perhaps we developers can do something about that. Awhile ago BYOND included the ability for BYOND members to receive in-game bonuses as a way of supporting it.

How about taking it a step up and some of us develop games only playable for BYOND Members? That would generate an exclusiveness that might be worth some people renewing or even purchasing for the first time a membership that is now developer-centric.
In response to Acebloke (#12)
Acebloke wrote:
How about taking it a step up and some of us develop games only playable for BYOND Members? That would generate an exclusiveness that might be worth some people renewing or even purchasing for the first time a membership that is now developer-centric.

I'm not sure I'm a big fan of this idea. I seem to recall other sites trying this (I don't have sources, take it at face value) and it created a semi-terrible environment. You'd end up with a segregation of the games by quality, where all of the high quality games were members-exclusive and all of the games that were not exclusive were pretty low quality. This creates a negative outlook on the community to many.
In response to Acebloke (#12)
Acebloke wrote:
How about taking it a step up and some of us develop games only playable for BYOND Members? That would generate an exclusiveness that might be worth some people renewing or even purchasing for the first time a membership that is now developer-centric.
I don't think charging to play a game is the way to go, under any circumstances. "Free to play" games, selling in-game content, have more than proven themselves as the most viable money making platform.

You also throw this on the developers, to make money for BYOND (which is already what we do by making games, with or without membership benefits), even though we aren't getting paid for our own efforts.

BYOND is the one that needs to step up if they want to increase their income. We have given them countless suggestions over the years of what would be beneficial selling points, several of them have been restated in this topic. All of them have been ignored.
In response to Audeuro (#13)
Audeuro wrote:
Acebloke wrote:
How about taking it a step up and some of us develop games only playable for BYOND Members? That would generate an exclusiveness that might be worth some people renewing or even purchasing for the first time a membership that is now developer-centric.

I'm not sure I'm a big fan of this idea. I seem to recall other sites trying this (I don't have sources, take it at face value) and it created a semi-terrible environment. You'd end up with a segregation of the games by quality, where all of the high quality games were members-exclusive and all of the games that were not exclusive were pretty low quality. This creates a negative outlook on the community to many.

Your right, there is an issue of segregation. Since posting that message I was wondering about one of my projects that I was intending to be subscription only (ie, pay for like a normal commercial game), whether allowing it to be played by BYOND members as well would be seen as a healthy addition where people have the option of either paying me a small fee or getting it free from their regular BYOND membership purchase.

Falacy has also posted since I started this reply, so I'll try and direct some of this post to him as well:

I don't think charging to play a game is the way to go, under any circumstances. "Free to play" games, selling in-game content have more than proven themselves as the most viable money making platform.

Well, we've doing 'free to play' since the start of BYOND. I do agree that in-game content using micro purchasing would be a step up from this, but I think its another thing entirely to totally dismiss the idea of SOME developers developing BYOND games like any other game elsewhere that needs a purchase first.

You also throw this on the developers, to make money for BYOND (which is already what we do by making games, with or without membership benefits), even though we aren't getting paid for our own efforts.

Perhaps I miswrote what I meant, but like you said we're already propping it up by what we're doing, making particular games as part of a package which we as developers set ourselves and BYOND as an org can market _if they want_ doesn't feel like 'throwing it on the developers'. There should never be a moment where developers should feel obligated to block non-BYOND members from a game or 'do BYOND a favour' by developing content 'for them'.
In response to Acebloke (#15)
Acebloke wrote:
Well, we've doing 'free to play' since the start of BYOND.
There is a difference between free to play, and the free everything that BYOND games currently offer.
If BYOND were to implement a built-in micro-transaction system, not only would they make a lot more money, but developers could actually earn something for their efforts, by easily selling in-game items.

but I think its another thing entirely to totally dismiss the idea of SOME developers developing BYOND games like any other game elsewhere that needs a purchase first.
Vast majority of MMOs no longer force you to pay for the game, and then pay a monthly fee to play it. Even a lot of non-MMO games have been moving to this standard (Team Fortress 2, for example). Majority of the games that force you to pay before you can even play them do so because there is a severe lack of content in the game itself, that would not net the developer any profit if they tried charging legitimate players for it after the fact.
In response to Falacy (#16)
Falacy wrote:
There's a difference between free to play, and the free everything that BYOND games currently offer.

And both have been around as long as I have been on BYOND, but meh lets continue.

Vast majority of MMOs no longer force you to pay for the game, and then pay a monthly fee to play it. Even a lot of non-MMO games have been moving to this standard (Team Fortress 2, for example). Majority of games that force you to pay before you can even play them do so because there is a severe lack of content in the game itself, that would not net them any profit if they tried charging legitimate players after the fact.

Right, but not everyone on BYOND develops a MMO or even multiplayer games. Some games also simply don't work well with a DLC, Expansion or content-purchase model.

What I was proposing was a free-game if you are already purchasing something else, which is also a common industry standard among game websites that rent or sell computer games to other others for free. The alternative is to just buy the game flat out, which has worked for the last 40 years just fine.
In response to Acebloke (#17)
Acebloke wrote:
And both have been around as long as I have been on BYOND, but meh lets continue.
Out of the 10,000 games on BYOND, how many of them charge you real money for anything? Like 5?

Right, but not everyone on BYOND develops a MMO or even multiplayer games.
If you're using BYOND, and not including multiplayer in your game, then you're doing it wrong. That goes for almost any platform at this point.

What I was proposing was a free-game if you are already purchasing something else, which is also a common industry standard among game websites that rent or sell computer games to other others for free.
Vaguely, but that doesn't make charging people to play some low quality BYOND game any better of an idea. More importantly is the counter of that, effectively banning people from your game just because they haven't paid you.

The alternative is to just buy the game flat out, which has worked for the last 40 years just fine.
Right, the massive degradation in both quality and ingenuity has nothing to do with the fact that certain games sell more copies, while other games don't get played at all because of that same price-tag.
In response to Falacy (#18)
Whoops when I said other others I meant offer others, apologies.

Falacy wrote:
Out of the 10,000 games on BYOND, how many of them charge you real money for anything? Like 5?
If you're using BYOND, and not including multiplayer in your game, then you're doing it wrong. That goes for almost any platform at this point.
Vaguely, but that doesn't make charging people to play some low quality BYOND game any better of an idea. More importantly is the counter of that, effectively banning people from your game just because they haven't paid you.
Right, the massive degradation in both quality and ingenuity has nothing to do with the fact that certain games sell more copies, while other games don't get played at all because of that same price-tag.

This seems to be a rather large rant against anyone who develops on BYOND (or elsewhere) who doesn't develop free to play MMO styled games with the intention of including in-game content with micro payments. I don't really know where we can go from here without ending on why or why not the entire global games industry should revolve around one single marketing technique which is totally out of the context of the original topic.

All I suggested was an idea, and you've taken it like it would cause a global recession and natural disaster.
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