Starting from Alpha 7.9, the game will enter its "Early Access" phase.
It means it is still in development but you can buy it at a discounted price (-50%) if you accept its evolving form and want to support its development.
Here are the details per platform:
- on desktop (PC/Mac/Linux): it will become a ~5$ game
- on mobile (Android): it will adopt a "free to try" model = free demo with limited features + full game unlock via a ~2.5$ in-app purchase ("IAP") (the exact price depends on your local country taxes)
I'm 37 y/o, married and father of a 5 y/o daughter. Like everyone else, I need to take care of my family even if my wife is currently working. We live in Paris (France) where life isn't cheap at all.
Gladiabots is a project I've had in mind for 4 years. I've been working on it on my spare time for quite some time until 4 months ago when I decided to quit my comfortable job and work full-time on it until release.
At the same time, I enabled donations on the main website (hosted on itch.io) to see if players were willing to support its development. 311 people donated a little bit more than 1755$ since then (before itch.io and paypal fees).
Which is great! It's honestly more than what I expected for a donation system and I'm deeply grateful to those 311 people, whatever the amount they donated.
But obviously, it won't be enough until the release of the game. You guys know how much is left to do and there's a lot of game related expenses I have to cover (events, intellectual property, lawyer, accountant, bank, ...).
I've tried to push back as far as possible the idea of making players pay for the game for several reasons:
- it's still in development and I'm not satisfied at all with its current state (but I guess I'll never be)
- players feedback is crucial for the iterative development method I'm using
- deciding on a business model is one of the most difficult task I have on this project (one of those things that make you unable to sleep)
In case you missed it, Gladiabots has been in the top 10 of the Google Play Indie Games Contest, winning several prizes including a featuring on the store in several big countries (in term of potential audience).
This featuring started right after the event and the impact on the active players stats is quite impressive:
(ignore the first dates, the drop is linked to the database migration)
If it stays that way, by tomorrow night, the game will reach 400 000 players (not all active today of course) since it's been public 9 months ago!
This is the kind of opportunity that you don't get everyday and it will actually only last for one week.
That's why I think it may be a good time to start testing monetization and generating revenue.
On mobile (Android for now):
As you may know, I'm really not a big fan of the "freemium" model (free game with in-app purchases and/or ads on every corner, in-game currency, energy system, ...) and I'm part of this crazy minority that thinks good games deserve some money.
I also think you need to have a real gem in your hands to go "premium" (paid games) and that Gladiabots is not even close to it (yet!).
So the idea is to keep the Android app free on the store and make it a demo of the game that you can "unlock" thanks to a one-time in-app purchase.
The demo limits would be:
- only the 5 first practice missions can be played
- only 10 multiplayer matches can be played
The unlocked game obviously has no limits.
On desktop (PC, Mac, Linux):
Paid games are still common on desktop (let's hope it stays that way...), so I'll go for it via itch.io.
Le How Much
Here are the prices I have in mind when the game will get released:
- on desktop: ~10$
- on mobile: ~5$
As the game is still in development "early access", I want to apply a 50% discount, so:
- on desktop: ~5$
- on mobile: ~2.5$
On mobile, the price may vary depending on your country and the applied taxes.
I know a 2.5€ store price will be 3€ local price in France for instance.
Only the new players (or re-installs) will see the demo.
If you already downloaded the game on itch.io, you should be able to update without additional payment by using the same account.
It as to be confirmed if this applies to the 0$ downloads though.
In both cases, if you donated in the past and have a problem with the website or the game asking you for money, please send me an email at gladiabots[at]gfx47[dot]com from the email account you used to donate.
I've been working on Alpha 7.9 since yesterday and it is now ready.
I'm planning a deployment by tomorrow (February 23rd).
I'm both eager and anxious to read your feedback, but I need it anyway.