Yesterday’s gamestreamer review started a pile of comments, including this one:
Scale is not an issue, if you sell 5 copies or 5000, you’re still getting ripped off, no matter how much money you make.
Could be true. (But not necessarily… consider the following)
I partially agree that 25% can be a rip-off, but I disagree that scale doesn’t necessarily affect this. I might be wrong, but I personally try also look the $$$ (not just % figures). It’s of course quite good to know what kind of percentage rate you get 10%, 25%, 50% or 190%, but I’m more interested in the actual dollar amount.
For example, if I think that 25% (gross sales %) of 5000 sold copies (for example with $10 price tag) is a rip-off then this means that I’m leaving $12 500 (25% of $50 000) on the table. If I think that getting $12 500 is potentially a good deal (meaning: I’m pondering how much more I could sell through my own site, and how much work it would mean) then I can make a decision on whether to accept such deal – even though the % figure might seem low (although nowadays distributors don’t give too big numbers for developers).
The reason why scale is important that numbers add up quickly. If I would get 50% of 500 sold copies (with $10 price tag) then that would be a $2500 deal (50% of $5000). Again I could ponder whether this is worth the effort. If I would get 50% of 2500 sold copies ($12 500) then of course this deal would be a better than 25% of 5000 sold copies.
But here the scale is important (I think of it bit like giving volume discounts), and can end up generating big dollar amounts, even when the % number is low.
In my opinion, it’s difficult to say at this point which deal would be the best in a long run (since I don’t know how much the for example some 30% deal might affect to my potential other sales). For this reason, I could decide that I first sell the game through my own site for like 3-6 months (which unfortunately can be something that some portals dislike), and after that start looking to find different distribution channels. The channels I choose don’t depend on the solely %, but the potential $$$ they might get.
Does this mean that I think people should use for example the GameStreamer system (or any publisher option). Nope – I think that people should make up their own minds about things and consider if the deals are good for them. At this point is very difficult for me to say if for example the specific GS 25% (or potential 35% which Nathan hinted) is a good or a bad deal since I have no personal experience from it – but since there’s developers selling games it might be worth considering. If GS, BFG, Steam or other distributors sound bad, them skip them. If you think there’s any good channels to use – pick them.
What do you think is a fair percentage? (And how much it matters to you?)
Note about the GameStreamer discussion: Nathan from GS informed that “they are carefully reviewing some of the feedback and also are considering upping the revenue share from 25% to 35%”.