Yesterday’s post about spotify for games detailed some of the ideas I had for this system. I want to openly think more about this. I’m seeing some challenges:
I really like spotify: you can download the music to your computer (when you have subscribed to the service) and there aren’t too big copy protection issues there. So far I’ve managed to use the thing offline as well. So, naturally I would like that this spotify for indie game portal/service/thing would be as easy to use. No hassle playing.
I would think that probably some sort of “wrapper/launcher” software should be in use (thinking similar to Steam for example). There you could find & launch games and get recommendations and all that stuff. I don’t know what would be good technology for this. I have no doubts that it wouldn’t be possible.
Another alternative could be use of website, and play games in your browser. Games would be packed & played via browser (using a plugin). I’m thinking pjio.com here.
Getting developers in
My gut feeling is that if the system would think developers first and give the major part of the cake to them, I think there could be decent amount of developers & games that would get in the system. I also think promoting the system is to developers is not going to be the major issue.
With some experience on payment processing with developers and affiliates, I think this part of the system could be somewhat tricky. I don’t know how, but the system would definitely need automated tracking for payments, then list for example paypal info for each developer and then somehow (not sure if this is even possible) automatically or (more likely) with as little manual work as possible the payment could be sent monthly to developers. I’m smelling some issues here, but not too big ones.
Spotify offers free version, but I’m not sure how well this would work in the gaming industry. Perhaps instead of showing ads, you could play demo versions for free. Not sure if this would be a good solution, but I feel that letting players play totally free, and show (annoying) ads wouldn’t work as well as it does in spotify. I might be wrong.
Anyway, the free/demo version thing should be planned & tested properly. I guess benchmarking competitors (Onlive and others) could help in this.
Getting gamers to join
And then there would be of course the trickiest part: getting gamers to actually buy something. It would require enough games, and then probably tons of promotion to get the ball moving. I’m not sure if this would require outside funding or investor (or kickstarter… or whatnot), but I don’t think is totally impossible thing to first get enuf donuts for promoting the thing, and then eventually get gamers to join. And when more gamers join, the more developers join and the snowball effect starts to kick in.
These aren’t the only things to take care. There’s also legal issues/contracts with each party. Then there’s servers and their handling. Different platforms and so on. Probably some more.
Why say these things out loud – shouldn’t I like keep these business secrets hidden!?
Possibly… but then I wouldn’t get the ball moving.
I think this concept is a pretty good itself. But, getting from “idea” to “fully established portal” takes a bit more than writing couple of thoughts on paper.
Like said, I’m thinking out loud.
More thoughts on this? If AAA thing is somewhat covered (in several countries), and possibly more companies joining the movement… I’m pondering how well could indie/casual type of portal solution work.
What do you see as the biggest challenges? How well could this work in your opinion?
Would you be interested?