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#1 Happy HELLoween

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:51 AM

I came up with an idea to make Bandcamp for indie games last week. So I decided to take a week off from work to build it. I searched around and it there doesn't appear to be anyone doing the same thing so I think it's great opportunity. I'd like saltw's feedback on it though. I'm still looking for some validation from other people, and maybe some of you have ideas.

 

Essentially what I have so far is:

  1. Person with indie game they have laying around comes to my site and creates an account.
  2. They can then create a page for their game. This involves filling out a text description, uploading screenshots, and adding a video or something. Additionally they can upload the game's files if the game is available for download. The game page will essentially only contain the content for the game, none of my site's branding anywhere, so no huge "INDIE GAME ZONE"  logos or banners or w/e all over the place. They can then customize the colors of the page and maybe pick from a collection of predesigned layouts.
  3. The user can set a minimum price for someone to buy their game, with 0 dollars as an option. This will let people pay for a game that is normally free, or pay more for a paid game because they like it so much. Paying gets you download access to the files the user uploaded. (Also considering making individual files have a minimum price as well, so you could pay X more dollars to get an art book or something)

 

And that's pretty much it. I just want to focus on uploading games, and maybe later I can add stuff for discovery. I've yet to figure out (technically) how to handle payments. Ideally I would like to take a cut of the money, but if that's too difficult then I'll just have it be a frontend to the developers paypal account. I need to look through all the different merchant service APIs to see what I can do. I might end up limiting myself to US only at first just because of what they provide.

 

Anyway, today was the first day off I spent working on it. I got basic file uploading stuff all set up. I need to get screenshot uploading and infrastructure working then I'll start making game pages and figure out how to handle payments. Two things I'm concerned about are fraud and money laundering. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to manually approve games before they can be sold.

 

So, is this a good idea? If you make indie games, would you use a site like this?


http://itch.io - sell your indie games


#2 fucked up wastoid

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:57 AM

the main thing you need to worry about is junk games flooding the market. take a look at xbox indie's marketplace for example. tons of trash like dating sims and fart games clogging things up, making it difficult for users to find actual good games and difficult for makers of good games to get exposure. 

 

a good way to combat this is to have some charts on the site's main page. like a top 100 chart of all-time best games, monthly charts for the best games of that particular month, charts organized by genre (best rpgs, best action games, etc). a game's position on the charts can be measured by downloads, sales, and/or likes (and just a simple 'like' - no dumb stuff like 5 star ratings or upvotes/downvotes). you can also have staff picks or a spotlight that features a particular game. 

 

another thing you can do is to have something somewhere on a game's page that's similar to what youtube does with recommending videos. like a box somewhere off to the side that says "you may also like..." and then a thumbnail screenshot of similar games (which are picked based on genre or tags, with preference for higher rated/downloaded stuff). although since part of what you want is for individual game pages to not have intrusive stuff on them perhaps you can have it so that users can disable this box from appearing on their game's page (with the downside of that game being disqualified from appearing on the recommendations box on other games' pages).



#3 JMickle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:52 AM

the main thing you need to worry about is junk games flooding the market. take a look at xbox indie's marketplace for example. tons of trash like dating sims and fart games clogging things up, making it difficult for users to find actual good games and difficult for makers of good games to get exposure. 

If it's attempting to be like bandcamp, then it's not trying to be a service that you can browse games in. The marketing is still down to the developer, the website will be an easy-to-use shopping cart.

 

I think the idea is rad, and if you can pull it on to be as sleek as bandcamp is, you will have something very awesome on your hands.



#4 denzquix

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

one thing I've seen that is interesting but I dunno how well it really works is https://gumroad.com/

it's not specifically for games but the idea is to allow you to set up a page to sell a downloadable thing v quickly and easily, you can set a fixed price or allow people to set their own by putting "+" on the end of minimum price (which can be 0), you can add description, a video, image (maybe only one though, not sure about a bunch of screenshots)

#5 dada

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:26 PM

a good way to combat this is to have some charts on the site's main page. like a top 100 chart of all-time best games, monthly charts for the best games of that particular month, charts organized by genre (best rpgs, best action games, etc). a game's position on the charts can be measured by downloads, sales, and/or likes (and just a simple 'like' - no dumb stuff like 5 star ratings or upvotes/downvotes). you can also have staff picks or a spotlight that features a particular game.

On that note, think seriously about spam. Wouldn't be surprised if the makers of horrible junkware games would try to abuse the system to get to the top of the charts or to get 5000 likes. Consider using Facebook, actually—I've heard that it cuts down on the spam significantly because it's tied to people's real names, and FB actually polices user accounts.


#6 Happy HELLoween

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:46 PM

one thing I've seen that is interesting but I dunno how well it really works is https://gumroad.com/

it's not specifically for games but the idea is to allow you to set up a page to sell a downloadable thing v quickly and easily, you can set a fixed price or allow people to set their own by putting "+" on the end of minimum price (which can be 0), you can add description, a video, image (maybe only one though, not sure about a bunch of screenshots)

 

Yeah I've seen this before, and it's pretty similar. I think it's a good idea but I don't know if this site has caught on for indie game devs. I'm hoping by focusing on games I'll get the people who want to sell em.

 

a good way to combat this is to have some charts on the site's main page. like a top 100 chart of all-time best games, monthly charts for the best games of that particular month, charts organized by genre (best rpgs, best action games, etc). a game's position on the charts can be measured by downloads, sales, and/or likes (and just a simple 'like' - no dumb stuff like 5 star ratings or upvotes/downvotes). you can also have staff picks or a spotlight that features a particular game.

On that note, think seriously about spam. Wouldn't be surprised if the makers of horrible junkware games would try to abuse the system to get to the top of the charts or to get 5000 likes. Consider using Facebook, actually—I've heard that it cuts down on the spam significantly because it's tied to people's real names, and FB actually polices user accounts.

 

like JMickle said, I'm not concerned about game discovery (yet). The owner will be responsible for advertising their game page, so I wouldn't be linking or listing spam pages. What I am concerned about is someone uploading another person's game and trying to sell it. As for facebook, maybe a good idea but might tick some people off.

 

another thing you can do is to have something somewhere on a game's page that's similar to what youtube does with recommending videos. like a box somewhere off to the side that says "you may also like..." and then a thumbnail screenshot of similar games (which are picked based on genre or tags, with preference for higher rated/downloaded stuff). although since part of what you want is for individual game pages to not have intrusive stuff on them perhaps you can have it so that users can disable this box from appearing on their game's page (with the downside of that game being disqualified from appearing on the recommendations box on other games' pages).

 

Ah, I like the idea of the opt out recommendations list. I might have to use this. Thanks.


http://itch.io - sell your indie games


#7 Vellfire

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:49 PM

I think a serious concern would be plagiarism, like...you don't know that the person uploading the game and making money is the one who MADE the game.


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#8 JMickle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:19 PM

vellfire that can happen anyway. This website wouldn't have to act any differently because it is at its core just a software for selling games on. I don't think bandcamp check to see if the artists have really made the music they are uploading?



#9 Happy HELLoween

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

I'd say I'm morally obligated to prevent fraud, but under DMCA I'm not legally obligated to prevent it. I'm only obligated to remove it if someone files a notice. (as far as I understand, I might be wrong)


http://itch.io - sell your indie games


#10 Vellfire

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

of course it can happen anyway but it's something that should be addressed i think


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#11 JMickle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 07:27 PM

yeah what i'm saying is as long as there's a FLAG system or something you don't really need to address it. There aren't any automated methods for it and it would be pointless to police every upload.



#12 Massy2k6

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:44 PM

Your idea reminds me off gamingw 10 years ago with the simple idea of creating a thread for your rm2k3 game, post your screenshots, and ask for artists/progammers to pitch in. I'd say the only difference is not many people made it a point to put a price on their work.

What would set your site apart from your standard creating a thread on a forum technique?

 

Also your idea seems to be exactly what steam are doing with their new greenlight program. You have indie and more experienced game/program designers advertising and selling their work on there and with steam being so popular, it makes for a great platform for these newcomers.

Not trying to put you down but someone has to be the bad guy and critique.


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#13 JMickle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:30 PM

your critique is pretty meaningless. bandcamp is nothing like making a forum thread, at all. forum threads don't have payment processing (PRETTY DANG IMPORTANT POINT) and obviously aren't set up for uploading games etc.

 

and bandcamp is also nothing like greenlight. greenlight is a system to prune ideas to get them put onto steam. it is NOT a distribution service or anything like. Greenlight is also specifically set up to not be good for advertising, but this point is irrelevant because leafo has said that neither will his site.

 

Not trying to put you down but yeah it sounds like you don't understand the idea. (or greenlight for that matter)



#14 Massy2k6

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

I see greenlight as a place for indie game makers to have somewhere to sell their games. Setup to not be good at advertising? I saw a greenlight game on their main page a couple weeks ago. Surely leafo will want to promote games on his site to better sales.

 


I just want to focus on uploading games, and maybe later I can add stuff for discovery.

 

Wouldnt this be considered as eventually wanting to advertising these games?


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#15 JMickle

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:03 AM

I see greenlight as a place for indie game makers to have somewhere to sell their games.

 

you dont sell games on greenlight!!!

 

 

 Setup to not be good at advertising? I saw a greenlight game on their main page a couple weeks ago.

 

wow well done for you!!!

 

 

Wouldnt this be considered as eventually wanting to advertising these games?

 

Why don't you actually go and take a look at what bandcamp is???

 

 

read this http://bandcamp.com/faq#whatitis before you breathe another ill-informed word in my direction



#16 Happy HELLoween

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:24 AM

Someone just pointed me to this site:  http://www.indievania.com/

It's very similar to what I am doing, I'm a little concerned!


http://itch.io - sell your indie games


#17 JMickle

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 12:42 AM

but how is indievania set apart from just makign a forum post??



#18 Massy2k6

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 11:30 AM

Looks like the indie game version of steam.

If you could get your hands on certain indie games first and find ways to make them exclusive to your site alone then I dont see why your site couldnt exists side by side with that one.


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#19 goldenratio

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 04:33 PM

It's like an all-inclusive Steam Greenlight, or Greenlight without the approval process (which isn't a bad thing at all). A lot of bands put there music up in multiple places, like iTunes and Bandcamp (and more sometimes). Personally I always try to find and buy from Bandcamp because it's awesome, and I usually give a lot more than the minimum, if I really dig the work. I think a games version of a site like this would be awesome, as a consumer. 


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#20 esiann

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 05:20 PM

Yeah, the only meaningful difference between what you'd like to do and that site is that your individual game pages will look like their own things with their own top banners. That might be enough.

 

How's the competition hosting site going?







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