View Full Version : Well? (The feasability of this)

01-21-2002, 07:01 PM
I'm looking to pick some brains here. I'm considering starting a software company and selling games online... Now I know its a simple plan that has been thought up probably a million times. I assume it runs into a million obstacles as i dont see a whole lot of games succesfully selling on-line. Or am i just undereducated in this area?

Has anyone here every attempted this, or know anyone who has? What are some of the walls and hurdles i'd be coming up against? How likely do you figure people are to buy a game in this manner? Would you order a game on-line after playing the demo and liking it? What are good ways to advertise such a setup? And most importantly: Does anyone think there is money to be made in this manner?

I'm just kind of forming this idea so i'm looking for anything you people know, or comments you might have.

I'll be putting up a website at some point over the next couple days to showcase the Beta version of my game (Critical Mass). It will still need a large chunk or time for Beta Testing/Bug Hunting but its getting very close to complete.

01-21-2002, 07:07 PM
Ok, when you buy this game of yours is it going to arrive to your house? Or are you going to have to download it. And how long will the downloading time of your game I mean the demo the first time you play it?

01-21-2002, 07:16 PM
What are you writing this game in... what type of game is it.


I have seen a lot of game manufacturers and game rewriters on the web in my quests for fun. I imagine there is money to be made, but your game has to be entertaining and you have to have good promotion. Let me know how I can help.

01-21-2002, 07:46 PM
One company that I think has attempted to do this, and has made some invcredable, and VERY successful Mac games is located at:


You download the games from them and test them as sharewere...then after X amount of time you are required to pay a $20 registration fee.

01-21-2002, 07:50 PM
This might a problem for 56k users.

01-21-2002, 08:29 PM
In theory it is a good idea and an idea proven to work. Online software purchasing is an idea a friend and i are considering.

Firstly - are your games good enough for trade? were not talking Freeware or shareware - were talking real money.

Secondly - security - would you type in your credit card details to a site you werent 100% certain off - you can obtain secure xervers and authentication certificates for this.

download or delivery - majority of the uk is still on dialup- slow and unreliable connections and some isp still use 1 hour kick off!

delivery - shipping , national and internationl - media - CD/DVD
and production cost for batch production (as opposed to mass production)

international slaes - remember you need to accept majot currencies
$US, , $AUS,

01-21-2002, 08:47 PM
The business money aspect is easy... I wouldn't be too concerned with it. Merchant accounts can be set up for as little as 8% of your product purchase price. Many of these offer their own shopping cart feature and most have secure 128Kb SSL Encryption Servers.

www.ccnow.com is a good one for a starting business. No opening overhead. Recurring 7-9% on your product sales, but no recurring fees. If you don't sell... you don't pay. Very easy to configure.

As far as taking multiple currencies... nah. Bank checks, credit cards, money orders, and personal checks if you want. You don't take currency direct anyway (anyone who mails cash is an idiot) and the conversion for those are done at the bank. You would need to list the appropriate amounts in multiple currencies and keep the conversion rate updated. The best way to do this is to put the product in US and Canadian Currency and request an email for current prices for the rest of the world. (this only applies to those that do not use credit cards which the conversion is done at the cc company anyway.)

I sell products to other countries. It isn't hard.

You will need to consider how you will set up your accounting and tracking. Quicken Smart Books is a good application for the starting business. You can send invoices on your own letterhead, do billing, tracking, and much more.

01-21-2002, 08:57 PM
Hey, thanks for that link Betazep. That could prove to be handy.

>>Firstly - are your games good enough for trade?
I'm putting up a site as we speak. I hope to let other people (that would be you people most likely) answer that for me.
>>download or delivery
Thats still the question that is bothering me. With delivery obviously i'd have to burn CDs, create packaging, and charge Shipping/Handling etc. Sounds like a lot of work. Downloading seems 1000 times easier but theres the fact that my game is "media rich" with lots of graphics and sound and stuff. So its reasonable to say; Its fat.

>>What are you writing this game in... what type of game is it.
Direct3D. I'm actually doing 2 projects. 1 is 'Critical Mass' which is my Solo project, a turn based Bot Wargame/Strategy based loosly on the old BattleTek boardgame concept (very loosly). That project is very near completion (hence my questions). My other project is a 3D RPG that has been under construction for a year now that i've been doing with another programmer. It wont be ready for some time yet.

The download vs. delivery problem is still bothering me...

01-21-2002, 10:01 PM
>>>The download vs. delivery problem is still bothering me...

Well then make a decision, and don't let it bother you. Follow your decision.

I would do a download demo and a delivery method for the full game. You wouldn't be starting off with so many sales that you couldn't provide the hardcopy product without automation. When the volume increases to a point where it isn't feasable to do-it-yourself, you will need to employ the services of others after cost-benefit analysis is determined.

low sales
Get a business license for your area that allows for web sales. Conform to local laws for a personal business with no employees.
You develop the packaging and do all manual aspects of business and mail. You need a fedex or other mail carrier account with pickup from your house. You need structure in how your product will look out-of-the-box and structure in your delivery method. This will take some money for packaging materials, but cd jewel case mailers are quite common. CCnow has set shipping/handling addition that you classify (CAN $2, US $3, other $7) You need to configure it so that you are fair to the customer, but do not lose money with shipping. You need to keep good records of sales and watch your local laws for taxes, etc.

and as you grow to

moderate sales (hundreds to thousands per year)
You need more people assisting you with burning, packaging and handling, and with IT as it is today... you could even do this over distance (like you have a US rep that services US customers by burning disks and having them prepared for shipping... you pay this person a percentage of sales per disk). You will need written documents that outline structure and protocol (business documentation). You will need good record keeping and a good filesystem. You may need to invest in an accountant that will finalize your end of year books. (this really isn't that expensive)

and if you grow to

high sales (hundreds of thousands-millions)
Your product will become unavailable if you are trying to cope with high product sales by yourself. You will need to pay an organization to recreate and package your game. You will need a management team, a software development team, secretaries, full fledged merchant accounts, an office, lots of documentation on IT management (perhaps an IT manager) and much more. You would become a business manager and your duties as a software writer may fall to the wayside for a while. (The likely-hood of you starting here is poor.)

These are all just brief ideas. The most important thing is progression and forward thinking. Crisis management doesn't work for a business. I was serious when I said I would help. If you want to do this... lets go.


>>>I'm putting up a site as we speak. I hope to let other people (that would be you people most likely) answer that for me.

With the right promotion, you can literally sell dirt. I will help promote your site and help you with the merchant end. I can even help you with site development if you want. All I want for it is to play your games for free and for you to send me a sixpack of some good canadian beer (other than molsen). :)

01-22-2002, 10:40 PM
Thats probably what i'll end up doing (when it comes to it). I was wanting to avoid packaging etc but its not very realistic.

>>>I'm putting up a site as we speak.
No... I'm not. The host i was going to go with has given me nothing but grief so far so i'm not going to use a host that isnt even up for me to upload most of the time. I'll find someone else... Anyone know of good free host that'll give me a good amount of storage space? There'll be an entire game and a fair whack of pictures up there after all.

01-22-2002, 11:06 PM
These guys are quite successful and sold lots of copies without a publisher or a single web banner ad.
But their game is VERY fun.

01-22-2002, 11:14 PM
>>You are going to have to probley pay for hosting
Likely. But I would like to have a site up really soon. I want a development page so people can decide if they even like the game or not and for Beta Testers that want to join up.

Once I get somewhere then i'll look towards my own domain.

>>These guys are quite successful and sold lots of copies
Thanks, i'll have a look at that link and see what they do.

01-23-2002, 07:53 AM
Look for spiderweb software on the web. I cant remember the url but that guy has been doing good tile based rpg's that sell reasonably well. I bought exile,exile2 and exile3 and thoroughly enjoyed them for about $15 each. He offers a download and cd service and if you are after hints he may reply to an email. He is a friendly sort especially if you tell him how impressed by his talking spiders you were.
For 50mb of webspace free with a couple of banner adds try... www.megspace.com

01-23-2002, 11:37 AM
www.stormpages.com isn't bad, but they do not have ftp access. You have to upload everything via webpages.

For cheap webhosting, you can go with www.addr.com I have found their hosting and customer support to be unparralleled.