I have been meaning to write this for a while now in response to several emails and postings. I am finally going to throw my first round of comments into the ring to respond to the overall idea that we should be giving away the game for free, why we are a for-profit, and finally why we are charging for the game.
To the comments we get that “I won’t purchase a game that should be free”, or along the lines of “how is a game that is meant to reach people charging money”, on a personal level it has always struck me as odd that thing associated with “peace” should only live in the non-profit or free segment of society. Another comment that we were always asked was “what is your business model”. This implies that because the game is about conflict resolution or “peace” that the standard models don’t apply. It is about spending where your values or interests lie, if your interest is in games why not a game that has received reviews from an established game designer such as “is fun, challenging, tense at times, and extremely well presented”? If you’re interested in the issues then we also equate the experience with a documentary. We address a social issue in an interesting way. I could go on and on for experiences that people pay for that are similar at a base level to what we are doing.
We did have a long debate on whether to be for-profit or non-profit. The issues that drove our decision can be summed up fairly simply with the reality that it was easier and faster to find funding for the profit venture. There is a growing trend for social entrepreneurs, self sustaining models with positive missions, ie positive changes through for-profit ventures ( even this years Nobel Peace Prize Winner Mouhammad Yunus ). We also chose to remain unaffiliated through investment or sponsors. We fought for a long time to maintain the mission of our company and were very sensitive to bias concerns. We continuously saw the opportunity that if we are financially successful we could influence the gaming industry as a whole to understand that this type of mature content is not only in demand but a financial opportunity. To lead by example and to help populate the space with more titles like ours. We still work with and maintain great relationships with several foundations and non-profits for providing the game in places where funding is a problem and for creating wider awareness and support for communities and educators to engage people through the game experience.
We feel we chose a price point that is fairly low for what we have invested in the project, and hopefully not a barrier for too many people. You could also insert a whole argument here on perceived value of something you purchase versus something that is free ( I am not going to extrapolate on that argument except to say this drove some of our decision on the final price ). The main objective is to earn enough money to be able to update this title, expand its community interaction, and to address other topics we have in the que. The primary drive has never been for personal financial gain.
I could and will continue to expand on this, as this is only some of the thinking and issues we have addressed. I attempted to keep this short but was unable to get the basics out without going on a little bit of a soapbox rant.