But I am not at this point concerned with exactly how to separate people from their money - up-front, micro, subscription, whatever. My question is how do we rebuild a marketplace where games have medium-sized satisfied audiences at all. We currently seem to be aggregating towards many cult favorites (three devoted players each) and Fortnite (all the rest of the money).
Thus the discussion turns to publishers and their fan bases, and other communities of curation. This is an indirect answer to the comments I saw on (e.g.) the "Post-apocalypse" article, saying (e.g.) "stupid devs are marketing only via twitter and the indie festival circuit". I think this is not unreasonable! And I don't just say that because I'm planning to do it myself!
A large part of "people value it" is network effects, i.e. "people value what other people already value." This is why I am still hosting games on Steam despite everything. There *is* network effect there, and it's for legitimacy and presence in the greater conversation, not just money. (Although the money isn't zero, which is nice too.)
Now, the obvious question is, why should I charge money for a game if I've given up on the idea of making a living that way? Should I go for free-to-play Itch releases? This is messy and may represent a place where I am still emotionally stuck to something. But I would like to create work which people both play and value. I can't take dollars out of that equation.
So I was talking to someone who did 3D-printed sculpture for a living, and describing the recent indiepocalypse links, and she said yes, that happened in 3D printing land. For a while you could make money. Then everybody discovered how easy and fun it was, and now essentially nobody can make a living at it. (A couple people can; thousands *think* they can but are wrong.)
An interactive fiction guy. He/him.
Game development! Discussions about game development and related fields, and/or by game developers and related professions.