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Dan Adelman: "Good games are worth paying for"

Trying to make it as a small developer? Nintendo's former indie champion is here to help

When Dan Adelman ended his nine years at Nintendo, he did so with one of the finest tweets you're ever likely to see.

As head of digital content and development, a significant part of Adelman's job was to be the approachable face of Nintendo to the great, swelling wave of indie developers that had emerged since he joined the company in 2005. But by early 2014 it had become clear that Adelman was no longer able to freely use the most direct communicative tool at his disposal: Twitter.

The day he broke his silence was also the day he announced his decision to leave Nintendo altogether, and he did it like this:

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Latest comments (6)

Don't know Adelman, but seems like a guy who knows what he's talking about.

However, "Good games are worth paying for" does not mean that someone would actually pay for them, sadly.

I agree with points 1, 2 and 4. Point 3. "Premium pricing should always be an option" just does not work in mobile games. As a business decision, with a paid game you simply cannot reach the profits that you can reach with F2P. And the chances that your game fails completely are almost the same on both premium and F2P, so why not go for the big wins? This is especially true if you are looking to lure in some VC money; investors are not interested in modest profits, let alone in a company that can barely sustain itself from year to year.
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Matthew Eakins Technical Lead, HB-Studios6 years ago
paid game you simply cannot reach the profits that you can reach with F2P
I need to somewhat disagree with you. Premium games still make gobs more money than FTP, just not on mobile. The problem with mobile is discoverability.

Right now the state of games on mobile is a tautology: Gamers expect free games because most games are free. Developers make free games because most gamers don't pay for games.

My prediction is that within the next 5 years you will start to see premium games become the norm on mobile. Right now the environment on mobile encourages FTP titles. While FTP is not inherently bad we need to admit that most of the stuff available is in the manipulative and abusive category that are just about churning out money. These games are the equivalent of digital fast food and we've already seen that people are getting wise to the scheme and are starting to hanker for something to sink their teeth into. As we get more successful premium games on mobile, like Minecraft, then it will become more acceptable for other developers to start putting out premium apps. Right now what we need are some successful upstarts to lead the way.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Matthew Eakins on 11th September 2014 2:28pm

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Brian Lewis Operations Manager, PlayNext6 years ago
I see a lot of good ideas here... but also a couple of throwbacks.

Unfortuneately todays industry is a solution, looking for a problem. We are putting out games, because that is what we do, and we are not really looking at what we are doing. It used to be that you would find a need, the look to make a product to fill it. Today we are making products, then trying to figure out what need they might fill... and so is everyone else.

There is a large market of people that are more than willing to pay for games, be it via direct purchase, microtranactions, or even monthly sub. However, no one is making games for them (directly). They are instead making games, then marketing them to everyone, to try to convince them to buy them.

What is needed is a better focus on smaller niche's, utilizing the lower cost of development. Not all games need to appeal to everyone. If you make a good game that is what people actually want (and not just another 'good enough' filler) you can be very sucessful. You might also find out that your 'niche' is larger than you think.. and might have a breakout hit.
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Show all comments (6)
Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media6 years ago
You might also find out that your 'niche' is larger than you think.. and might have a breakout hit.
Very true, and you may even turn that niche into something much wider. Most popular genres started as niche, and too much playing it safe with yet another "good enough filller" of a popular genre can kill innovation fast.
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George Kotsiofides Game Designer 6 years ago
I like the cut of this man's jib :)
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany6 years ago
The thing about "Niche" markets is that the customers are extremely loyal, loyal enough to keep you ongoing if you stick close to them. You have a good example of this in NIS America, for example.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alfonso Sexto on 15th September 2014 7:59am

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