IF Platform that offers revenue sharing to authors?

I was thinking about developing such a platform. What do you think about this? Kinda like Youtube, but for IF?

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Itch has sell your stuff kinda thing, where people can either pay a certain amount to play/download or a donate button. They will deduct taxes on your sales iirc.
Many dev I know have a patreon or kofi to supplement as well.

Neither are really pooling the funds and sharing the profits (though itch has run bundles in the past) between a group of peopel.

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That’s sort of what we do at Hosted Games. https://hostedgames.org/

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Were you thinking ad-supported or a subscription model? Just curious.

Or purchase-based? (Paying for each individual title, I know, how old-fashioned.)

Itch.io is very solid for authors who want to sell individual games. IF is a small niche on Itch.io (just like everywhere else since the end of the 1980s), but if you have an audience you can say “This game for sale on Itch.”

I think the ad-based model would work really poorly for IF.

Subscription-based isn’t impossible, but there’s several tricky balancing acts involved. (You need enough subscribers. You need enough authors to provide a steady supply of games for subscribers. But not so many authors that the game pool overflows and dilutes the revenue share to zilch.) And you have to bootstrap them all at the same time.

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Both ad supported, purchase and subscription based.

Do most people use mobile or browser to view IF? mobile ad rates I believe are much higher than browser

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I thought this as well, but the topic title seemed to rule it out, as there would be no need for significant profit sharing with an ala carte purchase model.

This is from Wikipedia:

“Developers can charge money for games and assets released onto the platform. By default, the site takes a 10% cut from each sale, but developers can set the cut to any amount, a model termed “Open Revenue Sharing” by itch.io. Developers can set the minimum price for items (which may be free), and customers can pay above that amount to further support developers.”

So, it I set the price at $3, and customer 1 pays the minimum while customer 2 pays $5, the itch.io cut from both sales is still only $0.30 each? Or, if the game is priced free and someone pays $1, all of that goes to the author?

nope they take the cut of the paid price. so 0.3 for the first, 0.5 for the second.
same with donations.

unless put the cut to 0%

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The Wikipedia bit there was a little ambiguous IMO.

I’m not sure Itch’s page is much better on that point despite having a math example, but yeah, the thing you set is the percentage of the total sale price that itch should take.

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yes but on your site you can only use your script. i want to make something that uses all the major ones

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Not sure whether they technically count as “platforms”, but don’t some of the IF-adjacent mobile apps, like Choices or Episodes or whatever, have some version of revenue-sharing with authors? I mean my sense is that the models are not especially author-friendly - and I know there are even scammier fly-by-night versions that pop in here to try to do recruiting every once in a while – but they do exist and somebody appears to be making money off 'em.

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Using their example, this could be reworked to figure out a price to set that grants a desired net payment after itch.io and payment processing:

Gross math stuff

$10 - ($10 * 0.1) - $0.30 - ($10 * 0.029) = $8.41

( X - (X * Y) ) - 0.30 - ( X * 0.029 ) ) = N

(X - XY) - 0.029X - 0.3 = N

N = 0.971X - XY - 0.3

Where N is net author take, X is the Set Price, and Y is the percentage given to itch represented as a decimal fraction of 1.

Let’s say you want to take home $1 for each game you sell with the default 10% to itch. Plug and chug:

1 = 0.971X - 0.1X - 0.3

1.3 = 0.871X

X = 1.3 ÷ 0.871 = 1.4925373134

Round up to $1.50.

Or you want know how much you can give to itch and still clear $10 on a $15 list price:

10 = 14.565 - 15Y - 0.3

-15Y = -4.264

Y = 0.2843333333

The max cut you can give itch before dipping below $10 profit is 28.43%.

ETA: Honestly, all the variables should be on one side if you’re just as likely to seek one over the other.

Is this better?

N = 0.971X - XY - 0.3

0.3 = 0.971X - XY - N

I want to make it equal to 1, but the decimals became irrational and infinite, so it seems not great.

A little while ago it was brought to my attention that there are developer groups that sort of support eachother (financially) as a collective. However, those weren’t IF games. Let alone mention the prerequisites for the group (being tight-knit, long time friends).

My immediate question would be (if we dismiss for the platform as a whole, things like content moderation, server space/bandwidth, advertising, accounting & businesses experiences, QOL features like forum/decent search, etc.): How would it be different from other websites such as Itch or Steam for that matter? How could it make IF more appealing for others, to convince them to visit? What would be the bar of entry for creators?

As for the ADs, only a handful of marketing agencies offer their services, the overarching majority is on mobile (saying this after wanting to make free games with other monetization forms). Gave up because there weren’t any options for PC.

The idea sounds intriguing (the collective support), could imagine something similar to a nonprofit organization that gives out grants to authors.

The subscription, kinda what Microsoft is doing could be a thing. But then again, the no.1 issue would be with any form of income: traction/reach, getting that audience. Making it stand out from the crowd. That, IMHO, could be only achieved by quality, or by doing something that goes with the trends or sets those (like what Tiktok does).

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Ads suck. I actively avoid any platform that involves ads if I can’t circumvent them.

I strongly believe advertising is a form of pollution and should be treated that way.

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How about; one website, No ads, subscription tiers, including free. You login and everything runs in your browser - desktop and mobile.

So, Netflix for IF.

Subs money minus cost gets shared to authors based on a content demand formula. Or possibly simply an amount of content formula.

You need a seed bunch of authors making seasons of episodic games. Like the TV networks. Also several popular genres; crime, horror, fantasy, scifi, western, romance etc.

?

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This is basically Nebula for IF, no?

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Yes, almost! But, I don’t subscribe to Nebula. I like some kind of try-before-you-buy model. I also think their single $5/month pricing is too inflexible.

So;

What i would want is “Nebula for IF”, but with a graded tier system, and definitely a free tier.

Episodes of popular IF series would perhaps sink down the tiers with time. Eventually, you could play old, but quality, content for free.

Players who “get into” a game series would be tempted to upgrade to paid tiers to experience the more up to date works because they really want to know how the story develops.

cheapskates could wait and eventually play for free. But that’s fine.

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A bit gimmicky, but I’d also have your “login” also be your game character. You could edit and customise that character, visuals, bio, etc.

Points, character progression, skills etc carry with your character and into the games. Probably not items though.

This would work best with fantasy & RPG style games, but also with regular IF, as things like stats and paragon vs renegade would be part of the spectrum that could affect things like conversation.

You’d have a community forum too where all these characters could socialise. Trust levels could be based on paid tier level too.

Edit: the site would have a shop where you can buy merch. The usual stuff like t-shirts & mugs, but also game feelies, like posters and 3D printed game items.

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While would agree that having a sort of a “trial” where you’d excess sample games, would give you a glimpse of the entire service (if it’s strictly curated), but would play the devil’s advocate that the idea of “race to the bottom” with pricing is horrible to say the least. If one’s continuous efforts aren’t being validated (financially) than what’s the point of them contributing to the platform? Games/stories/books/whatever, from a business perspective, are goods. While some of their value depreciates over time, they rarely hit rock bottom. Imagine being able to have a house on your name, just because it’s been built 50 years ago in Manhattan; or working as a freelancer painter, having to give your art away for free. It’s already taxing that gamers think of games as strictly goods, rarely as art these days, and make their decisions based on how long/feature packed a game is: calculating dollar vs. value, before thinking of “will I enjoy this”. This is why predatory monetization is a thing. Maybe it’s my rosy glasses, but artists are already (generally) underpaid and overworked (see Hollywood ATM with their ongoing debate with screenwriters), and everything and everyone is working on that it stays this way or get worse (with the advent of AI).

Ps.: While the comparison with goods cannot be avoided, personally, would stay away from comparing games to a say a dozen of eggs; solely on the basis that art has no intrinsic value to begin with.