Pricing Challenges

Let’s talk about MONEY!

No, really, let’s talk about money and how it makes everything super awkward.

After a lot of teething issues, we here at Invincible Ink broke our games into four categories: Pay-What-You-Want games, $10 games, $15 games, and $25 games on DriveThruCards. Originally I wanted our games to be $10 or $25, but there was a problem with that.

When we sell our games, we try to sell them face-to-face for nice, consistant amounts of money; we sell a $10 game for $10, no small change, no fiddling. This is to make it easier and also to make math easy. I don’t want you to have to sit there calculating adding sevens or fours to your budget for your lunch or whatever when you’re in a convention looking at me. Tens and fives are easy and that makes it easier on all of us. It’s also, I feel, a good price that competes with other games you might want to buy at a convention. Consider that a game like Ultimate Werewolf might cost you thirty dollars here in Australia, while a game like the Botch costs you ten. Fifteen dollar games of ours compare to their more popular compatriots, and so on. There is, to an extent, market involved here.

The thing is, if you buy these games on DriveThruCards, they cost quite a bit more – because DTC prices are in American dollars.

This is a bit of a magic trick; if you buy the games on DTC, and you’re in America, you’ll never know the price difference, because shipping is super cheap. And I mean that; a copy of Middleware costs less than four USD to ship around the USA, but around twenty to ship over here to Australia. This means that when we sell games to you face-to-face in Australia, those bigger games like Fabricators are selling for $30 – simply because we need to make them that expensive to recover any of the shipping costs. Worse, those games are also rarer sellers, so the question hovers around as to whether or not they’re acceptable at that price? This is a rough feeling, a really embarassing one, too, when I hand over a copy of my game to someone who wants to buy it. I know what went into it. I know what it costs. I know – somewhat nebulously – about the gap betwen what I charge and what I was charged, and know that I’m valuing that as transportation costs and the cost of my labour to sell the game and of course, design the game.

These are things we don’t like to talk about.

I think about this more as I look at the prices on DriveThruCards. After all: If I priced things at say, $6.99 a unit, that’s about the same price as we sell them here in Australia. But we get comission on profit not on the actual price; so knocking three dollars USD off the price may work out as losing more of out profits. And that’s rough!

These are not solved problems. These are things we think about. We want to make sure you can have our stuff, but we also want to be sure that we’re valuing the work we do to get them to you. And this tension is a struggle, genuinely so.

After all, our games are cheap games. They’re comparable to a pizza, and if you buy one of our games and have an hour of fun, once, you’ve come out ahead compared to a pizza (unless you eat your pizza really slow, I don’t know). And – especially with work like The Botch and Middleware and Lily Blade, we’re talking about excellent work that has the work of other creators in it, which deserves quite a lot of respect too.

Anyway, I bring this all up because I don’t want to swizz people out of money, but I would really like to do more of this game development. As always, there’s something you can do, as a reader and fan of our games, to help our stuff grow – you can share links to our work, tell your friends about our website or our DriveThruCards page, and you can promote our stuff if you like the look of it! These may seem like small things, but if you’re one of those people who has told others about our games, please, understand that you are making things better, and you are helping, and thank you.

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