Monday, 13 June 2011

Proun will be "Pay What You Want!" Here's why

Proun will be launched on June 24th for PC, and you will be able to set your own price! To celebrate, I have made a new trailer that shows the features of the game:

Pay What You Want means that you can choose yourself how much you want to pay for Proun. Really like it? Pay me for it! Just want to give it a quick try? Then don't pay and just download for free! Feel guilty afterwards because the game turns out to be more awesome than what you paid for? Buy it again! ;)

So, the big question: why? Why like this?

Most importantly, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy Proun. If I set a fixed price, some people won't be willing to pay that and thus won't play Proun.

Another aspect is that I have only recently started to really make money with making games, but it is still less than the legal minimum wage in the Netherlands. I have been making games for at least 50 hours per week for several years now, and it would be nice to actually make a living out of it as well! Not that I should be complaining: I currently earn just enough money to pay rent and buy food, and I enjoy every single minute of this creative life!

I initially announced that Proun would be free for a couple of reasons, not just because I wanted as many people as possible to play it. There is also another reason. If people pay for your game, then it must meet certain minimum quality standards. The game needs an installer. It should run on almost any PC with almost any videocard. I should test it on many dozens of computers to see whether it works everywhere.

Since these things are no fun to do and since I made Proun in my spare time, I did not feel like doing them at the time. So by releasing the game for free, I thought I could get away with that.

However, for some reason I ended up doing all these things anyway. (Maybe because I am a psychotic idiot? Sounds reasonable! Blub-blub-blub.) There is an installer now. And graphics settings. And the beta has been tested by 10.000 people. Somehow, whenever I can improve something, I cannot keep myself from doing it, no matter how boring the work.

So in terms of quality, Proun is commercially releasable now! :)

Some people may complain that Proun doesn't have as many tracks as Need for Speed 37, but I personally think games don't always have to be big, just as they don't always have to be expensive. I did the best I could to make a small experience that is really good and really special. My dream is that to some people, Proun may be a little gem. My favourite game of the past 10 years is Machinarium, and yet that game is pretty small too: I finished it in only five hours. Short to game standards, but these are some of the best five hours I ever spent. I guess Proun can't compare to that, but I hope Proun will be a great ride nevertheless!

Not that Proun is small for every player: if you like hardcore twitch action, then getting highscores on the insanely fast highest difficulty will keep you going forever!

Another reason to make Proun Pay What You Want, is that it feels like a very fair method to sell something. Why should I tell you how much this game is worth to you? Why not decide that for yourself? Deep down inside I don't like the cold rules of capitalism (although I do believe that it is the best system known to mankind), so I'd like to see if doing things in a fairer way can work.

To give gamers a little extra incentive to pay something for Proun, I have added a fifth bonus track to the paid version. This track is shorter and even more colourful than the other tracks, but if you like Proun, then I am sure this track will be a nice extra! ^_^

I am incredibly curious to see how this ends up. How many people will pay anything at all? How much will they pay on average? What will be the highest price some benevolent person will pay for it?

About a month after Proun's release, I will share the numbers of this experiment here on this blog. I guess some of you may be just as curious as I am to see how this works out!