Online distribution solutions have been one of the core enablers for the recent indie explosion and a new initiative from one of the veterans of the industry aims to give smaller developers freedom when it comes to setting their own prices.
Because We May will encourage developers to lower their prices on those platforms that allow them to set their own prices, including Google Play, Steam and the iTunes App Store.
Ron Carmel, who is one of the founders of 2D Boy
, told Gamasutra that, “The idea arose in a moment of frustration during contract negotiations with a distribution channel that makes draconian demands on pricing control.
“The purpose of this promotion is to show channels that relinquishing pricing control to developers can be good for them.”
The initiative is designed to shame console makers like Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony, who insist on setting their own prices for every kind of title that is launched via the Xbox Live or the PlayStation Network services.
Carmel added, “I know of one release where a console owner unilaterally changed the price of a game right before launch, despite the having settled on a different price with the developer ahead of time. The developer vehemently objected to the change, and was overruled. This caused significant financial damage to the developer.”
The developer believes that those who control the distribution channel need to treat game creators with more respect and take their perspective into account when designing their services and setting their rules.
Changes to accommodate indie releases might already be in the pipeline, with Microsoft announcing that developers are now able to set their prices every seven days, down from 90. Origin
also recently announced that it would waive distribution costs for indie titles that were crowd funded for the first 90 days on sale.