OK, so this started as an “I’m an indie game developer!” post, and morphed into the title you see above. Mainly because I discovered Gittip, and it’s one of those ideas that grabbed me instantly and wouldn’t let me stop thinking about it.
Gittip is essentially a recurring tip jar for folks on github. (And it sounds like they are ambitious, and want it to be for more than that, but at least for now, it seems like you have to have a github account to sign up — even to tip someone, so that’ll need to change eventually.) Anyway, you sign up/in and tell it who you want to tip on a weekly basis and how much, then it lumps all their tips together in one anonymous donation every Friday.
I’m in the process of setting up an LLC for my business. I quit my dayjob just over a week ago, and I’m going to be making apps (mostly games!!!), about 50% of the time ones that I design, and the other half of the time for other projects I think are awesome.
The point is, I’ve been thinking a lot about monetization, and how I want to be charging people for my apps. Freemium is the buzzword of the year, but it’s got a lot of different incarnations, some of which leave everyone sane with a bad taste in their mouthes. Other incarnations are a lot closer to the shareware model, only you give away the whole app, hoping that enough people want to pay you to make it worth your while. I like that idea, it really sits well with me ideologically, but I’m not certain I’m making games that have a wide enough appeal that the one to three percent of people who tend to pay for games like that would eventually pay all my bills.
If only gittip were somehow a viable payment option for apps!
I really think a model like gittip is how the non-physical-goods-based-economy should work! Or anyway it’s one payment model that has been missing: recurring anonymous microtransactions. Plus it’s combining that with philanthropy, but I really think that’s just marketing for the payment model, same as it is for kickstarter. Effective marketing, don’t get me wrong, especially because it’s marketing you WANT to hear, but marketing nonetheless. (I should probably explain that further, but I’m lazy… maybe in a future post.)
When you sign up, it doesn’t distinguish between folks who want to give or get tips, so you’re presented with a profile screen that asks you to fill in the blank: “I’m making the world a better place by… ________” My initial thought was “well, I’m not YET!”, but then I settled on “…making games nobody else has bothered making.” For now at least, I’m certain that’s true. Wish me luck!