Hi there, defenders of human (use) rights,
Thanks a lot for all your thoughts regarding our licensing model in various threads. I have taken the liberty to create this new thread to collect some of your feedback.
We have invested quite some time into working out a model that’s fair for all parties, and we embrace the opportunity to discuss this with you here on the forums. It is great to see that a lot of you confirm with their statements that we’ve come up with a fair approach.
So that we’re all on the same page, this is the idea behind our approach:
The regular single-user version of articy:draft costs 349€ (I’ll also open another thread on the topic of pricing, so this will focus only on the use rights question). Our goal is to make this same version with all the features accessible to indie devs and hobbyists at a lower price point. We strive to provide all kinds of support to indies, for example we’re sponsoring server licenses for multi-user indies and offer great discounts for smaller studios. We were all “born indie”, so we know where you’re coming from, and we want to provide something that’ll work well for you.
So the idea was to cut the price down to less than 100 bucks. But then, how can we make the Steam version differ from the regular version, despite the price? Truth is we don’t want you to get less features than the regular version, because you should get everything you need to design and make great games. So we’re not trimming down the software. In a stage where you’re bootstrapping and investing your own “pocket money” into your beloved game project, we want you to be able to kick off for less than 100 bucks and have all the articy:draft magic at your disposal. So we decided to go the “Office Home And Student Edition” way. This edition is also non-commercial. Office for pros costs ~540€, the non-commercial version comes at ~140€.
We understand that the price tag matters to you, and for some of you the 100 bucks mark may still be too high, but for those that can afford 100 bucks into a software that’ll increase your productivity and streamline your development process, it’s a great deal. Now, when you get to a stage where revenues kick in and you are “commercially exploiting” (is it just me or does that sound like a nasty thing to do?)
your product, we’d appreciate if you get the appropriate commercial use right. We rely on your sincerity here, and a little bit in your bad conscience, because if you don’t upgrade (to ~200 bucks, still less than the original price), you’re commercially exploiting the couple-of-hundreds of man-months put into this well-engineered piece of software. :)
So please bear with me here and focus not on the actual price points, but on the underlying model. Long story short: There’s an initial investment that proves you’re serious and actually interested in going “pro”, and for this investment you’ll get a pro-tool that’ll make your live a lot easier. Now you can use this software as long as you wish with no extra charges when you’re still experimenting and flying under the radar. And when your commercial success is there, you do a “deferred payment” of the still discounted original price (~200€ vs. ~350€) by upgrading to the commercial license.
Here are some of the opinions I’ve read (and I’m focusing more on the critical ones, because I want to add my 2ct to those):
I have no problems with this. If they are willing to trust and rely that good people will come back and buy a commercial license if their product helped make their game a success then that's fine by me. Some will call me stupid but I would most definitely go back and make a purchase of a full license if my game paid my bills and fed my family. I used to have issues with their pricing scheme because it is too much for their target audience. However, the current price is fair and I have no problems with it and I like the idea of them trusting us to use it and then potentially change our license out if we "make good".Original post
That’s a great way of summing it up. Thanks a lot for bringing your standpoint to the table, and we’re obviously hoping that more people are thinking and feeling the same way.
Furthermore, I don't pay paper companies for commercial purposes when I plan a project on their paper and I don't see why planning software should work that way.Original post
That’s correct, but please keep in mind that a paper company charges its list price. They don’t care about you being a “small printing shack” or a major publishing house, despite obviously offering bulk discounts. You can think of our “non-commercial license” approach as a way of lowering the initial investment for you smaller devs and relying on your goodwill to “play the rest later”. So what may look like a slightly inappropriate approach – if you regard paper and articy:draft both mere tools – is actually a better way for you than cropping down the feature scope, or just giving you smaller pieces of paper or poorer quality.
How can they know my game used their software?Original post
That’s a good point, and we obviously thought about that. But then again, this is all about supporting you, not limiting you. We won’t control you; we wish you the best of luck for your projects.
We're not speaking of a tool which produce something like Photoshop (mentionned earlier here), but it's nothing more than a support tool. It's like a accountant management program for a self-employed/freelancer.”Original post
Actually, we consider articy:draft the “Photoshop for game designers"
, so it’s funny you bring this analogy up. Photoshop can be used just for sketching ideas (like concept art) which will then be recreated in Unity or wherever. OR you can use it to create actual game content, like textures for your 3D world.
The same applies to articy:draft, you can devise and design your game and then hand it over to a completely different framework, OR you can export your dialogue lines, character stats, tech trees, skill tress, flow charts, etc. to your game runtime.
…I believe Nevigo are relying on an honour system that you will upgrade if something you made with the help of articy:draft sells well commercially.Original post
Yes. That’s correct, and again a good summary. Thank you.
Think the issue here is you're already invested into making a production product by buying this, or else you just blown 100 dollars for a fancy version of VisioOriginal post
I understand your point of view (or the point of view you adapted in your post to make your point)
, and it makes a lot of sense to try to avoid the risk of “malinvestment into a development tool” as long as possible. Yet, I personally am slightly worried by the fact that “having invested €100 into a piece of software, not sure if I'll ever complete my game” sounds like a weird and strange thing to do for some of the users out there. (I found your post very spot-on and I understand you weren’t stating your own opinion, so my apologies for using this quote as an example.)
Getting a development tool for free up to the release of your game would mean putting the risk on the tools company. You’d use their tool for quite a while, benefit from the enormous development efforts they've put into this, and when your game never sees the light of day (or revenues offer “some space for improvement”), they will never see any money. Big companies may be able to regard this as “marketing efforts”. We at Nevigo also strive to take the burden of an initial investment (and thus your risk) off your shoulders, but the furthest we can go is lowering it significantly to less than 30% compared to the regular price. We hope you agree with us that this still is a fair deal.
Even the idea of selling a commercial version of this tool isn't justified, makes no sense : there won't be any trace of it in your game. It's handy, like a hammer or an agenda, but i'd feel more confortable with a single price set at 200 bucks than with this shallow "pay us when you make money out of our software" joke...Original post
You’re bringing up a very valid point, and we’re sort of borrowing this licensing model from traditional middleware. Middleware leaves a traceable fingerprint in your game runtime, whereas a content creation tool doesn’t typically do that. So I understand how this may look inappropriate. On the other hand, we believe it’s the more consumer-friendly way than cutting features. We don’t actually bother ourselves with how well the percentage of your commercial success caused by articy:draft can be monitored by us, because we just want you to have everything you need to make good games, even if that means applying slightly off-topic licensing terms.
Wow, this became rather lengthy. Thanks for bearing with me up to this point! If you wish to discuss or comment on any of my points, please do so. I'm curious to hear your opinion.
Keep up your great work, make great games! :)