May 8, 2017 - 3 minutes
My position on monetization
My opinion is that an important balance must be struck. If free software games do not have any monetization efforts then they are shooting themselves in the foot, and they will fail to compete with non free games who have the advantages of monetization.
I do not want to over monetize because it ruins the relationship with the communty, and can seriously hamper gameplay. I solidly believe that if you buy a game you should be able to have fun with it, and not be nickled and dimed. I think expansion packs are okay but I have no plans on having any in my games. The possibility of over monetization is also something I thought the NC clause could mitigate.
The current monetization scheme
Right now the situation is a classic GPL code + non free assets (CC BY NC). Which is a bit dissappointing because I cannot be included in repos of popular distros, and I am failing to support free culture, which to me personally is a secondary goal but an important pillar none the less.
The idea would be that people can distribute the game if they like, but being the developer I would be the center of all updates, and I still have a monopoly on updates. Since the game is under the GPL I would also get back everyone else’s changes. And the main advantage of NC means that I am still the only person who can reasonably monetize the game. Sadly monetization is needed as long as the current economic system is in place.
- People can still distribute the game and play with eachother
- Game is totally decentralized
- The only infrastructure would be the master server
- Cannot be included in linux repositories
- I am unable to use CC BY SA’ed materials
- My assets are non free
Why I am changing
Not being included in the GNU/Linux repos is a two edged sword because I am the only one who can monetize but at the same time that is some exposure that I will not get. And some extreme people would refuse to play the game because of “non free” assets, despite still being able to distribute and modify them unconditionally. I am also not allowed to make my assets public on notabug. But free culture’ing them would give me some flexibility to release assets if I see fit.
In the end it felt like my current monetization scheme was only somewhat effective and it compromises the free culture principles that DMUX was founded on.
The new monetization scheme
My plan would be to create a central account system and require users to log in in order to connect to servers. This sounds bad by itself but:
- The assets would be completely free culture
- I would then be able to use CC BY SA’ed materials
- Linux repos would help with getting a market for the game
- Player profiles are now possible.
- Increased security?
- Once this is done, it could be difficult to undo once I stop monetizing the game. I could make accounts gratis but I still have to maintain infrastructure.
- More infrastructure maintenance
- Account systems can be annoying
- Increased network complexity
However I will also be making the infrastructure behind the game private; and I will be maintaining a private fork of the minetest master server.
I will probably use the following with for authorization
- requests (which is already being used for the radio)
OAuth is another authentication solution that I will consider if OpenID does not work out for some reason.
After discussing this with my small community it seems like this will be the direction I am going in. I will be making the shift to this monetization scheme in the coming weeks after I reach feature parity.