9th Age as A Wandering Path - Where are we now, and where are we going?

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  • kisanis wrote:

    I fail to understand how this is a bad thing.
    It's bad to create systems that encourage free riding because useful and valuable things will simply not get done. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free-rider_problem

    kisanis wrote:

    As others have pointed out, linux works on the same premise.
    I think that you & others are being badly misled by comparing T9A to Linux. Linux* is not a consumer entertainment product. Linux has its own reasons for working out as open source and they don't apply to us.

    Popular consumer software is almost never made on a shoestring by a few volunteers in their free time, and this is especially true for games, which I think is the right thing to compare T9A to. But even then, we face a much tougher challenge than a FOSS computer game.

    * (the free & open source linuxes that are made by a few volunteers)

    kisanis wrote:

    T9a is well positioned for the long haul
    No, T9A is badly positioned for the long haul because we are not good at growing our userbase, especially amongst young teens and kids. IMO we need to fix this. Long term means being able to add new players because in the long term people die or drop out for various reasons.

    echoCTRL wrote:

    He is saying it is a bad thing for a company which is wishing to be the sole profiteer of any investment it makes into marketing. Sharing the reward of their investment could be seen as a reason not to invert.
    Yes, exactly. And it's worse than that because if I print a book for $10, sell for $20, spend the difference on marketing Ninth Age then a competitor can come along and sell for $15, do no marketing and gobble up all my consumers whilst taking the profit. Then another one comes the same thing except for $12, then $11, until it is being sold at cost plus 1 cent.

    @Calisson by allowing anyone to sell a T9A product at any price all you're doing is encouraging a brutal race to the bottom.

    JimMorr wrote:

    To do so company would need to gain more than lose from such a sticker.

    JimMorr wrote:

    For companies with 2k customer base 10k base of T9A is interesting.
    Yes, exactly.

    Little Joe wrote:

    if you go by downloaded rulebooks, more like 200k+
    I am pretty sure we don't have 200k people who play T9A.

    In my city of 250,000 we have about 6 players, one or two of whom are a bit lapsed and don't really play any more. So let's be generous and say 6 per 250,000, or 1 per 40,000 people.

    Multiplied over the whole of europe this is about 15,000 people, depending on exactly where you draw the line for europe. you can probably add +20% to that for the rest of the world.

    The forum has 14,771 members as you can see on our main page.

    So I think something like 10,000-20,000 players is correct.

    For comparison, I think that games workshop has about 500,000-1,000,000 players across its games. They make £250,000,000 / year, if you divide that by £300/person/year you get get something in 500,000-1,000,000 range.

    The post was edited 2 times, last by Auto2 ().

  • Auto2 wrote:

    @Calisson by allowing anyone to sell a T9A product at any price all you're doing is encouraging a brutal race to the bottom.
    everything is available for free online. The race started at the bottom. Anyone competing with free had better have a some solid value-added extra to the books or else that's just bad business planning from the get go.

    The project makes the market, we don't pick winners or losers. We just give them a place to compete- and offer a baseline for free to allow easy entry to the game.

    stop demanding a de-facto paywall.

    Auto2 wrote:

    No, T9A is badly positioned for the long haul because we are not good at growing our userbase, especially amongst young teens and kids. IMO we need to fix this. Long term means being able to add new players because in the long term people die or drop out for various reasons.
    Provide non-Anecdotal evidence of this.
    Our download numbers and tournament numbers are constantly growing from what I've seen. Conservatively speaking, T9A has about 10k-15k players worldwide based on these numbers as per @Little Joe post above.

    Auto2 wrote:

    Popular consumer software is almost never made on a shoestring by a few volunteers in their free time
    *Stares in Python, Open Office*

    A lot of software starts as free software made by people on a shoestring, many on a volunteer basis.


    Auto2 wrote:

    this is especially true for games
    *stares in Counter-Strike, DOTA2* - Both made by volunteers on a shoestring budget, for free, before being acquired by big corps.

    Head of Lectors

    Advisory Board

    Quick Starter Team

    "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

    - Grouchy Badger

  • kisanis wrote:

    Auto2 wrote:

    @Calisson by allowing anyone to sell a T9A product at any price all you're doing is encouraging a brutal race to the bottom.
    everything is available for free online. The race started at the bottom. Anyone competing with free had better have a some solid value-added extra to the books or else that's just bad business planning from the get go.
    The project makes the market, we don't pick winners or losers. We just give them a place to compete- and offer a baseline for free to allow easy entry to the game.

    stop demanding a de-facto paywall.

    Auto2 wrote:

    No, T9A is badly positioned for the long haul because we are not good at growing our userbase, especially amongst young teens and kids. IMO we need to fix this. Long term means being able to add new players because in the long term people die or drop out for various reasons.
    Provide non-Anecdotal evidence of this.Our download numbers and tournament numbers are constantly growing from what I've seen. Conservatively speaking, T9A has about 10k-15k players worldwide based on these numbers as per @Little Joe post above.

    Auto2 wrote:

    Popular consumer software is almost never made on a shoestring by a few volunteers in their free time
    *Stares in Python, Open Office*
    A lot of software starts as free software made by people on a shoestring, many on a volunteer basis.


    Auto2 wrote:

    this is especially true for games
    *stares in Counter-Strike, DOTA2* - Both made by volunteers on a shoestring budget, for free, before being acquired by big corps.
    Excellent rebuttals :thumbup:
  • kisanis wrote:

    *Stares in Python, Open Office*
    Python isn't consumer software, it's a programming language?

    LibreOffice is impressive but make no mistake, they are not operating on a shoestring. They spent €450,000 in 2017 according to their financials and took revenue of approximately €740,000.

    kisanis wrote:

    *stares in Counter-Strike, DOTA2*
    They were both mods for existing commercial products, which went "kind of" open source and then went back as commercial again. I say kind of because you still theoretically had to pay $$$ for the game they were mods of.

    Also, even an honest FOSS computer game can operate cheaply much more easily than we can. These things are super easy for someone try try out and have fun with. Very favourable conditions for viral growth.


    kisanis wrote:

    everything is available for free online. The race started at the bottom. Anyone competing with free had better have a some solid value-added extra to the books
    You can't really add value to a ninth age full army book. It's done. What do you want - gold leaf lettering or something?
    Also, you can't add value to a T9A slim army book because its rules aren't final.

    What needs to be added is more players to play against. But the way you have structured things, there is no money in that.

    kisanis wrote:

    The project makes the market, we don't pick winners or losers. We just give them a place to compete- and offer a baseline for free to allow easy entry to the game.

    stop demanding a de-facto paywall.

    We need a paywall (at least for the full products) because we need to invest in the game as a whole. Like marketing. As I have said above, if you just "leave companies to compete" they will sell your nice product at its production cost, in fact most likely it'll just be a volunteer who does print on demand like with the slim BRB - companies won't have anything to do with it because there's nothing for them to do and no money to be made.

    So you have Ninth Age with cheaper books but no marketing budget and 10k-20k players, and GW with real marketing, slightly more expensive books and 500k-1M players. And it's hard to see how T9A avoids just gradually fading away.

    People already spend money - lots of it - to do this hobby. GW is taking in €250M/year. A 20 euro saving on an army book doesn't make it into a cheap hobby. But it does make it so that we can't market the game and grow it. And having an opponent to play against who is close to you is incredibly important. If I drive a 100km round trip once because I don't have a local opponent to play, that wipes out the €20 saving on a rulebook! Some poor guy travels 120km round trip to play with us on a Sunday. And not in the australian outback lol... we're in western europe in a pretty densely populated area.
  • Auto2 wrote:

    You can't really add value to a ninth age full army book. It's done. What do you want - gold leaf lettering or something?
    Also, you can't add value to a T9A slim army book because its rules aren't final.
    Well,
    1. Some people believe they can add value, and undertake to do so.
    2. Please let them try long enough for me to buy what they achieve, before discouraging them. :)

    Social Media Team

    UN Coordinator, aka UNSG

    - druchii.net contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves
  • Auto2 wrote:

    We need a paywall (at least for the full products) because we need to invest in the game as a whole. Like marketing. As I have said above, if you just "leave companies to compete" they will sell your nice product at its production cost, in fact most likely it'll just be a volunteer who does print on demand like with the slim BRB - companies won't have anything to do with it because there's nothing for them to do and no money to be made.

    So you have Ninth Age with cheaper books but no marketing budget and 10k-20k players, and GW with real marketing, slightly more expensive books and 500k-1M players. And it's hard to see how T9A avoids just gradually fading away.

    People already spend money - lots of it - to do this hobby. GW is taking in €250M/year. A 20 euro saving on an army book doesn't make it into a cheap hobby. But it does make it so that we can't market the game and grow it. And having an opponent to play against who is close to you is incredibly important. If I drive a 100km round trip once because I don't have a local opponent to play, that wipes out the €20 saving on a rulebook! Some poor guy travels 120km round trip to play with us on a Sunday. And not in the australian outback lol... we're in western europe in a pretty densely populated area.
    Just a note : are you considering that the game can be easily played with a computer ? With my group of friends we use tabletop simulator and i see that many people that are using universal battle.
    I can only imagine what would happens if there was a truly organized group using tabletop simulator : shared minis of every army in multiple models, map from the official pack ready to be loaded and much else.
  • Chack wrote:

    Just a note : are you considering that the game can be easily played with a computer ?
    sure you can but I don't quite see the relevance?

    I am asking for a paywall on the FAB products, i.e. books with artwork and fluff.

    This wouldn't stop anyone from playing for very cheap with slim products. Seema like a reasonable position to me
  • It seems the wider dichotomy presented here is pretty resource driven - is T9A viable in the long term if every exclusive resource is free?

    Whilst the comparisons to Linux and python do exist, I think @Auto2 is right in saying they’re not accurate comparisons because they receive far larger stipends from other companies that help them finance expansion and advertising.

    But I don’t entirely agree with a paywall either, as I don’t think T9A commands enough of a market demand that the paywall would function as intended - it’s germane to note that GW had the advantage of complete control over their product. You had to buy from them or just not play, whereas with T9A people would just most likely move to a different system.

    Rather, I would suggest financial restitution should be implemented at the top of the chain - licensing fees for large events, and sponsorship by events. That would offer both potential for marketing and an influx of funds for internal projects, although it is a sensitive issue as T9A is quite reliant on tournaments to maintain a presence


    echoCTRL wrote:

    @Yatagarasu


    I started my gaming out in japan. You will need to look for Yellow Submarine. It is a model shop and store in Akihabra. You can get there on the JR train line. There are other locations, but the one I went to was there. For gaming, get to know the military while you are out there. The Navy in Yokosuka is pretty accessible for non-military, but you likely need a friend to get you on to base. Once you do get on base, the NEX (Navy Exchange) will be a good place to purchase clothing and western style hygiene products.

    The following Sites talk about Yellow Submarine.

    livejapan.com/en/in-tokyo/in-p…akihabara/spot-lj0006186/

    yellowsubmarine.co.jp/


    Japan is an awesome place. Get to know the train lines and you can get almost any where. I highly suggest going
    Yeah I go to Akiba a lot in my free time, but I’ve actually had trouble getting my models over here.
    "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right."
    -Third Ideal of the Windrunners.
  • Yatagarasu wrote:

    Rather, I would suggest financial restitution should be implemented at the top of the chain - licensing fees for large events, and sponsorship by events.
    Sure you could do that but I don't expect them to be very happy about it.

    Another problem is books in stores.

    If an FAB is available on Amazon for €10 (~= cost of printing), I would imagine that no store would bother to stock it.

    Anyone agree/disagree?
  • Auto2 wrote:

    Yatagarasu wrote:

    Rather, I would suggest financial restitution should be implemented at the top of the chain - licensing fees for large events, and sponsorship by events.
    Sure you could do that but I don't expect them to be very happy about it.
    Another problem is books in stores.

    If an FAB is available on Amazon for €10 (~= cost of printing), I would imagine that no store would bother to stock it.

    Anyone agree/disagree?

    I mean I don’t think there’s a way of introducing a purchase system into this that doesn’t irritate somebody, so might as well go with the people that can afford it.

    Books in stores is probably just completely unviable, I agree. The amazon thing is one consideration, but also with the fact that T9A is constantly undergoing updates, purchasing a bound version of the rules seems pointless when it might be outdated in a couple of months.
    "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right."
    -Third Ideal of the Windrunners.
  • Yatagarasu wrote:

    Books in stores is probably just completely unviable, I agree. The amazon thing is one consideration, but also with the fact that T9A is constantly undergoing updates, purchasing a bound version of the rules seems pointless when it might be outdated in a couple of months.
    But isn't the whole point of gold Rulebook and then legendary Rulebook that we can print something that's stable for a long time?

    Also WDG should at some point become gold (and AFAIK fairly soon!). So within a relatively short amount of time we will have at least a couple of books that are stable for 5+ years, and have full art.
  • JimMorr wrote:

    I would be the first person to call for the Project to run a publishing business and deliver the books under their own publishing brand. But Project repeatedly refused. Instead CCPL licence has been introduced which encourages people to spread the word about the game. This allows project to remain independent, non-business entity. This however means Project has no power over independent publishers who commercially deliver its Works to public.

    But just to be absolutely clear about this:

    under this license in order for the books to end up in a store, that store would have to sell a product with either zero profit margin, or hope that people walk into the store and are dumb enough to make an impulse purchase on it without checking the online price?

    -> so the project has decided to pursue a strategy where our products can't appear in stores?

    If that is the case I'm pretty disappointed
  • Auto2 wrote:

    JimMorr wrote:

    I would be the first person to call for the Project to run a publishing business and deliver the books under their own publishing brand. But Project repeatedly refused. Instead CCPL licence has been introduced which encourages people to spread the word about the game. This allows project to remain independent, non-business entity. This however means Project has no power over independent publishers who commercially deliver its Works to public.
    But just to be absolutely clear about this:

    under this license in order for the books to end up in a store, that store would have to sell a product with either zero profit margin, or hope that people walk into the store and are dumb enough to make an impulse purchase on it without checking the online price?

    -> so the project has decided to pursue a strategy where our products can't appear in stores?

    If that is the case I'm pretty disappointed
    not at all.

    You have to add value to the book. Jim is adding a minature gallery for example.

    You have to *modify* the work to make a profit.

    Different companies can add value in different ways... Thats how markets work.

    We dont say which book is best, we offer it free online. Different people can make different books for sale on different platforms, with different value added, and the market (t9a consumers) will decide which ones they like, and which ones they dont.

    Head of Lectors

    Advisory Board

    Quick Starter Team

    "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

    - Grouchy Badger

  • kisanis wrote:

    not at all.

    You have to add value to the book. Jim is adding a minature gallery for example.
    OKAY so if Jim spends $5 per book to add a miniature gallery to the Warriors FAB he can sell the books online for $5 + $jim-margin + $prodction cost.

    Realistically I think $jim-margin will be pretty small, like $1. Why? Because Jim has no protectability over the concept of adding a miniatures gallery so his margin can't be much otherwise someone else will undercut him.

    Now I'm a store owner. Please explain to me why I would allow either Jim's book with gallery or the vanilla FAB into my store. My shelf space is valuable. Where is my margin on this?
  • MASTERWIRED wrote:

    I'm still confused about how selling books is the only way for the game to grow??
    I mean it isn’t necessarily. But it’s the one piece of content T9A produces for the game - unlike GW the project doesn’t make supplies, models, or literature. As such, it makes sense that selling books is the way to go.
    "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right."
    -Third Ideal of the Windrunners.
  • Auto2 wrote:

    kisanis wrote:

    not at all.

    You have to add value to the book. Jim is adding a minature gallery for example.
    OKAY so if Jim spends $5 per book to add a miniature gallery to the Warriors FAB he can sell the books online for $5 + $jim-margin + $prodction cost.
    Realistically I think $jim-margin will be pretty small, like $1. Why? Because Jim has no protectability over the concept of adding a miniatures gallery so his margin can't be much otherwise someone else will undercut him.

    Now I'm a store owner. Please explain to me why I would allow either Jim's book with gallery or the vanilla FAB into my store. My shelf space is valuable. Where is my margin on this?
    please tell me you don't work in sales.

    If someone else wants to go through all the hassle of Jim's book - only to compete directly with his niche book, for a niche market, they kinda deserve the bad margins and poor return - thats bad capitalism (Doing whats already done).

    the scenario you're describing is just bad economics that anyone able to do basic math should realize is a bad idea.

    Why in dear god would you go through the effort of competing directly with your example, head on, for a tighter slice of a narrow margin. that is asking for failure.

    In your example, someone (lets call him jim) runs a thousand copies of a book, aiming to make 5$ per book in GP with an MSRP making about 5$ per book for the retailer (retail margins are this slim in our hobby, usually worse). to do this requires a lot of upfront risk (the inventory) and connections to move the stock, network, make hte sales etc...

    You're suggesting that someone is going to come in to fight for that slice of 5k GROSS profit (before other costs) to try and knock it down to say 4500 or 4k.

    Thats just a stupid business plan - especially since Jim has highlighted that his whole concept will be to try and break even at the Net cost area.

    -----------

    TLDR; your examples are way out there theory not grounded in actual sales for such a niche market.

    T9A is a wandering path - made for free by passionate volunteers. No pay-walls. No moneyed interference. Keep it free. keep it beautiful. You want ads? you can go buy ads. If I had the free money - you bet I would be dumping a lot of cash to promote this game. But I don't, so I offer my time instead.

    We don't need to take other peoples money, to then promote the game (although, we have a donation link if you feel inclined!) but we need those people to spend their own money promoting the game themselves! Decentralize, DIY, roll up your sleeves! etc...
    W

    Head of Lectors

    Advisory Board

    Quick Starter Team

    "...take a step back and remember that we are playing a game where we roll dice and move little people around the board."

    - Grouchy Badger

  • Yatagarasu wrote:

    MASTERWIRED wrote:

    I'm still confused about how selling books is the only way for the game to grow??
    I mean it isn’t necessarily. But it’s the one piece of content T9A produces for the game - unlike GW the project doesn’t make supplies, models, or literature. As such, it makes sense that selling books is the way to go.
    Based on the number of people downloading the (free) rules it looks like the game is selling itself already.
  • MASTERWIRED wrote:

    Yatagarasu wrote:

    MASTERWIRED wrote:

    I'm still confused about how selling books is the only way for the game to grow??
    I mean it isn’t necessarily. But it’s the one piece of content T9A produces for the game - unlike GW the project doesn’t make supplies, models, or literature. As such, it makes sense that selling books is the way to go.
    Based on the number of people downloading the (free) rules it looks like the game is selling itself already.

    True. But that growth could be more directly fostered. There’s an entire thread of people interested in bound rule books - if T9A were to seize that idea and produce them, the revenue generated could help with advertising and maintenance.
    "I will protect even those I hate, so long as it is right."
    -Third Ideal of the Windrunners.