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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:49 pm 

Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 11:30 pm
Posts: 1116
We noticed a lot of people wonder how Open Source could make Cyan money. Well... here is one possibility, and I'd love to hear opinions.

We all know that the game software itself is going to be open sourced. So, playing URU will never cost anything, except for voluntary donations to show our appreciation.

But what if Cyan set up an iTunes like store (actually, because of the open sourced nature of the game, it would be more like an Android store model than iTunes store, but I think more people are familiar with iTunes).
This means that when the tools are released, everybody can create "stuff" if they so desire, be it a t-shirt, Relto page, Hood decal, dance move, or complete age... and then sell it or give it away in the URU store. Ratings will quickly reveal what is worthy content, and from everything that is sold, a percentage goes to Cyan. Also, anything that gets added, can be pre-tested and given a "DRC seal of safety"... which prevents URU from changing into another Second Life.

This would also pave the way for Cyan to sell their own (future) ages, or even third party companies to add content. Of course I have no idea what legalities/technicalities are involved, it's just a thought of how user created content could be provided in a way that might be satisfying to all.

Would that work, you think? Any thoughts welcome, but keep it civilized please :) :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:38 am 

Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:06 pm
Posts: 663
Location: Houston, Texas
I like the idea and have already thought of it myself - yes, there could be a Cyan store for sales of extra packs of Cyan content, and yes, maybe there could be a place to sell third-party content which Cyan would get a cut from sales of.

I'd proposed both of those things in some form in previous threads and am glad to find someone else who (also) thinks it could be effective.

I think if there are enough Uru players gathered between the MO:ULagain servers and the hoped-for fan-run ones, the market for additional Uru content will become sizable enough to support this sort of thing.

If there are hundreds of thousands - or ultimately, several million - Uru players, that's a very big market - enough to support the sale of low-priced content at profit.

I can also see the idea of Cyan letting fans make third-party content for Uru and sell it in some way, while taking a reasonably large (30%?) cut of the sales as a condition of letting them sell it.

We're concerned about Uru becoming overcommercialized, of course; that is a consequence of the idea - but look at it from the point of view of the 700 fan artists in the Guild of Writers who can only afford to work on making Uru fan content for a few hours per week - limited, slow production - because for them it's a hobby, not a viable paying job.

I figure that if a fan artist can make money by selling some of their fan-created worlds (at a price of 50 cents, 99 cents, etc) and they're really good quality worlds that can sell well, then those fans will be able to cut back on doing other things and spend more time making Uru content because they (all of a sudden) are able to make a living of some sort doing that.

For them, it becomes a viable job (part-time or full-time), not a hobby, and they can afford to devote 3, 4, or 5 times as many hours per week to making Uru content because now it actually helps them pay their bills.

Indeed, I can imagine myself ditching some of my other work to spend a lot more time developing Uru content if this sort of store system opened. I imagine other GoW members might do the same as well.

These GoW people would go from hobbyists to serious developers, and the rate of output of fan-created content might double or triple. There'd be more fan-made Uru worlds each month, each year, than in the past - a huge benefit to Uru players - but the downside would be that some of it would cost money (particularly the better-quality fan-made worlds.)

I can imagine the emergence of an unprecedentedly large fan-run production effort, where the fan artists and programmers are suddenly able to become full-time fan developers, and where a third of all the money they make goes to Cyan Worlds - the store would be paying for not only a major boom in fan development but a similar boom in development of official content (both free and for-purchase.)

Simply put, this idea will end up commercializing Uru to a significant degree - but the upside of that is it could cause a MASSIVE increase in the production of content, both fan-made and official.

And essentially, that's one of the things we want the most in Uru - more content.

As for the "It'll cost the players money!" complaint, well, you don't have to buy the content if you don't think the item is worth the price. I'll bet there'd still be a fairly large amount of free content by both Cyan and fans despite the store, and if we have a ratings system for content, the bad or overpriced content will quickly get weeded out and won't sell well.

Ultimately, Cyan Worlds can't produce all that much Uru content without a source of income from it, and fans can't either. If this sort of store exists, it'll provide critical income to both groups - and allow both groups to ramp up large-scale production of new Uru content, new worlds, etc, which they previously couldn't have afforded to make.

And yes, anything added to the official store would need to be vetted somehow to filter out obscene or heavily bug-ridden content. I'm hoping most of that can be done by fan groups so it won't consume too much time on Cyan's part. If Cyan is spending too much time and effort testing the fan content, it'll offset the advantages for the company of having the store there in the first place and the store won't be worth it for them financially.

So I'd argue in favor of a mostly fan-run (Guild of Maintainers?) testing process with (limited) Cyan involvement so Cyan's staff doesn't get bogged down in testing fan-made worlds.

As for the legal issues involved, I have no clue either. Hopefully someone can tell us whether this could be made to work (or not).

I have some concerns about it, but I think it's a good idea.

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