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Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Four Questions, plus: the future is in your hands!

First off, guys, I'm way behind in my email. If you've sent me mail and haven't gotten a response, I do apologize, I'll get back to you within the week, I promise.

Second, I was asked four questions in the comments section of my last post... which is pretty appropriate for this time of year (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, well, obviously you're goyische.) Answers:

1. Does this mean no more updates until the fall?

Maybe. See below, in the "future in your hands" section.

2. Is this the end of the free material?

Maybe. See answer to previous question.

3. Will we be seeing more of Ashton?

Yes. In addition to the Operation game (which I still may release as a video), Ashton and Mia played Strip Twister, Strip Battleship, and Strip Jenga. Plus, I got material for an interactive RPS with Ashton similar to Mia's. All of this will be produced at some point... probably.

4. Will SGU be free?

Definitely not, but it'll be cheap. At least part of it will be. The "branching storylines" part of the trailer is no joke; in just the footage I've already taken there are dozens of different outcomes along different paths. (For example, the "go outside" forfeit is offered by Anna if you are losing pretty badly. To make her venture outdoors in the buff, you'll need to stage a comeback.) You'll be able (for free) to play the games right up until they get interesting. For a very modest fee, you'll be able to unlock the game to full nudity. But all those branches (and forfeits) need to be unlocked as well. You unlock them with "tokens". You win tokens by winning games, but you can also purchase tokens.

So what of the remaining free content? Well, that brings me to the subject of donations.

Now, I absolutely hate begging for money, and I'm not going to do it for much longer. I think perhaps I haven't been very clear what I've been trying to accomplish by asking for donations. What I'm not trying to accomplish is to make a profit. The pace of donations has been a little disappointing, but even in my most optimistic wildest dreams, I'd never collect enough donations to even come close to covering costs, let alone compensate me for my time. I'm asking for donations as an experiment, so I can learn something about my target audience and its willingness to pay for this content.

The experiment is coming to a close. Wednesday, April 11 will be the last day I will solicit or accept donations. If you've wanted to donate but have been putting it off, this is your last chance. After next Wednesday, I'll look at the number and amount of donations I've received and decide the future course of LostBets.com. The more donations I get, the lower I will set my eventual price... and the more free content I'll produce. It's up to you guys.


Anonymous said...

I'd be willing to pay about $20 a month for unlimited access but I'm not too sure about this token stuff. If I have to use additional tokens to play the same game multiple times I don't think I would be interested.

Red said...

You won't have to pay for the same game multiple times. Once you unlock something, it'll stay unlocked.

Anonymous said...

Now it seems you are concentrating on games not videos.

I would mostly be interested in videos of games. Which is the emphasis to be on?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for clarifying Red. It sounds good to me. Personally I prefer playing the games. I would expect that you're probably going to do both anyways. I think that's the best way to go so nobody would be disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Might a suggest a middle ground? Folks tend to be giving when they have something to look forward to. Perhaps you could offer a "milestone" for reaching X amount of cash in X amount of time. Something a little spicer than your typical selection of videos, get the girl to do something more, what have you. Sort of a bribe to increase revenues.

Anonymous said...

I think you should just put whatever limited amount of content you have out there as soon as you can and charge a small fee for it and slowly add content and raise the price. I'm sure it is easier said than done however as I have no idea what it takes to start a venture like this. I think donations you receive would amount to less than 1% of revenues you would receive if you charged for content. Don't be discouraged lackluster donations.

Red said...

Folks, I've disabled required registration to comment, but could you please at least sign your posts? It'll make it easier to respond.

#3 and #4: I don't know whether I'll be focusing more on games or on videos. Hopefully I'll do both. Both have advantages and disadvantages... games are a lot more work for me, since they need to be scripted and they also need to be programmed. On the other hand, videos require me to find at least two girls, which is not only more expensive but I've learned that getting people to appear on videos is a tricksy business... they tend to be flaky people, given to no-shows. Getting two or more of them to actually come to the same place at the same time is a difficult task indeed. On the other other hand, games are potentially much more lucrative... a full game could easily sell for $25-$50 or even more, while it'd be tough to charge more than, say, $5-$10 for a video. On the fourth hand, shoots for videos are a lot more fun than shoots for games... the latter tend to be tedious and repetitive, while the former are a great time for all concerned. And on the fifth hand, if I stuck to games exclusively, I wouldn't be competing directly with Ed over at SGC, whose site I like and with whom I don't want to be fighting for market share.

So, to make a long story short (too late), I don't know which I'll be focusing more on, but I'll hopefully be producing both. Variety is the spice of life. This is assuming, of course, that I produce any more content at all... I'm still not convinced it's worth the investment.

#5: Again, I'm not collecting donations to make a profit. What you suggest could conceivably increase the pace of donations, but... well, let me put it this way. Considering the sum total of donations I've received so far, if I value my own time at $10/hour (and my "real" job pays much, much more than that), my cost-of-revenue so far has been about 2900%. Perhaps I could cajole more donations out of people by offering bribes, but there's no way in tarnation that donations would rise thirtyfold.

How's this for a bribe? I'm currently using trial versions of both Premiere and Flash. Both will expire in the next week, and both cost hundreds of dollars. If donations don't reach a point which would cover the cost of those packages... well, I'll still probably buy them, and I'll still probably use them to make videos and games. But there will be no more free content.

#6, that's one of the things I'm considering doing, except rather than raising the price as I add more content, I think I'll just charge on a per-content basis.

Anonymous said...

Charging on a per-content basis sounds like a very good idea. I for one hope you get started as soon as possible. That's the best way to see how much of an audience there is for this.

Anonymous said...

I think if you want this to be a commercial success (as opposed to a hobby that just pays its own way), you don't want to narrow your thinking to "Am I providing games" or "Am I providing videos". You need to think "I am providing gamble/nudity based entertainment". There is clearly a market for both so why concentrate on one? A good business model might be to provide the vidoe content on a rolling subscription ($20 a month) and then provide the games content on a pay per play basis. You buy 10 tokens for $10 and you can use them to play any game one time. If you lose before you finish you can either continue by paying another token - or quit and try another game. That way you give everyone what they want. You have pay per play. You have subscriptions. You have games. You have videos. Chuck in a free meal every 24 hours and some of us would never leave.