Tuesday, October 11, 2011


I have been reading a series of posts about pdf piracy of game materials on the web and found the sentiment in the right place but I would like to add something.

Many fields of intellectual properties have a had a tough time coming to terms with the new tech ecology that permeates ever aspect of our lives.

The only solution is to stop treating the downloaders as criminals and find new ways to monetize the content they are downloading.

First accept this: THE PAST IS DEAD AND GONE.

We must invent new models to find a balance between the the creator and the consumer.

Models that I see as helping to bridge that gap:

(1) Distribute your IP for free with support from advertisers that appeal to the demographic you are trying to reach. These advertisers must make a property that supports the IP yet cannot be distributed in the same fashion. In games for example minis make a good choice. And take it a step further. Join with them in creating custom minis for your IP. There are other items that fall under this heading (like custom dice).

(2) The Ransom Model / Kickstarter. Having the item paid for in advance is a way to insure a base return on investment. If no one wants to pay for it then there is no point in devoting time to a project if financial gain is your motive. Please Note: I'm a dyed in the wool hard core capitalist. I have nothing against making money except when it brings harm to others. I love for people to see the fruit of their labor. I know I enjoy it.

(3) Incorporating items that cannot be transferred over the web and play an integral part in the IP. Boardgames fit this profile. Even WotC is figuring this one out.

We have to get smart again about the way this new technology is not our enemy but our friend. I know many will disagree with these ideas and I wish you much luck in the future if your IP is purely digital in nature. But I hope it is just a hobby and not a serious business concern.

(4) And last but not least put a way to be paid on the internet and make certain people know where it is. I see many times when someone has created and distributed something for free that I would love to PayPal them a sum of money and a note that says 'keep up the good work!'. It's a simple thing but you might be surprised how many will contribute.

The last thing I will mention is an observation-people buy from people they like. Paizo has an all but cult-like status because of the access the fans have to the company and its output unlike WotC who always feel like they are trying to pull a fast one or being underhanded in how they approach their customers. Stop treating your players like crooks and be forthcoming in your activities with your fans. And don't mislead and screw them every five minutes and make them feel like a chump.