Monday, June 6, 2016

Why We Need To Pay What Games Are Worth

I've had this one on my "to-promote" list for a while now, and I finally found room for it. For those of you who didn't see it, I'm talking about the article Why We Need To Pay What Games Are Worth, Not What We Think They Should Cost by Christopher Helton. If you haven't read it, then I encourage you to click the link, and give it a read through.

Go ahead. I'll wait.
Finished? Good, because this article brings up some things that we, as gamers, need to talk about. And not just talk, but understand so we can continue to play our games responsibly, and understand where our money is really going.

RPGs Aren't Expensive (Once You Know What You're Buying)

People who've been into RPGs since Dungeons and Dragons burst on the scene in the 70s remember the days when you could buy a core book, and probably a module or two, for $20 or less. Even those of us who got into them before the turn of the last century remember being able to swoop in and snatch a gaming book or campaign for $30 or so, if they were on sale, or the owner of our friendly local gaming store owed us a favor. Today, though? When a base book can cost $60 or more, and supplements can cost just as much, why are RPG fans paying so much? What are publishers doing with all this dosh?

Yes... all $4 and change.
What most fans don't know is just how much money it costs to put together a rule book. For example, most big RPG companies (or even mid-list ones) don't have a staff of writers doing all the work. Those individuals often head the projects, come up with the ideas, and write the core sections (new classes, concepts, rules, etc.) but the rest of the content is done by freelancers. Those keyboard mercs, like yours truly, tend to get paid .02 per word on a project (sometimes less, sometimes more, but never that much more). While that isn't much for the publisher to pay, it's still a cost. A cost that has to be added to art, editors, formatting, printing, shipping, marketing, and, of course, the cost of saving up for the next project. And paying the regular staff, let's not forget that.

All told, an RPG company gets to keep about one-quarter of the retail price of its materials. Which means it has to sell a ton of copies just to keep its ink in the black.

It's A Fun Job, But It's Still A Job

Even after it's been explained how little many RPG writers, designers, and artists make, lots of fans fall back on the old, "you're working your dream job, just enjoy it," argument. After all, they have to slave away at a job they hate for a wage that sucks, so why should someone who likes their job make more money doing something that has to be more fun?

Because everyone should be paid a living wage.

Especially you, so you can buy our books when you get paid.
If you're plugged in to the RPG gaming communities online, then you know how hard it is for the creators of some of your favorite projects to pay for things like medical care, or to recover from personal disasters. That's because, even if they're well-known and successful, they simply don't have the scratch to get back up when something like that hits. Hence why it seems there's a new Go Fund Me campaign every other week to help an RPG creator who wound up in the hospital, got in a car wreck, or is dealing with some other form of ill fortune.

So, whether the views in this post, and in Why We Need To Pay What Games Are Worth, Not What We Think They Should Cost, changed your mind or not, think about them the next time you're looking at the price for an RPG supplement.

Because you get what you pay for.

As always, thanks for stopping in to check out this week's Moon Pope Monday update. Also, if you'd like to do your part to help a game creator you're a fan of, then why not stop by The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to help keep Improved Initiative going strong? All it takes is $1 a month, and you get some sweet swag just for becoming a new supporter! Lastly, if you haven't done so already, why not follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter?

1 comment:

  1. I started working on a complex board game. Making a game takes a lot of work, and I don't want to cut (too many) corners on mine.