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Don't sell games, sell self-satisfaction

Indie developer Jeff Vogel (Avadon: The Black Fortress) argues that players pay for easy-to-pirate indie games because it makes them feel good to
Indie developer Jeff Vogel (Avadon: The Black Fortress) argues that players pay for easy-to-pirate indie games because it makes them feel good to support creators, in a new Gamasutra feature. "You want to pirate the PC version of my newest game, Avadon: The Black Fortress? Search for it on The Pirate Bay. You can get a free copy in less than the time it takes to read th... Oh, you got a serial number already? Told you so," writes Vogel. "So why do people pay for it? Because they understand a fundamental fact: For these games to exist, someone has to pay. If everyone just takes it, I'll have to get a real job and the supply will shut off." All the same, plenty of people's games get ripped off by pirates, and they are all in the same boat. Surely there's more to it than that? "They get the knowledge that they are Part of the Solution and not Part of the Problem. They know that, in this case, they are one of the Good Guys. It is well-earned self-satisfaction, and it is valuable. To know they are doing the right thing, some people will happily pay 20 bucks. This is how I stay in business," Vogel writes. "This means that I am very, very careful to maintain a good public image. I try very hard to be likable and engaging and generally not a jerk. I don't always succeed, but I try. The goal for an indie developer is to get people to like you. If they don't want to help you stay around, they will help someone else." The full feature, in which Vogel writes about how he's been able to make a good living developing turn-based PC RPGs, a genre with little presence in the mainstream market these days, for 15 years, is live now on Gamasutra.

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