So I said yesterday that I’m no longer selling my BlitzMax Game Framework and here’s the reason why (I’ve already posted this on BlitzBasic.com and in my Framework forum, so you may have read it before):
I’m no longer selling my BlitzMax Game Framework. This is because I’ve sold the IP to Big Fish Games in December 2008 (although I retain a lifetime license). I made sure that my contract allowed me to offer support to existing customers (bug fixes and documentation improvements etc) for another year. I still plan to make a V1.10 soonish including offering the framework as a module to compliment the plain source code version.
I’d like to thank all 200+ of my customers for your business, enthusiasm and help. The framework is way better because of your fantastic input, many thanks. I hope that you enjoy using it for your own games.
Please continue to keep the source code private as per the conditions of sale, especially now that BFG owns the framework, thanks!
I am keeping the forum too because it’s brilliant thanks to all of you!
Final Sales Figures
For those of you who are interested, here’s my final sales figures for the framework:
Time Period: 1st May 2006 to 11th December 2008 (31 months)
Units Sold: 203 + some freebies and competition winners etc.
Gross Revenue: Approx. £5910 (I say “approx” due to currency conversions)
Price: Started at £21.50/$39.00, then raised the price a bit, and finally raised it up to £29.95/$59.95 due to adding more stuff into it, and it kept on selling fine. It was probably too cheap actually (many people told me this) and I should have sold a commercial license for much more, but those people just got exceptional value for money
Sales Channels: 1 Direct Cheque, 59 via Share-It, and 143 via Paypal. Share-It’s fees were the biggest so I preferred Paypal (although Share-It dealt with the VAT for me whereas I had to work it out for each sale made via Paypal and then track it for my VAT return every quarter).
Costs: Excluding my time (we’ll get to that in a minute) I have recorded my costs as £968, which was BlitzMax, Payment Processing Fees, VAT, and some promotional refunds given to “winners”.
Net Profit: Approx. £4942
Time Worked on the Framework: Approx. 396 hours. Initially I logged all time I spent making the framework and this was a couple of hundred hours. Then I logged the time spent making the website and documents etc. I also logged time preparing version releases, processing sales and doing basic marketing (like posts about new versions etc). Plus I logged time spent on support and working on the Framework forum. Probably I’ve missed out quite a few hours of support and loose ends, but it’s a fairly accurate estimate. What is NOT included in that estimate is the time I spent improving the framework as part of the 4 games that I have made with it. That time could be quite large, but is accounted for as part of those games separately.
Hourly Rate: This gives an hourly rate of £12.48. Certainly not lots of money, but neither is it a kick in the teeth (many Indie games make way less money). The important thing to remember is that the framework was used to make 4 games (sor far) so this money is actually pure “bonus” money. All my games have made me much more per hour (and that amount rises every time I receive a royalty payment)…
IP Sale Price: So, I sold it to BFG for … Did you think I was really going to tell you? Sorry that information is private. What was good is that we agreed on a price when the Dollar to Pound ratio was 2:1, so I said how much the framework makes per year and extrapolated for future years of sales and increased marketing + adding in a sweetener etc and we agreed on a good price that I believe was fair for both parties. They have got a good deal though as the framework is awesome and paying someone to make one from scratch would cost a lot of money and take a long time, plus it would need to be tested thoroughly which mine already is. Damn when I say it like that, I think I should have got some more, lol.
In 2006 I needed a framework to make games and none existed for Blitzmax so I decided to write my own. I got lots of help from forum members in the early stages testing stuff out and working out solutions to various technical issues. Then after a while I realised that the framework was pretty cool and that maybe people would buy it (actually it was a “lightbulb” moment). As soon as I put it up for sale I made a large number of sales and people loved it.
There was (and still is) a tiny bit of dissension from a small minority of people who think that I just collected other people’s code and sold it. They don’t seem to understand that a) people gave that code freely in good spirit, and b) that code accounts for less than 1% of the total framework due to all the stuff I’ve added to it and research that I’ve done myself. However, over the years as my business has grown and had various successes, I’ve learnt that some people will always have a “bone to pick” with you maybe because they are jealous, or feeling like failures themselves, or whatever – it doesn’t really matter, the problems lies with them and they can keep it.
Over time I kept on adding to cool new stuff to the framework and it became even better value for money. Also people were testing it out in their own games and helping me to make it more stable. About a year ago a customer helped me to set up a forum and that was a really great move as people could make suggestions, discuss bugs and showcase their own games. It was really nice to have a community build up around the framework.
I’ve made some great contacts and friends through the framework, learned a ton of stuff, and thorough enjoyed working on it, plus it has panned out well financially for me – I couldn’t really ask for more.
So there you have it, (almost) all the info laid bare for all to see. I bet American citizens wish their treasury guy was as transparent about where their trillions of tax money was “spent/lent” to alleviate the credit crunch…ooh I went all political there, sorry.