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Actionuats price tag ?


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Poll: Actionauts pricing (72 member(s) have cast votes)

Should the author of a new 2600 release be paid for their time spent?

  1. Yes (57 votes [78.08%])

    Percentage of vote: 78.08%

  2. No (16 votes [21.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.92%

What is a reasonable monthly salary for a 2600 designer to earn?

  1. $2K per month (29 votes [39.73%])

    Percentage of vote: 39.73%

  2. $3K per month (6 votes [8.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.22%

  3. $4K per month (8 votes [10.96%])

    Percentage of vote: 10.96%

  4. $5K per month (4 votes [5.48%])

    Percentage of vote: 5.48%

  5. $6k per month (2 votes [2.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.74%

  6. $7k per month (6 votes [8.22%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.22%

  7. 0 - they should not be paid for their time (18 votes [24.66%])

    Percentage of vote: 24.66%

Vote

#1 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:22 PM

I'm about to release a new 2600 cart - Actionauts. I have no idea how much such a thing is 'worth' in the Atari 2600 collector's marketplace. What I know are the following two facts.

1) I've released a game into this community before. The name of the game was Cubicolor, and I released it almost 20 years ago. At the time, I had no idea what to charge for the game, so I picked $50 pretty much out of the blue sky. The fifty available copies sold out pretty fast. Today the sale price for one of these games hovers around $1,000. OK, personally I think this is sort of a high price for a game unworthy of release at the time it was made, but who am I to know how these things work. For whatever reason, the 2600 collector community has decided a Cubicolor is worth $1,000. Regardless, I think it's a fair statement that I certainly didn't get the better end of THAT particular transaction !

Suffice it to say the $50 is probably below the price of what an Actionauts cart is 'worth'.

2) I do know what the COST is for Actionauts to exist. The game took about 3.5 months of my time to make in the first place. Then it took about 1.5 month of time to make it available ... figuring how much time it took to make 300 copies, design boxes and labels, figure out how to take and fulfill orders, etc. And then it cost about $5,000 in hard cash to build the 300 carts, print the boxes and labels, etc. So the "cost" of Actionauts is $5,000 + five months of my time. Such is the real cost of making the game available to this marketplace.

Since nobody knows the real "value" of the game, all I can go by is the cost of making the game. Which comes down to what is a fair "wage" for me to earn here? How much is five months of my time worth? I'd like this community to help answer this question, before I put a price tag on the game.

Once the community has designated what they think a reasonable "wage" is for somebody like myself .. and I concur ... I will use the following formula to establish the price for the game. (5 * (monthly wage) + 5000) / 300. In the interests of this community, I think it would be wrong to attach any sort of profit to this price. Thus I'm asking people to be fair and reasonable in the poll questions, and not answer the questions from a purely self interest.

Thanks

Thanks

Edited by rob fulop, Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:25 PM.


#2 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:32 PM

Rob,

IMO $100 now and $2000 in 2028.

8)

#3 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:34 PM

I voted $2000/month, but I wanted to say that that's not what I really think the programmer's time is "worth". It's "worth" a lot more. It just has to be balanced with what people can and will pay. Also factor in that anyone choosing to program and release a 2600 game in the 21st century should be doing it primarily because they "want" to, or, in other words, for intangible benefits.

I don't think it's possible for you to be paid as much as you (or any other 2600 programmer) should get, or as much as I would "like" to pay you.

Now that I think of it, $2000/month with your calculation works out to $50/cart (with box/manual). That should be the low end of what you charge, probably. I'd say $50-$65 would be fair, and you'd easily sell out at that price. Realistically, you'd probably sell out at $100 each, some people just wouldn't be able to buy them. But, that's the breaks I guess.

Edited by Mirage1972, Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:35 PM.


#4 homerwannabee OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:37 PM

Here is your best bet Rob. Sell about 200 of them right now for about $75 a piece. Then hold onto 100 of them. In five years time unload another 60 of them at $500 a piece. And then 10 years later unload the rest at $1,000 a piece. Just my two cents. :)

#5 Dino OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:42 PM

I'm about to release a new 2600 cart - Actionauts. I have no idea how much such a thing is 'worth' in the Atari 2600 collector's marketplace. What I know are the following two facts.

1) I've released a game into this community before. The name of the game was Cubicolor, and I released it almost 20 years ago. At the time, I had no idea what to charge for the game, so I picked $50 pretty much out of the blue sky. The fifty available copies sold out pretty fast. Today the sale price for one of these games hovers around $1,000. OK, personally I think this is sort of a high price for a game unworthy of release at the time it was made, but who am I to know how these things work. For whatever reason, the 2600 collector community has decided a Cubicolor is worth $1,000. Regardless, I think it's a fair statement that I certainly didn't get the better end of THAT particular transaction !

Suffice it to say the $50 is probably below the price of what an Actionauts cart is 'worth'.

2) I do know what the COST is for Actionauts to exist. The game took about 3.5 months of my time to make in the first place. Then it took about 1.5 month of time to make it available ... figuring how much time it took to make 300 copies, design boxes and labels, figure out how to take and fulfill orders, etc. And then it cost about $5,000 in hard cash to build the 300 carts, print the boxes and labels, etc. So the "cost" of Actionauts is $5,000 + five months of my time. Such is the real cost of making the game available to this marketplace.

Since nobody knows the real "value" of the game, all I can go by is the cost of making the game. Which comes down to what is a fair "wage" for me to earn here? How much is five months of my time worth? I'd like this community to help answer this question, before I put a price tag on the game.

Once the community has designated what they think a reasonable "wage" is for somebody like myself .. and I concur ... I will use the following formula to establish the price for the game. (5 * (monthly wage) + 5000) / 300. In the interests of this community, I think it would be wrong to attach any sort of profit to this price. Thus I'm asking people to be fair and reasonable in the poll questions, and not answer the questions from a purely self interest.

Thanks

Thanks


Hi Rob,

I think the question is not so much what you can charge for your time, but what people are prepared to pay. Currently, Andrew Davie is working on the release of Boulder Dash for the 2600, which is going to be an amazing technical feat. He is offering the carts at $50, which most people on these boards would agree is reasonable for such a work. Andrew is spending much more than 5 months on the work. I would say that Auctionauts would be on par with the release of a game such as Gamma Attack, a 30 year old game recently discovered and is being released in a limited run for $35 shipped to the US. Given this is a Rob Fulop release, you may be able to charge a premium but exactly what that would be, is difficult to determine. I would work on the premise that $50 is the absolute ceiling for your game. Using your formula, that's $2k per month for your time.

Edit: Sorry, I noticed that this comes with a box and instructions, so you should get at least $50, maybe up to $75. I think you would struggle to sell 300 at $100 IMO.

Edited by Dino, Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:44 PM.


#6 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:55 PM

I voted $2000/month, but I wanted to say that that's not what I really think the programmer's time is "worth". It's "worth" a lot more. It just has to be balanced with what people can and will pay. Also factor in that anyone choosing to program and release a 2600 game in the 21st century should be doing it primarily because they "want" to, or, in other words, for intangible benefits.

I don't think it's possible for you to be paid as much as you (or any other 2600 programmer) should get, or as much as I would "like" to pay you.

Now that I think of it, $2000/month with your calculation works out to $50/cart (with box/manual). That should be the low end of what you charge, probably. I'd say $50-$65 would be fair, and you'd easily sell out at that price. Realistically, you'd probably sell out at $100 each, some people just wouldn't be able to buy them. But, that's the breaks I guess.


You do realize, that you are suggesting that a 2600 programmer, one with reasonable credentials, should expect this community to pay them no more for their time then they could earn as an assistant manager at Jack in the Box, right? Maybe you are right, and such is how this community truly values people like myself ... I guess we will see based on the result of the poll !

#7 Mayhem OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:02 PM

It depends on what the market can bear, and the market isn't that huge. I'd not pay more than $30 for a cart/manual combo, or $50 for a boxed game unless it was truly exceptional and/or warranted it (hello Boulderdash). Personally I would vote for $50 as the price to sell the boxed version of Actionauts. I believe you should be able to sell all 200, or 250 copies of the game that are being made.

#8 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:04 PM

Would you pay $500 for a signed Cubicolor?

Would anybody else?

I think they would.

So why, again does $50 represents any sort of absolute ceiling ??

I'm very confused by your reasoning here.

#9 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:04 PM

It depends on what the market can bear, and the market isn't that huge. I'd not pay more than $30 for a cart/manual combo, or $50 for a boxed game unless it was truly exceptional and/or warranted it (hello Boulderdash). Personally I would vote for $50 as the price to sell the boxed version of Actionauts. I believe you should be able to sell all 200, or 250 copies of the game that are being made.


So you wouldn't pay me $150 for a signed Cubicolor, then?

#10 legeek OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:06 PM

Voted $4000 a month. If I remember correctly Cubicolor carts were $100? I used to have one, but did sell it when I thought I was getting out of Atari collecting. I kick myself for doing that now (and for the record it sold for $222.22. This was before eBay and took place on usenet via rec.video.games.marketplace)

Anyway, I think the market would bear up to $100.

Cheers,
Ben

#11 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:12 PM

Voted $4000 a month. If I remember correctly Cubicolor carts were $100? I used to have one, but did sell it when I thought I was getting out of Atari collecting. I kick myself for doing that now (and for the record it sold for $222.22. This was before eBay and took place on usenet via rec.video.games.marketplace)

Anyway, I think the market would bear up to $100.

Cheers,
Ben

Really? I could have sworn I picked $50. Maybe I started at $50, and quickly realized that $100 was more aligned with what the market would accept.

#12 Rom Hunter OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:13 PM

IMO some extra $ can be asked due to the fact that Rob Fulop (of Demon Attack a.o.) is the programmer and that the original coding of the game started back in the eighties.

Hence $100

8)

#13 PingvinBlueJeans OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:14 PM

Rob...that's an interesting question.

I understand your perspective, and I agree that if there's anyone that should make any money on this game, it should be you and not a speculator or collector who buys the game just to sell it later for big bucks. But you're not putting this in accurate perspective. The simple fact is that you really can't predict what a product will sell for in a secondary market setting in the future and use this kind of logic to determine the price for something like Actionauts from a primary source. Secondly, going from past experience, this market is limited and it's hard to convince people to spend more than $50 on any new game, no matter how special it is. I can understand that you spent months working on this game years back, but most people really aren't going to care...that's just reality unfortunately. Besides, even though Actionauts wasn't released, weren't you still employed by Imagic at that time (and thus paid and compensated for the time spent on it)?

Believe me...I think it's great that you're releasing this, and you can probably get away with charging more than $50, but not much more. Either way, I don't think trying to calculate the salary you deserve for the game is really a realistic way of determining the price of something like this. I also think you're going down a dead-end road by comparing this game to Cubicolor...you're making false parallels between primary and secondary market situations.

Regarding Cubicolor...

Yes, it is true that cartridges now sell for $1000+, but that's because you're dealing with a secondary market situation where there are many collectors scrambling to buy the one copy that occasionally comes up for sale. If all 50 copies of the original release were to be for sale right now, they wouldn't sell for anywhere near $1000 apiece, they'd probably sell for $100-$200 each.

No question you got shortchanged with Cubicolor, but you could easily remedy that situation by simply making more cartridges...something you've never been willing to do. The reason is understandable...you wanted Cubicolor to be a very special release and you don't want to snub the collectors who bought the originals and make their collectibles worthless. That's fine, but if that's your policy, you can't complain that you never made any money on it. The only reason the game is worth $1000+ is because the run of cartridges was severely shortprinted and you never made enough to met the demand.

You want to make your money back on Cubicolor? After you're done with the Actionauts release, do another run of Cubicolor cartridges...200-300 would probably do it. Design a label and use different cart shells and PCBs than the originals to differentiate them from the original release. Would the originals go down in value? Yes...a little bit, undoubtedly. But hey, that's life. I don't think anybody who bought the cart originally expected it to be worth $1000...if they did, they bought it for the wrong reasons.

Overall result?

You're happy because you finally made some dough from Cubicolor.
New collectors are happy because they get to buy an "official" Cubicolor from Rob Fulop.
Old collectors are happy because the value of the original Cubicolor carts from 1984 is mostly preserved.

Just my thoughts on the matter...

Edited by PingvinBlueJeans, Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:19 PM.


#14 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:22 PM

I appreciate the work that goes into programming new games for the 2600, probably more than most. I've worked with quite a few homebrewers now. I also know that they make games because they enjoy it. Not because there's any chance they'll ever get compensated for their efforts. They probably make pennies on the hour for all their hard work, if they make anything at all.

It'd be great if they could earn a real salary for their efforts, but they don't.

How much you think your time is worth is a question only you can answer. How much I think your game is worth is $35. That's what boxed reproductions sell for in the store here at AtariAge. That seems reasonable, because it's in line with what a new game cost back-in-the-day.

Since it's a limited run, maybe $50. But I don't buy a game based on speculative future resale prices. I buy a game because I want to play it.

#15 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:23 PM

I voted $2000/month, but I wanted to say that that's not what I really think the programmer's time is "worth". It's "worth" a lot more. It just has to be balanced with what people can and will pay. Also factor in that anyone choosing to program and release a 2600 game in the 21st century should be doing it primarily because they "want" to, or, in other words, for intangible benefits.

I don't think it's possible for you to be paid as much as you (or any other 2600 programmer) should get, or as much as I would "like" to pay you.

Now that I think of it, $2000/month with your calculation works out to $50/cart (with box/manual). That should be the low end of what you charge, probably. I'd say $50-$65 would be fair, and you'd easily sell out at that price. Realistically, you'd probably sell out at $100 each, some people just wouldn't be able to buy them. But, that's the breaks I guess.


You do realize, that you are suggesting that a 2600 programmer, one with reasonable credentials, should expect this community to pay them no more for their time then they could earn as an assistant manager at Jack in the Box, right? Maybe you are right, and such is how this community truly values people like myself ... I guess we will see based on the result of the poll !


No, I said that it has to be balanced with what people _can_ pay. I think I was pretty clear (or not?) in saying that you _deserve_ more pay than that, but it's just market economics working here. It may just not be reasonable to expect more. I didn't in any way say that your time isn't worth any more than an assistant manager at Jack in the Box. Sometimes what we want or deserve just isn't in line with market economics, sorry. I also think that some professions should be paid as much as a pro football player, but that just doesn't seem to always happen. I hope you're not offended by my, or other people's answers. I'm sure we all appreciate what you have done in the past and what you are doing now. I doubt anyone would want to marginalize that, Rob. I can afford to give you more thanks and appreciation than I can dollars, unfortunately!

#16 mimo OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:24 PM

well $50 is about my limit, certainly not $100. I am a game player not a collector, I guess there are 2 different markets.
If you are in it solely for the money then maybe this is the wrong market.

#17 Mirage OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:38 PM

I think PingvinBlueJeans and Nathan Strum have given excellent answers. They both answered better than I did. It may not be what you want to hear, Rob, and I certainly don't think it's "fair", but it's probably reality.

For the record, I do definitely want an Actionauts, but would never sell it. I just want one for my collection and mostly to play it, period. For $50, I'm in 100%. For $100, I'd have to think long and hard, and may have to pass, just due to reality and priorities.

Thanks for doing it either way though, seriously. It's so awesome and never thought I'd see this happen!

#18 Omegamatrix ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:45 PM

IMO $50 is about market value for a limited run boxed game. I personally would like to just get a loose copy for about $30.

#19 sandmountainslim OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:45 PM

RF,
No offense intended at all but I don't understand your curiousity with how much money can be made off of a VCS release in '08, AtariAge ain't exactly a Cash Cow and Manuel "Cybergoth" has made some of the finest games ever put on cart and I seriously doubt he has made enough Reichsmarks to get himself a good private dance and a set of those knee-breeches his people are so fond of. I would love a copy of Auctionauts as I love Demon Attack and Missile Command but I would never sell it.....I don't sell my games I play 'em :)
Hope I didn't piss u off.
WP

#20 rsiddall OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:46 PM

You could hold an auction on AtariAge or Ebay and make your money back through the initial sales. Everyone who wants a copy would be able to bid accordingly. Figure out where the price-point is after the sales level out and make the rest available to everyone else at that amount. More work on your end but at least you get an idea what people are willing to pay...even the crazy ones.

I, myself think $50 is a tad much and normally wait for the newer games to come down to a reasonable price ($39.99). Even if this game is the exception, I have a hard time paying for something that won't offer more than an hour or two of interest.

#21 dwh OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:46 PM

$100 sounds fair.
My only problem will be if you only accept pay-pal, then I won't be paying a dime.

#22 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:54 PM

I'm actually not 'unhappy' about 'getting short changed' by Cubicolor at all.

I brought it up to make the point that nobody knows what these things are worth.

Thus, the only way to figure out what they should sell for is by looking at how much it costs to make them available.

Personally, five months of my time is worth quite a bit more than $50K ... but I know that such is way out of the park here.

But I should earn SOMETHING for those five months, right? I mean, I have no income from 'another job' here .. unlike a lot of homebrew authors .. making games is what I do .. and what I've done for over 25 years.

To be told by people in this community that the think my time is worth $2k per month .. is sort of weird, actually.

I mean, in the same breath, the person who says this can't seriously tell me how much of a "fan" they are of my work, right?

Anyway, I'm very curious as to the results of the survey. I'm actually coming to realize already that the $2k crowd, is looking at this purely from their own somewhat selfish worldview .. they would have picked $1k if it were an available choice, and they don't wish to pick $0, since it's sort of absurd.

thanks for your thoughts. RF

#23 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:54 PM

$100 sounds fair.
My only problem will be if you only accept pay-pal, then I won't be paying a dime.

Is paypal broken? what?

#24 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:57 PM

well $50 is about my limit, certainly not $100. I am a game player not a collector, I guess there are 2 different markets.
If you are in it solely for the money then maybe this is the wrong market.

Well, does wishing to earn $4K/month occur to you as doing something solely for the money? Anyway, I probably can't charge $50 and look myself in the mirror afterwards, I'm sorry. The last game I sold for $50 currently sells for over $1000. It's just so.

#25 rob fulop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:59 PM

Besides, even though Actionauts wasn't released, weren't you still employed by Imagic at that time (and thus paid and compensated for the time spent on it)?

Just my thoughts on the matter...

I did Actionauts after leaving Imagic, as an independent author.




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