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Choose Your Fate: Cart Production


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#1 theloon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2012 1:42 PM

Outside of Albert and AtariAge homebrew cart production gets complicated. If you had to choose, which option is better? Sega Genesis is the platform.

A. $35 Flash Cart with Large 32M ROM and 4 banks of 32k save game RAM.
No restriction on minimum order but only 8 in stock.
Cons: Worst up-front cost per cart. Save game battery runs out faster than normal cart. Manufacturer may stop selling these.
Pros: Can order 1-8 with no price change. If no one likes my game (or I find a last minute bug) I can re-flash. 32M ROM and 32k+ SRAM is huge. Can customize each cartridge per customer - unique names, items, levels, etc..

B. $20 "Ask a Friend to Build It" 2M with 8k save game RAM.
Minimum 25 pieces.
Cons: Asking a buddy for a favor requires different expectations then a business. $500 dollars up front is alot to an individual hobbyist. Once I send the final game binary there's no further updates - it is what it is.
Pros: Best price.

C. $25 "Proven Reproduction Maker" 2M with 8k save game RAM.
Minimum 50 pieces.
Cons: $1250 makes it the worst up-front cost total. I might end up with 50 unsold carts and a smaller bank account. I may have 50 carts with unexpected bugs that cannot be corrected.
Pros: Proven track record means better expected output.

D. Get a homebrew publisher.
No minimum since customers buy through them.
Cons: You give up full control of your work. Now I've got to "prove" my game is worthy to a business instead of the individual gamer.
Pros: Boards are now more like AtariAge. New parts all around. The only cart to purchase is my own copy.

Edited by theloon, Fri May 11, 2012 2:01 PM.


#2 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2012 2:08 PM

The only cart to purchase is my own copy.


:( A decent homebrew publisher will give you a cart for nothing.

In my opinion your best bet is to go down the pre-order route. Open a pre-order list for a few weeks, then ask for payment, wait for payment to come in (some people won't pay or mysteriously stop responding - but that is the nature of a pre-order). Then have the number of carts made that have been paid for upfront plus a few spares. Package them up and ship them out. If its popular open a second pre-order list, rinse and repeat ;).

#3 theloon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2012 2:22 PM

The only cart to purchase is my own copy.


:( A decent homebrew publisher will give you a cart for nothing.

In my opinion your best bet is to go down the pre-order route. Open a pre-order list for a few weeks, then ask for payment, wait for payment to come in (some people won't pay or mysteriously stop responding - but that is the nature of a pre-order). Then have the number of carts made that have been paid for upfront plus a few spares. Package them up and ship them out. If its popular open a second pre-order list, rinse and repeat ;).


Pre-orders give me a weird feeling. I just remember what happened to Yuppicide. I have no proven track record for people to rely on. Plus, returning money to disappointed customers if I hit an unexpected hurdle would be double depressing.

Edited by theloon, Fri May 11, 2012 2:24 PM.


#4 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 11, 2012 2:40 PM

Pre-orders give me a weird feeling. I just remember what happened to Yuppicide. I have no proven track record for people to rely on. Plus, returning money to disappointed customers if I hit an unexpected hurdle would be double depressing.


Not all pre-orders are doomed to fail. Plus your track record has to start somewhere. The key is not to spend the pre-order money on anything but the carts (I'm not saying that's what Yuppicide did because I have no dealings with him) and then spend any profits after you've shipped them all out. Unexpected hurdles are part of life. Providing the carts are being made by somebody with a good reputation in your console scene of choice then you shouldn't encounter any insurmountable hurdles in that part of the process. Your own life however may throw any old crap at you but providing its not insurmountable just offer people a refund or the option to wait a bit longer if it looks like its going to stall the project.




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