Re: [stella] Money matters...

Subject: Re: [stella] Money matters...
From: "Andrew Davie" <adavie@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001 14:27:04 +1000
> This is an open call to anyone listening.  If you have an opinion, voice

As a recent developer of a completed/released, and dare I say fun, 2600
game, I thought I'd throw my experience into the ring.  I expect I spent
about two months on my game, all-up, on a part-time basis.  Probably total
hours were in the order of 300 or so - certainly nothing like full-time.
Obviously my experience helped me out considerably - I knew what I wanted,
and how to do it.  I expect most would take significantly more time to do
similar work.

Now, from my 300 hours of work, I have so far released 50 cartridges (the
PhillyClassic version).   My production costs per cartridge were $10 to
Hozer Video, $1 for labels, and another $2 or so for sundries (manual,
postage, organisation).  I was left with an in-pocket profit of US$850.
That's for just 50 cartridges.   The coming special-edition is essentially
sold out (just a few places left), and the anticipated buy-price of that
will be US$35/unit.  The extra cost is justified by the colour box,
CD/floppy with in-production versions, hardcopy listing, numbered/signed
specially printed glossy label, and anything else I can think of to throw
in.   My production costs on these will probably be closer to US$20/unit,
but that will still leave me with a paper profit of something like US$1500.
I don't think I can expect many incoming $ after that.  So my total for the
production of one game is in the order of US$2300.   For two months' hobby
work, this is reasonable - but not enough to live on.

I have outsorced the production of the cartridges, and the box, and will
make the manual and label myself (but printed externally).  I pay for all of
these extras, commercial rates.  But still, I can make a tidy profit on the

So, for me, a proposed figure like US$200/game is simply not even in the
ballpark.  I can't see ANY attraction of developing this way.  Any future
2600 game I might write would probably be done exactly the way I've done it
now.  Sure, it's a bit more work - but also, it's a bit more fun.  And, at
10x the profit... it pays a lot more!

Having said that, I don't mind the idea of publishing under a common banner.
I do see some advantages to brand-recognition by a single entity being
responsible for the release of several '2600 games.  But although this is
attractive to me, I couldn't see myself doing it when I can achieve the
rewards as outlined above, by doing it myself.


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