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Asset vendor propose paid service for solving issue, should I be pissed ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OthmanT, Mar 23, 2018.

  1. OthmanT

    OthmanT

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    Hello everyone,

    I bought some days ago a useful asset for my project, at a certain cost : 85$. Which is fine considering the time this asset should have saved me.

    That being said, I encountered several blocking issues, which is not so fine considering the price, but as a developer I can understand that not everything is tested on every platform sometimes.

    The main issue is a memory free() function written in C, something I didn't do since my ing study, so I'm kinda rusty about it. Commenting this part of his code completely removed a recurring crash.

    So I contacted the developer regarding this issue ( and some other). At first he said it was probably a problem from my end. So I kindly demontred to him that his code was in fault. What he sent to me as a solution ? a link to a stackoverflow thread to help me debug his code. I again kindly answered that I had no time to debug his work.
    He answered with a proposition : "(...)If you have a lack of time we can kindly offer you development services (paid support) from our side. Let me know if you are interested about this. From our point of view the link contains valuable information for your case(...)"

    I'm kinda surprised, is this normal ? Or am I wrong for being upset being offered paid support ?

    Thanks
     
  2. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Your payment to the asset store probably covered his time to respond to your email and not much else. $85 is pocket change.
     
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  3. zoran404

    zoran404

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    The alternative would be to make the asset really expensive, which would probably turn away most of the users.
    The only reason why they would agree to do it for free would be if they do it as a hobby.

    Your choice is either to pay for support or get a refund for the asset and get another asset (or a custom made asset).
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  4. Jesper-Nielsen

    Jesper-Nielsen

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    I would think it would be in the best interest of the asset vendor to fix bugs in their products if they potentially affect all users. It's not $85 - it's $85 times the amount of users who will be turned away by a possible bad review.
     
  5. Dustin-Horne

    Dustin-Horne

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    In my opinion.. if it was a problem with the asset, the vendor should fix it... $85 or not. Publishers get to set the price, and by selling on the asset store we commit to providing support to our users.
     
  6. OthmanT

    OthmanT

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    Hi ! thanks for the replies.
    He did provide support on other issues, but it's the fact that he expect me to go further on debugging the code by providing some stackoverflow link that I found wierd. He also encouraged me to send some of my code to try and fix the problem. I think its more a question of tact if anything.
    So I'm not trying to bitch or say he did not help, it's the mix of providing a link to make me find a solution and the proposition of a paid solution that bafled me
     
  7. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    It’s sounds like he just asking you narrow down the problem. If he can’t reproduce the problem it is likely related to something else specific to your project. It is understandable that he would ask that.
     
  8. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Technically all products on the asset store are sold as is. I agree with @zombiegorilla though. If he is requesting your code it means he's never seen the issue you're reporting and needs your help to repro it before he can attempt a fix. For him to fix it, he either needs everything to reproduce it or he could have you do the debugging. Can't fix a problem he's never seen without at least one of those two.

    Without that he has no reason to believe the issue is with his code other than your claim.
     
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  9. Honorsoft

    Honorsoft

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    '$85 dollars is pocket change?' So says the rich guy... That is a lot of money for a software product that has issues. Any users that have issues and report them to the Asset vendor are helping the vendor improve their product (free of charge to the vendor) by giving them feedback and letting them know of issues in the software, so the least the vendor could do is help you out without 'extorting' more money from you. The days of overly-high software prices are long over. Nowadays, with the global market saturation, availability of online sales and massive decrease of overhead (companies no longer need to rent store-space or pay shipping and storage for software distribution), it is just greed to ask so much from a single user. When you sell software for 1 dollar, you can make billions from it because the global online market is now well-established. Has anyone ever tried to debug someone else's code? It's way harder than debugging your own code, because you don't know how it was built. The vendor knows, and is the best one to help. It should be "Another happy customer" not "Buyer beware".
     
  10. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Yet it's nowhere near the cost of developing it let alone continuing to provide support for it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
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  11. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Let's put it in context. It's 2-4 hours work for a professional. It's the cost of taking a girl out to a fancy restaurant. It's a release day AAA game with all the extras.

    In context, it's not a lot of money.
     
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  12. Honorsoft

    Honorsoft

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    But 'cost of developing it' depends on the vendor type. If it's a big software company with a large staff, yes, $85 means nothing to them. But a free-lance solo developer (for example) doesn't have so much overhead. They rent no offices, pay no salaries, hire no artists, etc. My point is, if the cost of development was so high, then wouldn't that mean that the software produced by that effort and expense should be without unresolved-issues, have proper testing, some sort of guarantee, or at least be able to tell the customer exactly what the issue is? That is the quality expected by a large professional software company.
     
  13. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    On the other hand they have to cover their own retirement, they have to cover their own insurances, cover business costs like licensing and taxes, and so on. Additionally for some parts of the world running a business out of your own home is in fact not legal and you may need to rent those offices even if it's just you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2018
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  14. Honorsoft

    Honorsoft

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    Not if you get a business licence (laws vary according to area), but yes, you are right, a lot of people want to get rich as quickly as possible while doing the least amount of work possible, thinking of the customer as just a talking wallet.
     
  15. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    If that's how you wish to view it that's your choice. Having researched different parts of my own country I know for a fact that the costs of living can vary significantly with some parts having it be high enough that $85 can be insignificant.

    For people living in areas like those you simply can't charge prices that would be in line with a part of the world where that amount is significant. If they did they'd basically be unable to eat or have a roof over their head.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  16. AntoineDesbiens

    AntoineDesbiens

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    Write a truthful review about you feel. It's amazing how people change when they think you can have an impact on their branding.
     
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  17. ChazBass

    ChazBass

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    I agree he should fix it for free since it sounds like it would generally affect all buyers of the asset. The argument that he is just to busy and needs to be paid to fix it is nonsensical. Just request a refund and find another solution. If enough of his customers do likewise, he will either get with the program or be out of business. Either way the marketplace wins.
     
  18. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    An asset store developer has an obligation to fix bugs in their stuff if it's a paid product. That's just basic common sense.

    If the dev believes it's not a problem with his product, he should say as much, make it clear he could not reproduce the problem, and ask for a stripped-down project that demonstrates the issue.

    If the problem is on the customer's end, then support is not an obligation and a paid support option is not a bad way to make everyone happy.
     
  19. Honorsoft

    Honorsoft

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    Yeah, I know. You are right about the corporate side of software development, I was just enjoying the discussion/debate. It is profit driven and views time as money. I am arguing from the point of view of a programmer who is not doing it for the money, and I have bankrupted myself a couple of times, and spent countless hours (in total) giving support and free work, just for fun (and a small profit sometimes). I am not financially successful, but if you measure success in enjoyment, and a good conscience towards my customers (paid or free), I am rich.
     
  20. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    You don't have to be rich, but you should at least be smart. You see bankrupting yourself to help your customers as a good thing but that's not necessarily what your customers may see. Your customers may see you as someone they can't trust to stay in business for any length of time and thus nothing more than a risk.

    Would you want to buy a service or product from someone who may not be there tomorrow to continue development?
     
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  21. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Not to mention that the day you decide you'd rather not be doing favors for people, they will not be happy.
     
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  22. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    At least favors on the level of "I went bankrupt to ensure your success".
     
  23. JohnnyA

    JohnnyA

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    It doesn't make sense to compare asset store products to games or other consumer software. Its much closer in nature to middleware or enterprise software for which you generally pay for support and customisation. How quickly does Unity fix your bugs? As a pro user I've reported bugs that weren't resolved for months or even years.

    As an asset store developer I try to fix all bugs in a timely manner (assuming the reporter puts in the effort of supplying a test case), but esoteric bugs affecting a very small number of users are not going to be a high priority. I do allow users to pay for feature development, and I don't think its unreasonable to provide an option to pay for accelerated bug fixes.

    I don't like the idea that an acknowledged bug is never going to be fixed, but without knowing all of the details its hard to say anything meaningful about the specific case. Does the bug completely prevent your game from utilising the solution or does it ocassionally cause a hiccup in your editor workflow? Does it mean them writing a few lines of code or rebuilding an entire module of their asset? Is their asset popular and growing or is it at the end of its life?
     
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  24. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    For me, what values the asset is not about it’s cost, is the following.
    1. Optimisation, the asset should has minimal overhead in terms of hardware resource. Bad algorithm and poor GC should be blamed.
    2. Design (Use case), developer should always has a clear use case and user experience in mind. Complexing the workflow and too much dependence are evil.
    3. Design (Collaborative), the asset should play nice not only with user’s project, but also with well known assets. Its a pain in the butt for a useful asset lack of such manner. Codes without namespace is one of the sin.
    4. Design(TargetCustomer), a greedy over-doing asset could be dangerous if not skilled, usually creating more bugs. Less is more.
    5. Well document, comprehensive but easy to read manual and demos are indeed important, otherwise the asset is just a puzzle.
    6. Bug-free, developer should run the test case before publish. Its unforgivable for untested assets.
    7. Elegant, a very well design is not only a time saver, it is an art. Its very joyful to see clever design. It usually worth more than you paid, even the asset is not suitable to my project.
    8. Feedback, a good way to let developer improve their asset.
    9. Support, actually this one can be omitted if the asset already fulfiling the above.
    $85 may not be expensive in life, but it's above average in store.
    Do an isolation test, if it's their fault, tell them to fix.
    If you don't have time, you can't blame anyone.

    Somehow, Unity itself should work hard on 1 4 6 in order to reduce 9.
    https://unity3d.com/unity/qa/lts-releases should be a good start.
     
  25. Assembler-Maze

    Assembler-Maze

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    As an Store dev myself, I sometimes see that it is very difficult to pin down the problem with an asset. I sometimes can't tell if the problem is with an asset or with an combination of assets or a specific use-case that the asset user might have on his end-point configuration.

    Such is the case with AAA software out there. Check out Substance Painter/Designer for example. I pay a lot of cash for it, and I really don't expect that for my certain complex workflow that it should work 100% of the time bug-free. Some bugs are determined by weird workflow combinations or the interaction between different components.

    Anyway, what I would request then as a developer, and the AAA software companies out there do too, is to create a sandboxed minimal environment where you reproduce the issue. That is the case with Allegorithmic, Autodesk and others. And one month of Maya is 200$ or something like that and they expect that from your side, if you don't pay for their premium support.

    Of course, I would see the request of a sand-boxed environment where the crash is easy to reproduce (that I can reproduce it in a few minutes not hours), from your side as mandatory in order to be able to look into it. In that case, where you took the time to look into the issue, you should expect them too, to find the time to look into the issue.
     
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  26. LaneFox

    LaneFox

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    Not pointing at the OP or issue here but here's some thoughts to consider.

    At the bottom line Assets are bought as-is and are not required to work on any version other than the one they're approved/published for, the publisher is not required to publish updates, fix bugs, add features or even support the customers. That being said, it's incredibly stupid for a publisher to not provide support, refuse to fix glaring bugs or fail to consider the possibility of updates and new features since this is going to reflect very, very poorly on his brand and products.

    Frequently a pub gets support requests that are outside the scope of the tool, or requests for modification/feature addition to the product that is specific to the user and not the tool. These kinds of requests are really common, customers mail in and say "hey I want to do xyz" and the first thing that comes to mind is "well uh... then do it? aren't you a developer?". Often, trying to use the tool for something uncommon can produce bugs or unexpected results too, and that may not be viewed as a bug by the publisher since it's a niche issue.

    If someone mails in for support or reports a bug that the publisher can't reproduce on their end then there's not a lot of recourse available. They can probe for more information, suggest some general stuff but if that doesn't work then they have to get the project and dig deeper which translates to "i don't see anything wrong so apparently it's specific to you and your project, so pay me to look into it".

    Writing a poor review on the product because you have a niche issue is bad form unless there is obviously a bug, is reproducible and the author denied a request to fix it. This is pretty unusual since most publishers that bother to respond to support requests are usually in pretty good standing and interested in their products. It's completely unacceptable to write a bad review on the basis that they aren't going to add some special feature you want or it's not supported on the version you want. I don't think thats happening here, though. Most of the time if you're straight with the author and say "look this is clearly a bug, here's whats wrong, I can't use the product because of it so either fix it or I have to leave a bad review" then they're going to have sense enough to fix it or explain why it isn't a bug. If not, then by all means a bad review is then entitled.

    In terms of price, I'll just say that the content on the store is generally severely underpriced. Most good products could cost significantly more and still be good value. Just because you might be an "indie" or "solo-dev" doesn't mean you're special and entitled to cheap labor.
     
  27. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Scenario 1:

    Customer : "I've done a tiny amount of inconvenient troubleshooting for your extremely cheap product. I've hit the wall on my patience and now I demand that you solve my problems for me otherwise I'm going to cry loudly."

    Developer : ".....yeah, I'm going to have dinner and then take a nap."


    Scenario 2 :

    Customer : "I've done a tiny amount of inconvenient troubleshooting for your extremely cheap product, but it seems a solution is beyond me. When convenient, could you aid me in troubleshooting? I'll happily leave a positive review of your product if you can find the time."

    Developer : "Of course. Supporting my product is very important to me and I'd love to get this resolved.
     
  28. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    Impact on their branding is not helping. A poor rating product will soon be abandoned rather than getting any improvement.

    Think about it, you have already invested to their product, what you want is a satisfied product. For vendors, they are more encouraged if they receive good rating, and more willing to improve their product.

    Thats why I always giving 5 stars to assets I purchased, even they are not yet meet my requirements. If you want the world become better, you should cheer them up.
     
    WillNode likes this.
  29. WillNode

    WillNode

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    Sorry if this is quite subjective but 85$ is a lot of money for me. In my country this the price where you can rent a decent (large) room in a crowded city for a month.

    To put this in my context: I made this 40$ asset, and update it regularly for once a month. Every month I've spent a week in average to fix bugs, get new feature added as customer requested. In each week, atleast I got an email from one person, and in some cases it can gets over 30 email replies for a person, if they request a new features, and yet I'd never change anything to them. In fact, I keep doing this since this asset first released, two years ago.

    I think I'm doing it right, because now I got happy costumers, all 5-stars review, and zero refund to date. However after seeing this thread, it raises this question:

    Did I underprice myself? I don't know. As LaneFox says, I agree that many assets are underpriced, because (maybe) many devs in developing countries didn't know the real value of US dollar. I was a rookie when that asset released, starting at 15$. I do want to fix my mistake, but the fear "ohh look what u just did. it's too expensive nobody bought it" would stay haunting me for rest of the night.

    Before you reply. Don't get me wrong, I've been quite happy with just a few hundred salary a month from asset store, because FWIW, it already surpasses my parents salary. But in terms of standard developer salary, I don't know at all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  30. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    It depends totally on your conversion rate(buy/view), I think you have already got enough data on statistics.

    If your conversion is almost approaching 1, that is a signal of underprice. If you increase the price, you could cover what you were potential lost, and existing shareholders(customer) would be more happy, since their did right on their "investment".

    However, if you have poor conversion, sale it down could improve the overall sales. But do it carefully and steady, customer are not happy on buying "high".

    If you have poor views, consider to advertise it and Unity affiliate.
     
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  31. WillNode

    WillNode

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    Nailed it. Thanks for the tip.

    Using the formula I got ~1%. Not good.

    But the consideration is not there, it's about the time that I should sink into support. There will be a time that I no longer can provide free support. It is either that price should be go up or risk the rating because I couldn't help them a lot. Pulling price down is really not a good idea.
     
  32. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    If it works for you, then fair enough. That's one of the features of a global market place, is that cheap locations can undercut the prices of more expensive ones. But not every asset store developer is in the same situation. $85 only covers a couple of days rent in an outer suburb in my location.

    Which may be where the confusion comes in for the OP. I can imagine a purchaser from a low income country thinking that $85 entitles them to a fair few hours of the devs personal time. Whereas to someone living in a high income country, $85 is 'as is/where is, with no warranties or support'.
     
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  33. WillNode

    WillNode

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    And also a reason why many people don't really good at selecting the right price. The asset store simply ignores GDP value for each countries.

    At the end of this thread, I would really like to see how much asset vendors is providing paid services, and how well they are doing it.
     
  34. theANMATOR2b

    theANMATOR2b

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    Holy! Sounds like an awesome place to retire!
    This covers one night at an average motel in pretty much most of the US.

    Consider reaching out to other asset providers, via PM or other avenue. I'm in the process of preparing a release of a character pack and plan to compare pricing to comparable products and reach out to other alt-genre character asset providers who have released similar packs.
    There are also guidelines directly in the Submission Guidelines 2.7 Pricing - which all should be familiar with.
     
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  35. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Does anyone scale prices for GDP?
     
  36. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    As an asset developer, I absolutely agree (except maybe for the last sentence!). When you make a product you understand that there are a lot of risks involved with ratings (as it is with freelancing) and that you're in a sort of weak position in that a few bad ratings can cause a lot of irrepairable damage. So it's much better to quarantine yourself from a poorly-faring product (preferably by setting up alternative income etc) and move on if things go pear-shaped, than it is to try to go down the route of doing exactly what everybody wants at the same time, all the time.

    That said I think that by far the best way to relieve problems is to communicate consistently and well with customers. From my understanding, it seems that poor ratings are a sort of attempt to restore a power balance in the customer's favor when they feel like the dev couldn't care less - it's not always the case of course, and everyone's definition of 'couldn't care less' can be different, but generally I think it's the best possible way to nip bad ratings in the bud and make your product better.

    If I had a problem with an asset I bought and I got a message back saying "I spent 20 minutes, did this this and this like you described and couldn't reproduce, if you want more help it's going to be paid" I would at least feel as if the terms were clear and that some amount of effort had been made to determine if this was not my problem. And not just that, but it communicates to a customer that you're someone with valuable time who has done something to fix the problem but has to think about their own compensation.

    Only in the same sense that a marriage works that way. Functionally this approach does not work at all I don't think. Certainly adding features is not something anyone can demand, but not fixing bugs is a sure way to doom and for good reason.
     
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  37. WillNode

    WillNode

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    Real world: KFC, Starbucks, etc.
    Digital world: Google Play Store.

    Didn't put links sorry. But I saw it myself.

    When you convert US$ for my country, you're literally tripling its value, like, you can eat three times a day here with just 3$. Not even exaggerating.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  38. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    You have all the satisfied customers, so what kind of support does annoying you?
    Are those feature requests instead of support?
     
  39. Assembler-Maze

    Assembler-Maze

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    For the GDP price scaling, well... Some scale the price, when it's about food/rent/services, because in some country the prices to produce those goods can be lower. However I'm sure the quality of living scales with the price too. And if in one country with a lower GDP, I'm sure that if you want to live at an European level the costs are about the same as Europe :)

    And since game dev is a global business with centers in USA/Europe/Japan it is 'normal' for the price to be scaled based on those countries. Nobody will ask what your monthly income is if you need Maya/Substance Painter or any other software like that.

    There is a downside, of course, but the upside is that if you manage to make a game at the USA/Europe/Japan quality level, well, you will make the same income as those countries even if you live in a little village at the world's end :)
     
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  40. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    Conversion rate (simple view/buy) for something like the asset store is a very nearly useless metric. The views aren't quality / qualified, people browse and look at a variety of things. I looked at that product, and I wouldn't buy it at any price. It's simply not something I need. If you had deeper analytics that reflect more accurate data, like people who searched for "visual display of mathematical formulas" (or something like that) AND viewed your project, then the data would be qualified.

    FWIW, I would say the product could be priced higher. It's something that is pretty specific, and if it is something that is needed, I would wager folks would happily pay at least double that price.
     
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  41. WillNode

    WillNode

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    I wasn't knew this kind of formula. But I agree with this too. I'm not economist :)

    In global market, price didn't matter, but quality wins. If we're not winning then we losing small indies too because we're ignoring them to have a chance (AKA. too expensive).
    Kind of nice gamble, isn't? :)
     
  42. WillNode

    WillNode

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    Ups...

    It's not annoying. Most of the time they're nice too. Well, they're nice because I always reply within couple hours. But that takes full commitment. I already enjoying to overcommit with those guys because school are boring and I have plenty of free time. But then we know that students graduate and things don't last forever.
     
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  43. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    Truly agree with you, when asset name, keywords are too general(ref to my humble 4th on #24 floor). Since they are drawing unnecessary attentions to their product, the measure indeed has outliers.
     
  44. Lu4e

    Lu4e

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    This is love.:p
     
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  45. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    With these ones, the main cost scales as well. If you are only paying $5 a day for a labour, you can afford to charge low prices for your product.

    This one I will have to look into.
     
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  46. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    > Asset vendor propose paid service for solving issue, should I be pissed ?

    No, unless it is a few hundred bucks product.

    > Or am I wrong for being upset being offered paid support ?

    The market for asset store is tiny. There aren't THAT many game developers. It will be quite problematic for the developer to make a living off it, so the best idea is to treat assets as "without warranthy of any kind" products. Keep in mind that it is not uncommon to encounter software that costs a lot of money and comes under such license as well.

    -------

    This is an opinion.

    It goes like this - if you intend to make a living off the asset store you should be making decent salary (for your region) off it, every month. Ideally you should be making regional average.

    If your region is, ahem, poor, you have advantage, because achieving this bar will be easier. However, if you haven't reached this bar, I'd say there is a problem.

    So, the good idea would be (IMO), to get the total numebr of sales you got, and divide by number of hours you spent. Then see how it compares to office cubicle job in your region. Then see if you're happy with such arrangement.
     
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  47. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Usually it is the companies where their service is provided locally, with costs such as local labor and store front rent also scaled down accordingly. So the price of the product or service ends up scaling down with the costs to deliver it.
     
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  48. neginfinity

    neginfinity

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    Both steam and gog price games differently based on target region. The pricing probably isn't based on GDP.

    This creates issue when gifting games, however - because people will be tempted to utilize VPN and buy the game in cheaper region.

    The services approach gifting differently.

    Gog only allows you to utilize "adjusted" price if you're buying for yourself. If you're gifting, you pay usd or euro based price. I forgot which.

    Steam, in comparison, forbids cross-region gifting in many cases.

    example of price difference:

    Companies like autodesk also, I believe, price their producs differently based on region.
    Example:
    upload_2018-3-28_5-17-6.png

    upload_2018-3-28_5-18-20.png
     
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  49. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    Do you know what the problem is with valuing assets based on GDP? It completely neglects to take into consideration the costs of developing new functionality, fixing known problems, and providing support to the customer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  50. Assembler-Maze

    Assembler-Maze

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    I don't think that Autodesk greatly varies the price based on region. The price difference somewhat comes from the requirement of companies outside europe that sell in europe to collect the VAT tax + the transfer payments from europe to USA that are expensive I guess. Buying from a USA company is always more expensive for an european than an american due to the VAT/transfer tax.

    And anyway, should Lamborghini sell cheaper in countries with a lower GDP? Hehe :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018