We’re already on the last month of the year, and I’ve started thinking about the progress made on Pay-to-Play and outlining a few plans for the future.
My Pay-to-Play offerings originally began as an experiment to offer an opportunity for people who wanted to try alternative games without having to tackle the significant hurdles of sourcing, buying, learning and running them just to see if they’ll like it.
While this is still pretty far from becoming a full source of income, the year has been pretty profitable and has had a host of benefits.
Offering alternative games has been surprisingly good at creating pickup groups with shared interests in a given genre or play style. This was something I learned when I ran Conan where the players were not really familiar with each other at all but shared a common set of expectations from the game thanks to the source material.
The result was a fun session with a lot of acknowledgement and acceptance of the common tropes of a Sword and Sorcery game. The players did as much heavy lifting to stick to the mood of genuine Conan lore as I did, which made the game work out great.
Learning by doing
The other benefit I’ve seen is that players are willing to pay a fee to learn a game. Many of those who have opted to join or requested for a paid game are those who are looking to run it themselves. The benefit for them is being able to play it from the point of view of a player so they can understand how the game rules work.
It’s a neat insight and one that I had not thought about when I started this gig. This is an angle that I’m seeing a lot of opportunity in and will be zeroing in on next year.
Another interesting bit is that a big audience I’m reaching are barkadas or groups of friends who are eager to play a game but don’t really have anyone interested in running it for them. GMing can be lonely work, after all, and it’s better for some groups if they’re oriented against someone who they know will give them a fair shake at a game without the biases inherent to being part of a closely-knit group of people.
Much like the current trend of board game nights and mystery / puzzle rooms, it’s an opportunity to engage in a fun group activity with someone else worrying about logistics and doing the heavy lifting
I think that there’s room to grow paid gaming. I’m still working it out, but I’m willing to explore other options and venues to bring this gaming-as-a-service forward in a way that is more profitable to me, and more compelling to others. But more on that when I’ve got my ideas squared away.