Subscription Based Content
UPDATE: We have a YouTube Premium channel now :-)
What about a Subscription Based Content based on gamedev.tv suggestions.
Benefits of subscription could be...
+ Advanced content that's uneconomical to create for Udemy alone*
+ New modes of learning like in-engine tutorials, Hangouts and more.
+ Automatic access to all new content at your level (e.g. beginner)
+ Group tutoring, get help with your project while others watch.
An affordable GameDev.TV membership could be a very positive move for all of us. Our content is constantly updated and supported, and this fits our style better.
What do you guys think?
* We love creating advanced content, the challenge is that 10x less people want it and it takes 10x the time to create. A thriving subscription community would give us the confidence to produce more advanced material.
We’re delighted to announce the launch of our YouTube premium channel…
With the premium youtube channel coming, I think we can mark this one as "complete".
Any further ideas on this, Sam/Ben?
Alex Cracknell commented
Personally I'm all for the ps+ model. My other half is an illustrator and I'm running out of organs for when the Adobe creative cloud subscription comes round so I can understand the pain felt by anyone who relies on Maya/Photoshop etc for work. I also believe 'subscriptions' of that magnitude are prohibitive as I will probably never get to use maya or 3DS max for my games because I can't even begin to pay that sort of money for something which amounts at the moment to a very passionate hobby (maybe one day I'll be able to quit the day job!), but then that's why I have the blender course ;)!
More on topic, I would be very happy to subscribe for smaller videos on more advanced topics. However being the obsessive compulsive type, if I can't complete something I usually don't bother. So I would add/request that past content be offered in a shop of some description, maybe like back orders for magazines - you could even offer it as an alternative to the subscription and then maybe discount it for subscribers so they can fill the gaps for a little less as an incentive to sub. That way if I'm broke this month (damn you Adobe/food/diesel...) and I need to choose between my adult responsibilities and subscribing, I can cancel my sub until my bank is less raw and purchase the content I missed later when I can afford to so that I'm up to date!
All that said, my decision to subscribe or not would inevitably come down to whether I can afford it and if I think the cost to value is right. I'm confident that the videos you produce are worth paying for, so really what it probably boils down to for me is can I afford it?
Sam I like those suggestions and it should be said that whilst I'm not generally a fan of subscription-based services it's hard to say a hard "yay" or "nay" until we have an idea of the breadth and schedule of content, and a price point. I'm sure there's going to be times where there's nothing in the pipeline for many users because the courses use an engine they're not interested in, or a topic doesn't interest them.
I mean, if the price was right, I'd be all over it, but I'm skeptical because I haven't yet seen a subscription model that I've found reasonable.
An idea I just had, was that as your Gamedev.tv profile "levels up" you gain a small discount as a loyalty bonus. This could stack up over time, so perhaps 1-2% per "achievement". It could be rewarded for community involvement, such as upvotes on answers to questions, completing courses, etc.
It would work well in fostering a long term community and give users a reason (albeit a selfish one) to help others out and stick around when they're not actually watching videos.
AdminSam Pattuzzi (Admin, GameDev.TV) commented
Thanks for your feedback. Perhaps a couple of features that could make a subscription better:
1. Getting to keep all the content you have consumed and only subscribing for updates and new content similar to Audible or PlayStation Plus.
2. Having a free and premium level to the forums to allow non subscribers to see how much values there is.
3. Being able to pause a subscription easily for holidays and times when you will be unable to take content.
4. More weight when voting on UserVoice.
What do you think?
Another side thought (besides wishing you could edit comments here) is that hiding forum access behind a paywall doesn't allow a potential customer to see how awesome your community is. Not that that's any different to Udemy but perhaps the forums are read-only for non subscribers. Such an arbitrary rule though. Trying to play devil's advocate...
Also, it will likely discourage awesome, smart people who like to help out by answering threads after they finish the courses they're interested in.
Ben, I had an idea similar to yours, where you keep the content and the subscription gets you deeper community integration. I had it typed it up and ready to submit but the fact that the idea fragmented the community didn't sit right with me.
A healthy community is paramount for these types of ventures. A big part of the reason I enjoy your courses is the helpful and buzzing community. Whilst solving the issue of losing your course content should you wish to revisit it, it also lessens the experience for non subscribers and complicates the service by allowing two separate experiences. I'm convinced a community is not the right thing to monetise.
I don't have the answer but I think there's probably some exploring to do with the idea of unlocking extra goodies for a nominal subscription and retaining lifetime access should you need to drop out. Perhaps a small annual subscription fee or a Patreon type affair could allow you to get content early, get exclusive discounts on any software used in the course etc. **** if the reward was only small I'd pay a small subscription fee to support you guys in making content quicker.
Another thing that can make people resent a subscription is that they then feel entitled to satisfaction because they've paid for it upfront. If no courses come out that they're interested in for a while they then feel let down by the service and get a salty taste in their mouth. If you have a pay-per-course model, the student has paid for only what they want and won't feel ripped off.
Sorry, it's so long but they're just some of my thoughts coming from a couple of years of trying to figure out different ways to further monetise an app on the App Store.
I'm against subscription models as they currently stand.
My lifestyle doesn't lend itself to routine, so a pay-per-course system suits me as I'm not paying for time I'm not using it (which can sometimes be weeks at a time).
The biggest reason—that has nothing to do with my lifestyle—is that I see each course as a resource, like an encyclopaedia. I can call upon it at any time, repeat it as many times as I like whether totally independent of my cash flow.
Richard Kim commented
I think this Game Dev TV is a great idea, but the problem is also on your side Ben. What if someone just subscribes for a month per se? and they can download all your course content (except for the ones released later). Furthermore they'll just re-sub after a year and download all of the new materials at the cost of a month. I guess that having an instant reply system
What I suggest is that you take a hybrid approach. A lot of the basics in Unity/Unreal can be done in 10 Hour course videos. So let those be on Udemy etc. But for the more advanced topics such as one I've suggested:
Make them exclusively available to the subscription based learning platform. The only issue now is defining the more "advanced" topics.
AdminBen Tristem (Tutor, GameDev.TV) commented
Wow, thanks for your clear comments Zahari.
So how about a PlayStation Plus model BUT where you get to keep the courses forever even if you unsubscribe?
So, while you're a member you get LIFETIME access to every new course that comes while you are subscribed, and you keep them if you unsubscribe.
You can unsubscribe at any time automatically, and only lose members only forum access but keep all courses... Or something like that?
I'm really interested in your opinions, as I feel similar about some software - although I do accept its an ongoing service so paying for it that way make make sense.
Zahari Schtonov commented
The whole idea of a "subscription" to a software or a service delivered digitally is a total fraud in my opinion. Many larger companies began to exploit on their customers for the last couple of years or so. Examples are Autodesk ( with $123/month to use their Maya 3D package ), or AVID ( $75/month ). I mean add that to your regular bills that a normal person has and you do the math...
The original meaning of subscription was commonly used in the past, when we wanted to receive a magazine or a newspaper. Now there is a difference between subscribing for a magazine and subscribing for use of software or a service. In the first case, you get to keep what you are paying for - forever. "Subscribing" for a service is merely just leasing or licensing an intellectual property (IP) for a very limited amount of time where the privilege to actually own the product you are paying for is removed! Any further use or reference to the material or service is impossible. That's what companies are imposing on us today. Because they know that IP is not suppose to be own by anyone else, but themselves. If we cannot own the things we are paying for, why pay in the first place? Not to mention we are talking about education here! Many efforts have been done for the last 100 years around the world education to be accessible, and this new method works against those efforts. I strongly disagree with it and oppose to the whole idea, because it is unethical.
AdminBen Tristem (Tutor, GameDev.TV) commented
Thanks for this idea Nick, I'll flesh it out with some of our ideas and share it with the community.