I’m oblivious to (and admittedly not particularly interested in) the legality of it but I’d be interested to hear what people think about the idea of non free (in terms of beer style freeness) video game console homebrew. Its something I’ve been thinking about lately.
As I see it here are the arguments for and against it.
Pros: I might be able to make some money which would be nice and may even cover the cost of things that would help with future homebrew developments. I have a tendency to abandon games when I become more interested in something else and if I was expecting some form of monetary reward upon completion of a game then I would be more encouraged to actually complete it. If people had already bought a game that was still in beta then I would definitely feel an obligation to complete it for them.
Cons: Its a blatantly self serving jerk move that would limit the accessibility of a game (or at least until someone buys it and then posts it elsewhere for others to pirate which I would be obviously unable and honestly unwilling to stop). Regardless of its success the simple existence of for profit homebrew normalizes the concept and encourages others to do the same which could over time erode the currently free homebrew scene (on the upside I feel confident that I’m not at all influential and I doubt that I could really cause or contribute to trends in any homebrew scene in any meaningful way).
Would you be willing to buy a homebrew game? What would you be willing to pay and what kind of experience would you be expecting for that price? Would you be interested in pre ordering / buying into a beta in the way that Wolfire is selling Overgrowth?
In the event that you approve of the selling of original homebrew could you recommend a middleman to facilitate the process? I would prefer to not need to spend money upfront paying for hosting or anything like that. I’m assuming that relatively few people would be interested so I suppose I could just manually monitor paypal transactions and email people the files and/or provide them access to a Dropbox account with the files or something like that…
On a related note 8-Bit Funding is a delightful idea deserving of recognition. Although I’m unsure of whether or not they actually hosts files to be made available to funders (it would be understandable if they didn’t considering that its intended for incomplete games) or if the site is just intended to act as an advertiser and leaves it up to the developers to handle everything including distribution based on the provided names/addresses of funders.