Author Topic: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively offered  (Read 6421 times)

Offline retromod

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Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively offered
« on: February 12, 2014, 09:30:32 AM »
yesterday I found an ebay user which offers plenty of unknown coleco, intellivision and atari titles. Most of them are homebrew titles. Auctions starting at $40 up to $200 seems to be quite normal here.

Why are the homebrew title so less promoted? Are the programmer so badly organized? Do they harm copyright and legal of others? Titles are so difficulty and expensive in production? (which can't be if well organized).

Specially as development of a title requires a long time and good knowledge of a system I do not understand why after you have fruit in your hand you dump it for about 10-20 copies.

Any hints?
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Offline Cryptic33

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2014, 10:50:40 AM »
Some good points/questions there and I'm certain some members here can give some good answers.

It is the same here in the UK that hombrews are arguable expensive and some people on sites like eBay try to extort the loyal collectors of every system. Some members here have experience of producing hombrew titles and know how this area is plagued by pirates.

I look forward to reading the replies...
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Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2014, 11:05:41 AM »
well pirates may be a problem but if you deliver the right hardware housing, manual and unique box it gets harder to be copied. And if you offer them 24/7 for a good price then pirates do not earn much.

If you sell them for $100 then of course someone will buy it, reproduce it and sell them for $75.

In my opinion there is no "homebrew" business, in the beginnings of homecomputers we were all homebrew developers and made this business big. then the international resellers took over with large amount of money, big developer teams etc. creating outstanding titles of course but not with genius game designs as in the past. Today the retro-scene is in the hand of homebrew developers .. and to my surprise they are not organized, they hide itself and finally offer titles and concepts using copyright material. I do not really understand it, that's why I started this post.

On smartphones and tablets these "homebrew" developers ditched the international resellers by offering clever applications and here in retro computing they lacks any approach to repeat that?
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Offline TL

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 11:39:30 AM »
I don't understand the homebrew market at times.

If you haven't already then look at the thread for Venture on the Atari XL/XE that was released fairly recently by Video 61. The game is $50 and yet doesn't even come with a box. Worse than that some people got cartridges that had the labels the wrong way round and others got shells that were not attached properly!

Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 11:48:51 AM »
Quote from: "The Laird"
I don't understand the homebrew market at times.

If you haven't already then look at the thread for Venture on the Atari XL/XE that was released fairly recently by Video 61. The game is $50 and yet doesn't even come with a box. Worse than that some people got cartridges that had the labels the wrong way round and others got shells that were not attached properly!

it seems the good one are focussed on cash cows like Apps? I can't believe that. Could it be we need an organized approach to let the developers develop, then let other people sell the items and complete with manuals, covers and copying to cartridges? It seems today's homebrew developers do not understand the whole line of production and tasks accomplished with it. In the past you have had a good idea, started development, showed a demo to a global software vendor and sign the contract. I also started to market my software via newspaper and on tradeshows but it was prior to the Internet or mailboxes at all. Today it is fairly easy to generate professional products even if you are a one man show.
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 11:49:20 AM »
This question has been asked and some folks, like Elektronite, have tried to address it.  I know that part of the reason has to do to with the costs of the hardware and packaging (they boxes, overlays, and/or instructions are included) given the relatively low number of copies that are made of these games.  This doesn't always seem to be the case, though, given situations like the one with Venture on the Atari XL/XE.  So, the answer is not as straightforward. 
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Offline TL

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2014, 11:57:26 AM »
Elektronite are a good example of somebody doing it properly and Songbird are another good example too. You always get top notch professional products from both of them.

RGCD are pretty good but I didn't like the plastic case used for Elansar, it should have come in a proper cardboard box really, looks really out of place on my shelf.

Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2014, 11:59:28 AM »
Quote from: "TrekMD"
... to with the costs of the hardware and packaging (they boxes, overlays, and/or instructions are included) given the relatively low number of copies that are made of these games.  ..

not really. Why should the hardware be expensive? A cartridge housing costs about $2-$5, a pcb about $2 even in short quantities. That's what I pay for the PCB's of my mods. An eprom is not more than $1-$3. If you have a color laser printer a manual is cheap. Package and manual produced in short quantities do not cost more than $50 for about 15 packages. Why to plan in quantities of 5-50 copies? that is far beyond the time and money spent for development itself. Who is working for 1 cent per hour?

A person organizing and selling all the homebrews in a professional way is definitly missing. This role was assigned in the past to the big software vendors, but most of them are gone due to the big crash of gaming industry.

Another business model could be to offer a memory based cartridge to be able to store more than one game and offer downloads of the titles in an app-store like approach to that cartridge. There are always possibilities but if people work on their own without looking behind the fence they will fail of course. The quality of the games is outstanding even from gameplay but this is not enough to get them to the customers.
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Offline TrekMD

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2014, 12:09:38 PM »
From what I've read on talks with Elektronite, the labels, boxes, overlays, and manuals do add up.  Overlays, which are important for Intellivision game releases, can be particularly costly.  Many printers also require large minimum orders and most people expect better quality than just laser printed manuals. 

We really need someone who does the stuff to better explain.  I think you may be underestimating the costs. 

Insofar as the memory-based carts.  Those exist for many systems already (Harmony for the 2600, CC3 for the Intellivision, etc).  When people sell ROMs only to use with those carts, they do sell them for far less than any boxed cart release.
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Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2014, 13:51:52 PM »
Quote from: "TrekMD"
From what I've read on talks with Elektronite, the labels, boxes, overlays, and manuals do add up.  Overlays, which are important for Intellivision game releases, can be particularly costly.  Many printers also require large minimum orders and most people expect better quality than just laser printed manuals. 

We really need someone who does the stuff to better explain.  I think you may be underestimating the costs. 

Insofar as the memory-based carts.  Those exist for many systems already (Harmony for the 2600, CC3 for the Intellivision, etc).  When people sell ROMs only to use with those carts, they do sell them for far less than any boxed cart release.

I solved the cover and overlay problem at all. 4 overlays in great quality costs not more than $2 here. Professionally printed of course as I do with the console covers (which then are running through a special process to be more "plastic").

Laser printed manuals are better than the original one. Don't underestimate the power of a good laser printer. Finally it depend on the quality of the paper the right software to get the right layout for printing and binding.
I use laser for nearly all my documentation since 15 years and no one ever complain about the quality. Sure you must be an artists to not using typwriter style approaches. Back in 1980 I used a copy machine and a knife ;-)
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Offline zapiy

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2014, 14:01:38 PM »
Its not just down to the cost of the hardware and the packaging, what about the persons time, surely they deserve a little back for the hours they invested in the project?
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Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2014, 14:06:21 PM »
Quote from: "zapiy"
Its not just down to the cost of the hardware and the packaging, what about the persons time, surely they deserve a little back for the hours they invested in the project?

exactly that's why I wondering they do not offer them aggressively....
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Offline zapiy

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2014, 14:09:15 PM »
You mean cheaper and more stock?
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Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2014, 14:24:00 PM »
Quote from: "zapiy"
You mean cheaper and more stock?

yes let's sum a possible price tag:

- PCB with eprom/components  $5
- Housing                                   $5
- Label/Joystick Covers              $2
- Manual  (laserprinter)              $2
- Package (printed)                    $5

all these prices are not the minimum and made by estimation on other projects.

so in total ~$20 for hardware. If you do that in a professional manner it requires a few minutes for each item to build so about 30 min to assemble the full package to the customer.

Price tag of $50 seems to be ok.

Better the approach so sell a dedicated hardware modul with housing alone for about $50 then offering smaller modules with the eprom for about $25. So people sell more modules as rely on your hardware modul compatibility  :48:

Much better in my opinion.....
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Offline retromod

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Re: Why are homebrew titles so expensive and agressively off
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2014, 14:35:34 PM »
How about the following idea:

we offer a hardware adapter for several systems (Atari, Intellivision, Coleco) containing a copy protection logic.  It fits into the console slot and looks like standard modules.

Homebrew developer sent us their ready to release games and we built small modules out of them (1" by 1") which are able to be plugged into the hardware adapter. We copy the games onto these modules and add a protection which only works with the adapter. Customers need one adapter and are able to buy the games which are much cheaper under that conditions. May be a homebrew shop with payment. We then share the money with the developers.

Costs are dramatically reduced, there is no need for a cover as a module is very small (or we offer a standard one with a homebrew label). So no chance for pirates.

It that a suitable concept?  :115:
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