We’re pleased to see that many people picked up on the following line in our announcement press release: “Creators will also have the potential to earn money within Crayta from day one, initially via a monthly prize fund”. So having sowed that seed of intrigue we are now happy to share more information about our plans and provide some background on how we came up with them.
Crayta’s Revenue Sharing Goals
Right from our inception in 2017 we knew that we wanted to ensure that creators can earn real money from the games and experiences they make on our platform. We can already see that making games in Crayta is a highly enjoyable experience, but adding a revenue share on top makes the potential reward go far beyond likes and popularity.
So from that starting point we began to think about how best to achieve this.
Evaluating our Options
As I’m sure you’re aware, on the other hand money can be a very divisive subject, so we spent a good deal of time weighing up the various pros and cons of different approaches.
Some of the methods included:
Game creators put in their own microtransactions (mtx): The most obvious example of this approach is Roblox, which has proved to be really successful for their top creators, and we think this may form part of the endgame of Crayta’s monetisation. However, as we launch it doesn’t feel like the best fit for Crayta, since in the early days we feel it could skew design decisions to become too “pay-to-win”. We want the games to be fun and engaging as games and experiences, without encouraging exploitative monetisation. Over time we’re expecting to revisit in-game mtx: once we have a large base of games and experiences it becomes harder for a new overtly pay-to-win game to take over.
Advertising: This just doesn’t feel like a good match for the high quality game-making experience that Crayta provides, and we definitely don’t want to ‘cheapen’ our offering in the eyes of our customers!
Patronage/creator subscriptions: We love the idea of game fans pledging payments to their favourite creators for certain privileges, but this also feels like a later addition. We feel that the creators need to have properly established themselves with a flow of games to show that they are worthy of receiving a regular payment, and this is therefore another mechanic that probably makes more sense for us to introduce later on.
Charitable donations: It is also on our roadmap to allow game creators to raise money for specific charities, but this will not be ready for launch.
Prize fund: We began by exploring having a monthly pot of money to be shared around the game creators. As we thought about it further we realised the following guidelines:
- We want to ensure that a number of creators would receive rewards, not just the top one or two games.
- Conversely, if we split the pot too widely we would end up giving individual creators less significant amounts of money — it needs to feel like a prize worth having.
- We would not want this to feel like a random prize draw. In fact, we’d want to make the criteria very clear — if people are going to create with a view to getting income then there should be as few random variables involved as possible.
- We’d want to reward “up and coming” games as well as those with longevity — the same few creators shouldn’t be rewarded each month, but there should be an incentive to support and maintain your game.
- It almost goes without saying that our own creations would not be eligible, and by extension those created through the Indie Fund will not be at launch so they don’t have an unfair head-start on other games.
The Prize Fund Plan
So, a prize fund feels like the right starting point for Crayta to reward creators. But how will it work in practice? From our launch we will provide a number of prizes each month:
Top Games: Calculated using an equal combination of total unique plays and total time spent in the games, calculated at the end of the calendar month.
Top New Games (starting August 2020): At the end of each month, we’ll assess every game whose 30th day from the game’s initial publication falls within that calendar month, and rank it on unique plays and total time spent in that game. The top five ranked games will win. (Please note that when we calculate the Top New Games at the end of August, we will also include games published on our launch day, 1st July.)
The amounts for each are as follows:
We will, on occasion, also offer additional prize fund awards for other works that capture our interest (e.g. for things like accessibility, originality, seasonal content, art and design).
The Unavoidable Fine Print
- The funds will be awarded to the single owner of the individual game (i.e. the player who originally created the game on Crayta). If more than one person is involved in its creation it is down to those individuals to share the income.
- Unit 2 Games staff, certain contractors, and direct family members are not eligible for the prize fund.
- Indie Fund games will not be eligible for any prize fund amounts during the first two months after launch.
- The fund amounts transferred will be gross of PayPal/bank charges.
- The prize fund is not linked in any way to Stadia or Google.
- We reserve the right to not allocate a prize to a game (we’re thinking we need this as a backstop in case someone explicitly rigs the system somehow for example, but we will hopefully never have to use it).
The above is just our starting point — it’s likely that we’ll refine the way we share revenue (including via the Prize Fund) as we all learn what works best for Crayta’s player base. We also plan to add in some of the other approaches mentioned above over time, and will keep you all updated as we move forward!
NOTE: please also check out our Black Creators’ Prize Fund and Mentoring Programme here.