The Frustration of Monetization Platforms

Since 2019, I've had a Patreon account.  I'm happy with what I've done over that time, having made over 225 posts, but I think it's time for a change.  I'm very appreciative of everyone who has joined my Patreon over the years, but there are several issues I'm having with it that I'd like to write about here. 

The Monthly Requirement Is Stressful

Patreon is stressful for me because supporters get charged monthly, and game development is slow.  I feel Patreon works better for small form content.  Though I know making high quality art pieces is not easy by any means, it's still a smaller piece of work than say an entire game or even a prototype or tutorial.  I think if I only was doing video game prototypes or tutorials exclusively and not working on larger games like MerFight or Battle High, it wouldn't be so bad, but there's still small Patreon monkey on my back every month that's like "Did you make a post yet?" that I'm tired of struggling with.  There's a combination of guilt and stress that comes with failing to make new, interesting Patreon content monthly, especially given the current economic situation for many individuals.

See, even monkeys don't like having other monkeys on their backs...
Photo by Milo Miloezger on Unsplash

There's Not Enough To It

I hate saying this because it makes me feel unappreciative, but in reality, the Patreon isn't doing enough for me at this time.  I'm only making a little over $35 per month, which is nice, but not really worth the amount of time it makes to do monthly post.  At the same time, I don't have a lot of interactive supporters, which they don't owe that to me, especially since they are paying into it monthly, but the main issue is that, because of this, there's a lack of direction.  Do people like what I'm posting?  Do they want more game behind-the-scenes?  More early access?  More tutorials or prototypes?  Even since 2019, I was never really sure what people wanted.  I think if I had a little more direction, I would be more motivated to keep it up to date, but still the overall feeling is I don't feel like I'm getting enough out of it from various avenues, which ultimately demotivates me from working on it.

There are a lot of directions to take this stuff in but having none is not a great feeling
Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash


There Are Better Platforms

I think, for the type of work I do, there are better platforms to try and monetize my work. alone I feel like would be better for style of work I do.  I can put pretty much anything up there outside of blog posts, which I mostly do tutorials anyway, so I could do more things like "Hey, give me $1 for this tutorial.  5$ for the source code," instead of charging monthly and it being up in the air as to what type of content I'll be making that month.  I can put a game in early access and charge a small amount for people who really want to play it early -- before doing the large early access Steam release anyway.  I think ko-fi could be better for this style of posting as well or at least behind-the-scenes work.  Patreon apparently has per item posting, but my Patreon is too old so I can't utilize it?

There are a lot of platforms out there and some are just better than others...
Photo by Rodion Kutsaiev on Unsplash


Now What?

So with this, I think I'll be pausing my Patreon for the month of April and look into other monetization avenues.  Maybe I'll look into how I can utilize ko-fi; see if there's some support so I can make Patreon work in a more "per item" route and so on.  I don't want to unpublish or shutdown the Patreon entirely because there are still a lot of posts I would like supporters to be able to access, but I think I need a break and to see how it feels to not have to worry about it so I can focus on MerFight's new characters and Battle High 2 A+ XChange.  

I think this does bring up the question:  Why even monetize your work at all?  Why charge for tutorials or content of any kind?  The obvious is that by giving me money, I can use it to make more things and more content, etc.  Did you like MerFight's soundtrack?  Well I had to pay those composers to make it.  Though I do treat my game development as a hobby and don't have the same financial requirements as other indie game projects, I'm not rich enough where I can just freely burn money for every aspect of the game -- if I could MerFight would probably look a lot better.

Yes, a little bit of a self-burn of my own game's visuals
Photo by Alex Teixeira on Unsplash

For me, it's a sign that someone supports my work and wants to see more of it.  Of course, I know not everyone can support my work financially.  If that is the case, I -- and a lot of creators would agree -- would ask you to support my work in other ways.  Writing reviews on Steam for example; retweeting content, just talking about the game to others.  There are so many ways to support creative endeavors outside of financial backing and still mean a lot to us.  Anyway, if you were a part of my Patreon, thank you.  Hopefully my next plans will help me improve and share more of my work but generate less stress for myself.

Support, in any form, is an important, motivating force for any developer
Photo by Neil Thomas on Unsplash


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