Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who Reads the EULA?

The developer portal went live recently, and I've been excited to see it finally release.  I've been specifically eager for the blog portion that should serve as a better direct communication channel between CCP and 3rd party devs.  It has been an excellent resource so far about API updates and changes.

HTFU Devs

Though CCP's new ~6wk release cycle is a great boon for the community at large, it's really demanding to keep up as a 3rd party dev.  Recently, I've been spending more time building/anticipating flex capacity, because without being able to quickly change at release, 3rd party devs will never be able to keep up.

I think it's telling with the lag in the release for IPH in the face of Crius changes that we're going to have a really interesting tool environment coming forward.  If you have the ability to code, or want to learn, better get in while the getting is good.  There is going to be more and more need for 3rd party developer support in the community.

Thankfully, CCP_Foxfour and CCP_Nullarbor keep the hits coming on the 3rd party dev side.  So, despite the challenge of getting started, the API's and resources have never been more solid.  Tune in to #devfleet on twitter and /r/evetech on reddit if you're interested in tracking more of the player-side of the dev environment.  And subscribe to the official developer portal!!!

New API EULA

As an active or aspiring developer, go read the new EULA.  Like actually read it.  It's been very well written and is pretty easy to understand as far as TOS go these days.  In all, I'm very pleased with the vast majority of the language.  SSO remains free to develop for (as long as you've ever had a paid account), CCP won't be throwing any surprises on the license/TOS without appropriate notification, and overall the terms are by and large agreeable.

The one point I want to complain against is the monetization rules.  TL;DR there are 3 valid ways to monetize an app or service:
  • ISK for service
  • Ad support to cover costs (but frown upon profiting)
  • Donation jar style contributions
The problem I have is that it's verboten to gate features behind a paywall.  Some of the older players may remember "EVE Is Easy" causing a shitstorm a couple years back when they tried to sell subscriptions to exclusive PVP tutorial content.  Though I still think CCP was right to stamp down this particular type of service, the standard Patreon model isn't far off from this, and I'm kind of a fan of that kind of service.

Monetization

"If you're good at something, never do it for free".  Though I'm doing the project for the actual love of the work, you can't talk about doing this much work without someone asking about: how do you become one of those YouTube/Twitch guys who quit their job and play games 24/7?  And though I'm not against making a few bucks on the side (beer and coffee are always appreciated), I'm not looking to quit my job and make EVE graphs 24/7.  This work is squarely in hobby territory, and I'm more than happy to keep it there.  

Unfortunately, CCP kind of ties my hands on how to grow the work to something more.  To cut to the chase, I hate ads.  I don't serve them on the blog, YouTube, or Twitch.  I would only include ads for a direct EVE product like PLEX retail, news site, or player service.  And then only as live-on-air style.  This is no way to keep up with dev costs or hosting services for anything more beefy than this blog.  

I've been mulling starting a Patreon for the project, but am hesitant to start it up.  I don't think it's kosher to gate content, even if it's a "Patrons get it 1wk early" kind of service.  Though I'd never gate the main show (delay would make the show worthless), doing interview supplementals might work... except that I'd feel like a heel inviting guests to help enable me to make a quick buck.  Another option is syndication with another service like TMC/EN24, but I would probably be paid in ISK.

So I want to open up the question to the readers/viewers.  How do you feel about monetizing the Prosper show?  Would you be okay with ads?  Syndication?  Patreon?  "F$#k you, everyone else produces for free"?  Leave comments here and I'll mull it over.  I won't be gating content or holding anything hostage, but I'd love to hear what the audience thinks.  I'd like to provide more services, and some amount of monetization would enable more... I'm just uneasy about taking the plunge.