On the 8th day, God created Netflix, and he saw that it was good. Electronic Arts, otherwise known as ‘Satan’, created ‘Origin Access’, a subscription based, ‘video game Netflix’ that gave gamers a large library of games to for an unlimited time, for 5 bucks a month. Many companies have since tried to replicate the model, for example Xbox now has a ‘game pass’ that allows you to do the same thing.
The main problem I have with these models, is that, while on paper the deal is pretty amazing, it’s all dependant on the lineup, and the same could be said of Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Crunchyroll. Subsequently, the lineup of games in question is heavily controlled by the compay’s themselves, and from what I’ve seen, there isn’t much diversity there. Also, because I’m tight, I find it very hard to find the space in my wallet to commit to a service like this, as the content I’m interested in is only really one or 2 games that came out a few years ago that I didn’t pick up.
However, there’s a new kid on the block and it’s got me genuinely interested in the model again. It’s called ‘Dropleaf’, a gaming subscription service that offers a list of curated indie titles specifically, focusing on discovery, fair business, and transparency with its’ developers and it’s customers. And it probably wears socks and sandals.
Keeping It Real
Dropleaf was founded by Zi Guo and Vikram Rangraj, known more colloquially as ‘Vikram and Rygeko’, to offer something unique to gaming in a variety of ways. Vikram recently did a live interview with us on our Youtube channel, in which he talked us through his and his teams philosophies when creating the platform. He spoke about the 3 main aspects of the platform: Discoverability, Diversity, and Dollars, all of which contribute to making Dropleaf a platform that indie developers deserve.
When talking about discoverability, it can be very hard for smaller developers to find audiences to really invest in their games. There’s thousands of games out there that I can guarantee you’d love, but you’ve never played because you’ve never heard of them! This can be due to multiple reasons, such as the high expense of advertisement, or the game/dev just not getting any real breaks. With Dropleaf, discoverability takes center stage for Vikram and Zi’. They said ‘Our focus on indies and our discovery tools mean that we’ll be able to connect devs with the players who will connect with their art’. It really shows how this service is being created with a strong emphasis on breaking down walls, and community input.
In terms of diversity, Vikram said that ‘we think that the industry wins when gamers, devs, and media are more diverse and inclusive.’ As a result, the philosophy around the development of Dropleaf’s community has been built with that in mind, as they expressed that they want a place for gamers to feel safe and welcomed, in an inclusive and diverse environment. This particularly surprised me as putting the community surrounding your product as one of the main factors of the product itself, is pretty cool, and as the saying goes: ‘A community is known by the people it keeps’. Gaming culture can be pretty hostile at times, so promotion of a philosophy like this gets a massive tick from me!
But, I know what you’re thinking. How DOES Dropleaf actually work? ‘Pricing trends in the current gaming industry don’t favor smaller developers or gamers’, he exaplained. And this is most likely due to consumers not wanting to risk 15 or 20 dollars on a game they don’t know much about. Because of this, it’s much harder for indie devs to gain traction, so Dropleaf’s pricing model is created with that in mind.
The gamers who use Dropleaf pay a flat monthly fee of $4.99 per month, but most interestingly the devs themselves are paid based on time played. This means that gamers can browse the library, and try out loads of games without having that initial ‘buy in’ that can mean thousands of games going unplayed.
Obviously, I can’t sit here and say that I have all the numbers, because I don’t! We don’t yet know how the ‘time played’ per game will translate into revenue to the appropriate devs, much less the figures themselves! But given the philosophies and personalities I’ve seen expressed by the team so far, I can’t imagine it’ll be anything less than reasonable.
Everything considered, I’m really interested in this service not because I feel like it specifically applies to myself, but because I feel like it comes from a genuinely great place. I think if you’re a big indie gamer generally, or you’re looking for fresh new games to jump into, I’d absolutely check out Dropleaf. It’s got a unique idea, a good team, and I really hope it succeeds and inspires other platforms to try similar concepts.
”We’re really excited to launch Dropleaf! We’d love to hear any questions you have, or learn about your favorite games!” – Vikram Rangraj.