Would you PAY for a Pokitto game?

I was just thinking about the amount of great games available on Pokitto and how they’re all free. I know almost everyone here is coding and learning as a hobby (when it comes to Pokitto anyway), but I was wondering who would (if anyone) pay for Pokitto games…

  • No
  • Yes - At ‘app store’ prices (<$5)
  • Yes - At higher prices
  • Maybe - depending on the game

0 voters

Also, creators, would you ask for payment either at a fixed price or maybe a Pay-What-You-Want donation? Do you think it would work?

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I put yes at app store prices, but I would also pay more for exclusive content. Things like source code for example. I’ve paid extra for source code :eyes:

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A Pay-What-You-Want donation because I am not so good a game coder.


Lets not kid ourselves… The pay what you want model always ends up with almost no one paying anything. Neo Retro Games have a donation option directly on the website and almost nobody donated anything. ( Just a few )

Better just remain on the free side i guess.


You are right there

Had to actually give this one a fair bit of thought. On one hand the vast majority of these games are well worth $1-$5USD IMHO. However, I also feel that their actually might be fewer awesome games if they were paid for.

Here’s my marketing analysis as to why I believe having the games paid would mean a lot of them would have never been made.

  1. It would have been monumentally harder to convince people to buy Pokittos if they then had to pay for games. This is because they already have smart phones, tablets, xbox, playstation, switch, etc, etc, etc. Against those systems the Pokitto would have a harder time establishing itself.
  2. The Pokitto itself is more marketed towards hobbyists, enthusiasts, and retro-gaming fans (majority of the sales imo).
  3. If the Pokitto were marketed as something similar to a modern GameBoy then it would have a very difficult time in todays market (mostly because the handheld market is somewhat thin and retro-handhelds are even thinner).
  4. With the games being free (and most open source) the current ecosystem is one of fun adventures, laughable bruises (like the kind when you kick a door and it doesn’t open :stuck_out_tongue:), and good times among friends.
  5. Having the games paid also means it would be harder for beginners to even try and make a game because before we even hear about them they’d be convincing themselves that they wouldn’t be able to make a game worth even $1 (I know a few projects here that started out with lots of self doubt, my own included).
  6. It pains me to admit this but bugs play a huge factor in the growth of a paid game ecosystem. When we encounter a game breaking bug we all laugh and poke fun at the dev who eventually fixes it (with no hurt feelings intended). If the games were paid for (even a mere $1) then people could get quite upset about a bug (especially a game breaking bug), which would not only hurt that dev but other Pokitto devs and the Pokitto as whole (people might start associating the device as a whole as being buggy).

Some really good advice for those looking to earn money doing hobby game dev is to take your Pokitto game, port it to the PC/Switch/Xbox/PS4 and enhance it a little bit (keeping the retro-style, but improve the audio, and other minor enhancements), then release it through services like Steam, GOG, itch.io, etc. This is what myself plan on doing with Prelude to a Dream (the Pokitto version will forever remain free and open source partly as a gift to this wonderful community that helped me gain the necessary art skills).


As i always do i support small indie projects. I especially pay money if something comes with box and manual and i have a very soft spot for enamel pins :laughing:
The only problem is that it does mean to import things most of the time - that can be very expensive and sometimes it even won’t come at all or i have to pick it up somewhere far away and have to get there in the morning when i have to work - so i am really hesitant buying everything i would otherwise want to.


I voted “no” because I don’t think that’d be worth it. I don’t have any hard numbers to support my claim, so I might be wrong. Even the best of games don’t probably have enough players to recoup the time investment if these players payed a couple of bucks. 10 people voted on this poll for instance, 11h after the posting.

I feel like donations are more in line with the kind of community we have here. Something like “I liked your work, pay yourself a beer with this tip”. Granted you won’t get rich this way, but I don’t think you’d get rich either with a fixed-price game here.

I agree with @tuxinator2009’s strategy - release on multiple platforms is probably the best to do. Even with this, this isn’t going to be easy to recoup even your base investment, let alone giving yourself a minimum wage for your invested hours … selling a game by yourself is hard, even when your game is excellent


Yikes … (order some PPOT pins online).

This is exactly my thought … the Pokitto has a place in the market because the games are free and the community helps each other out. Put a price on a game and all that changes - I could help you for a cut of that $1.

Exactly, for a big game that would put your hourly rate south of 10c / hr.


About paying for games … or paying for anything

Life has taught me that people only pay for things if they have to.

Someone brave can try it with a Pokitto game. Just refuse to give the game for free.

Be open about it and announce your intention in advance.

I do not expect it to sell a lot but if someone wants to try, why not. I would understand.


i bought games i already got for free, only to support people. I can’t always do so of course. And sadly i also got scammed, because i am supportive, so i don’t do it as often as i used to…


I voted “No”.

As it is, I honestly don’t play that many Pokitto (or Arduboy) games.
If they were behind a paywall, I’d be even less inclined to play them.

To be brutally honest, if I’m going to fork out money for a game there’s a long list of games on places like Steam that I’d much sooner spend my money on. It’s not that we don’t have people here capable of making good games, we do, but there’s a long list of things I’d sooner spend my money on.

One of the big reasons I support the Pokitto (and the Arduboy) is how much of everything is open source.
The games being free and open source means that:

  • Every game is a potential learning tool for anyone who wants to learn how to write a game
  • Anyone is free to fix any bugs in any game
  • Anyone is free to mod any game
  • Everyone is free to help each other fix their bugs, improve their skills et cetera

If you lock those things behind a paywall or don’t provide the ability to do those things, either by hiding your source away or not granting the rights with your licence, then I cease to be interested.

I think closed source has its place, because even programmers need to earn a living, but if Pokitto games start trying to compete with closed source games, just take a look at Steam or GOG and have a think about what you’re competing with and what people are more likely to spend their money on.

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@Pharap there are many sides to everything of course, and your points are 100% valid

In a sense, I think we are talking apples and oranges.

For me, paying money (as I do for things like assets I sometimes get from itch.io) voluntarily is not about whether the author can make ‘a living’ out of it. It is a token of appreciation. If they can get a cup of coffee, at least that one cup is on me.

In that regard, if I spend 5€ in Playstation store or itch.io is not the same thing. I don’t really even compare them.

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For tokens of appreciation, I’d rather just gift money to the creator.

When someone sells things, you can only give them money by buying the things they’re selling, whether you want them or not.

When someone accepts donations, you can give them money simply as a way to endorse the things they do without it having to be an endorsement of something in particular and without it having to be in exchange for something you may or may not want.

That also means it’s easier to give a ‘token of appreciation’ for things other than games. Paritcularly things that are usually underappreciated, like tooling, libraries or documentation, or things you typically couldn’t charge money for, like just generally making positive contributions to the forum.

In other words, I’d sooner donate money to someone who makes Pokitto games (or tools, or libraries, or documentation) than buy a Pokitto game.

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But, here is the issue: people do not donate.

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I am telling you what my personal opinions are on the matter, I am not claiming others would necessarily behave the same way.

That said, donations seem to work (a little too well) for Twitch streamers, so perhaps it’s more complex than just “people do not donate”, perhaps there are factors that make people more or less likely to donate?

I only pay for games that make me happy, i.e. if they’re completely libre, suckless, portable. I never pay for proprietary games or games that force me to pay.

So if you ask me, I support the pay what you want / buy me a coffee model, and I also humbly think that would fit this wholesome, mostly hobbyist community best. We can both pay the developers and keep everything free and education friendly.

I’d definitely strongly oppose paywalls or perhaps even popups asking for donations. I think something like a small donation button somewhere can’t hurt.

If my donation could help someone make the kind of SW I’d like to see for Pokitto (such the CC0 minimal library etc.), I’d definitely love to do it.


I think some indie developers offered to release the source code of their game under an open license if they collected a fixed “ransom” during some fundraising campaign. This probably won’t work for a Pokitto-exclusive title - I mean, it would always be the same people paying. :wink:

I guess having a PC version on itch.io for a low price or pay-what-you-want would work better if you want to make a bit of money.

Personally, I would not ASK for money for a Pokitto game, anyway. Because then I’d be obligated to take very good care of it and never release anything.

Itch.io seems reasonable, I’ve got my game there and people sometimes send a dollar or two. The advantage may be that new people will discover Pokitto through that website which has a big following.

Same, I couldn’t take the pressure of basically being under obligation to make a professional product and offer nice support just because it was a paid thing. If you’re making a commercial product it changes the whole mood of the development and it may become stressful rather than fun. That’s why I only consider the optional tipping option, a person can simply download the game, see if it works and if they liked it, and then decide if that deserved a tip.

Another idea: a game jam with money prizes that are pooled together beforehand. Not sure if it’s a good idea but it’s an idea. Opinions?

EDIT: Just noticed this forum automatically replaces the word itch.io with a link to the website.


A nice idea. If I could not make an own game and wanted more games for Pokitto, I could give a couple of euros for the jam. I think Pokitto community should grow bigger first, now the majority of active members are coders.