TRAUMA – Monetize This $hit!

It has been awfully silent about TRAUMA for some time here. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing anything. On the contrary. I’m preparing the steps necessary to actually publish the game. Which also means dealing with the selling side of things.

Bank Account

I have actually opened a new bank account only for my games stuff. I want to keep this apart from my finances. Because banks are assholes, this is more complicated and expensive than necessary. I already have two bank accounts at two different banks ( and BBBank offers a second account only for an extra monthly fee. DiBa actually doesn’t allow you to have more than one account. I found only after sending in all the necessary forms and documents. Both strategies are plain stupid. Because what it actually encourages me to do is to go to one of their competitors ( and to apply for a free account there. So after filling in the forms for the second time, I finally received most of my account information yesterday. Which brings me to…

Setting Up Payment Options

Obviously, I want to offer as many different payment options as possible. I don’t want to lose customers simply because they can’t pay me. I set up a separate PayPal account for TRAUMA which enables payments via PayPal or credit card. I was able to do this just today actually, because it needed to be associated with a bank account. I was researching alternative systems like Amazon Payments and Google Checkout. Amazon Payments seems to be only for US residents. As for Google Checkout, I was able to create an account. However, when trying to upgrade to “Merchant”, which is needed to accept payments, I was able to only select US and GB as countries. This is actually quite odd because the entire form was already in German. I think the system is not enabled for Germany yet. It seems like I’m stuck with PayPal.

Payment Processing Solutions

I researched some of the other Indies to check out how they deal with payments. I found that most of them either use FastSpring or E-Junkie. I checked out both and decided to use neither. Fastspring seems to have a very comfortable backend. However, the actual process of purchasing is needlessly complicated for the customers – they need to log in and everything. E-Junkie was the preferred platform. It’s light-weight and fairly transparent on the side of users. I just didn’t think I had good control about the download links they generate for the delivery. And in the end, I wasn’t even sure what I was paying them for at all. PayPal would carry most of the process anyway. Also, the side is quite ugly.

I accidentally got in contact with Jeroen Stoat form StoatGames (Dinner Date). He gave me some excellent feedback on the beta. He also described how he set up his system. It’s a very simple, custom solution built on top of PayPal. I especially like how it avoids having any kind of passwords by sending all vital data via E-Mail. I think I will simply code something similar myself. I asked about the observations he made when actually using the system and I will make some small tweaks. I think many people don’t realize that making a PayPal integration is actually deceptively simple as long as you don’t want anything fancy like shopping carts. I found this tutorial useful to get started.

Setting Up the Domain

So I actually have a new domain now. It’s I have set up some alternatives but they don’t works so well right now. From the experience I gained during the beta, I want to have some precise control about the domain the game is hosted on. Small issues can easily mess with the savegames. To this end, I have been experimenting with .htaacess and encountered some issues. If you are familiar with this Apache thing, I could use some help.


I’m still struggling with the pricing for the game. I can’t make a proper business calculation because I have no experience with sales numbers yet. I need to rely on opinions. But Everybody seems to say something different. It also heavily depends on the type of game. A game similar to TRAUMA is perhaps Windosill. It costs 3$. Samorost 2 may be also comparable. That one is 5$. It’s funny but I remember a time where people were discussing how going below 20$ was destructive for the Indie community. On the other hand, many simple Indie games still cost easly 10$ or even more on Steam. The recently released Gemini Rue is 15$ for example. The flip-side are all those observations from the App store, where it seems like the cheaper you go, the more revenue you make. But that hardly applies to the world outside the App Store, does it? I have some ideas, but I wanted to ask you, dear readers. What would you think is an appropriate price for a game like TRAUMA?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

8 responses to “TRAUMA – Monetize This $hit!”

  1. Matt

    About how long did it take the beta testers to finish? I know you can’t base the price solely on length but it does factor in. I’d be okay with something in the $5-$10 range. Windosill, as fantastic as it is, is really just a webtoy so they charge less. You could always go with the “pay what you want” plan.

  2. allen

    I’d expect it to be anywhere from 10-15 dollars. you should do a week long release promotion at 10% reduced price. Steam does this, and it really convinces me to play a game if I know I can get a little bit discount for getting it earlier. even if 15 may be on the high side for a game like this (idk i havent played it) when I see 10% reduced price (no matter what the final price is) I’d jump on it easily.

  3. Nels Anderson

    It’s a bit mercenary, but starting at a higher price point with the option of dropping it for sales (or permanently) seems the best way to go. But as to whether that means start at $10 and potentially drop to $5 or start at $5 to drop to $3, I don’t know. But PC is a little more tolerable of price than iOS, I find.

    Pay what you want isn’t a bad idea either, if you set the default appropriately.

  4. ldacruz

    $9.99 :)

  5. boink

    so what has been said on since i first heard of your game was all a load of bull? or is this as bad a joke as last years FB crap?

    getting payed for your work is understandable and im not saying its wrong, but saying it will be free for 2 years and when it closes on release put a price tag on it, will not get my wallet out.

    ps. waiting this long for a release only to learn you need to pay for it probably wont net you any more cash.

  6. sirleto

    first of all, weren’t you intending to offer it free online and sell cd/dvd version (mail order) for those willing to pay you? i always found this very brave, and basically it allows you atleast to charge something real (10 euro / 15 dollars, or even more) for the hard copy version.

    second: i can add that i’m using google checkout for android phone dev (no other choice ;) and as you can imagine i offer the product in euro (and in $ etc.) and get paid in euro on my german deutsche bank account.

    third: over the years david/sascha/me bought many psn titles. and because of the speciality that you can share games there (up to 5 ps3s) we often bought games together (i.e. everyone paid a third). nevertheless, we never went higher than paying for great full-price segment games like the newest wipeout, and mostly bought games with less than 10 dollars. we also found out that anything below 6 euros (2 euros for each of us) was an instant tryout (if it looked interesting/convincing/worth to try out). nevertheless, we nearly never bought what hasnt atleast a convincing video or a demo (and there are many psn titles that lack both, very strange!). … so TL;DR … anything above 6 euro / 8 usd seemed not sellable to us, if it isnt nearly halfprice AA quality.

    fourth: i would aim on the “have it cheap, sell more” target audience, but just NOT go down to 70cent instead give it the feeling “this is worth more”, which is not at 15 dollars, but at 6-8 (~5 euro).

  7. sirleto

    PS: on android market, there is the claim that europeans / germans have MANY android phones. so lets say the states have 100% phones (whatever that number is) and central europe has 50-75% of that.

    but game sales are COMPLETELY different on android phones: total worldwide market is 55% US alone, and germany at 7%, european countries together have something like 15-20%, alone korea is pretty equal / has even more than what germany has (i.e. the 50mio koreans buy more android games than the 80mio germans).

    TL;DR aim for the US market. worldwide its the number one selling game market. do not aim for the same games others are already producing (military, military, military) but make sure to have english language and prices prominently displayed in dollars / setup in dollars (if you only show one price, show dollars; i would show USD, EUR and GBP).

  8. Vasily

    I wouldn’t go below 10$. Otherwise one might think that this is just a 20 min. “web toy” as somebody said. And that is not the case for Trauma as I understand.
    You can probably set a price tag 15$, but make a 30 % discount first week.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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