Monetization and Crowd-Funding of Fangames

Discussion in 'Fangaming Discussion' started by Beamer the Meep, Jul 6, 2020.

  1. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Meant to post this sooner but a lot of stuff happened today. Apparently this #cancelsonictwitter thing has unearthed 3 fangames trying to monetize their games.

    It seems that Sonic 2020 has reopened a Patreon account, this time in Russian: Person Who Pointed this out
    Allegedly, Alex communicated to this individual, SFGHQ, and several other people that he understood what he was doing was wrong, but here we are again... He's now lost credibility with me.

    Sonic Smackdown developer ArcForged was apparently accepting donations on itch.io. They claimed it was for the engine itself, but given that this was being operated on the fangame's page, it falls into infringement. They have since removed this link and have made the game available on their discord only.
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    ArcForged's Twitter post

    And finally, a Roblox fangame called Sonic Eclipse Online is being created by Warhead Entertainment and is monetizing it on Patreon. This apparently involves different tiers that allow you to unlock different characters, microtransactions, that sort of thing. There's also some evidence that might suggest this creator is a pedophile, but I can't confirm anything myself. The accusation to that effect can be found here. That same post also suggests that the game is making quite a tidy sum.

    For the sake of relevance, here's a video that I thought explains #CancelSonicTwitter for those who don't know what the hashtag is all about:
     
  2. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I really don't see how hard the sentence "Do not charge for anything at all if you are making fangames using other people's IP: yes, this includes "donations"." is to parse. If you want to get paid, make your own IP up.
     
  3. Sid Starkiller

    Sid Starkiller

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    It's clear at this point that they just don't care.

    Almost makes me want Sega to take them down, dangerous a thought that may be.
     
  4. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    I didn't care much about this before, but now I'm genuinely concerned these clowns are going to destroy what the community took decades to build.
    The horde of 12 year old defending them on twitter isn't helping things either, they really need to understand that they need to cut that shit out RIGHT NOW.
     
  5. Scarred Sun

    Scarred Sun

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    Welp, this.
     
  6. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Honestly, I think this #CancelSonicTwitter thing is actually helping on that front. Just as many people have started (as far as I can tell, take with a grain of salt) denouncing these on Twitter. There's #BoycottSonic2020, #BoycottSonicSmackdown, & #BoycottSonicEclipse that have grown out from the initial hashtag and people are certainly running with it.

    As I said in my first post, Smackdown has at least backed down from Itch.io to their own private discord server and I'm sure there's going to be fear of reprisal for 2020. Eclipse is the one I'm the most concerned about, but given how massive that operation is, I wouldn't be surprised if Roblox themselves took it down for fear of legal action.

    I'm also concerned that with how much attention #CancelSonicTwitter is getting (even official social media channels have responded to it) that it's only a matter of time before Sega does something about these games and the growing need for fangame developers to monetize off of the IP. I would like to believe they would deal with these one on one and maybe release a set of guidelines about what is and isn't acceptable (much like Star Trek did with fanfilms), but we honestly can't count on that.
     
  7. Lilly

    Lilly

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    I would be careful assuming what the meaning of #CancelSonicTwitter is. Everyone says things ranging from "It was started as a joke" to "We're trying to cancel culture Sonic, because Sonic is bad!", but ultimately, it's an un-glamorous amalgamation of many horrible social dialogues about Sonic that are spiraling out of control. Some funny or insightful tweets are coming from it, as well, but there are plenty of nonsensical "hot takes" with the pretense of being clever, while absolutely not "getting it" any more than the rest of us.

    What's important is to maintain prudence as you observe it, and wait for some dust to clear; I don't like to say anything definitive about the chaos I see online, until most everyone's had their fill of a trendy hashtag. (And everyone's done blocking each other. :V) Then, it's possible to assess what even happened here.

    I agree with your post overall, but I solely take some issue with "growing need" being used to describe what these people are doing. They are illegally feeding off of Sonic's popularity and pre-existing audience, so they can take said audience's money. There are no exceptions, here, it is so obviously not legal, or even considered ethical to do this.

    Fan games are made for fun, by amateurs all the way to software engineers, out of their own pockets and free time; it is a broad spectrum of passionate fans. But no one does it for money, they just really love Sonic and are taking time out of their day, after work/school, to make cool things that can be enjoyed by other fans, for as freely as they were allowed to make the game without legal consequence.

    When it's time for your game development habit to meet your needs for money, it's time to stop using someone else's IP and make your own, no exceptions. Freedom Planet and Spark the Electric Jester are excellent examples of how these developers should be doing this; what they're doing now would tarnish decades of passionate, freely available community hacking/fan game efforts, if SEGA does have to get involved. We should make every effort to ban/disown them from every Sonic-centric online platform, like this one, where they can further scoop up potential donors.

    Maintain the social pressure and keep them immersed in scathing controversy, but we need to not passively stand by and hope SEGA will drive them out for us. SEGA would be within their rights to uproot the entire fan game scene as an illegal racket that needs to promptly cease to exist; none of us can afford that possibility.
     
  8. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Sorry, I wasn't trying to imply that they should or have to monetize their content, my intent was to say that there's a growing trend where developers will monetize their stuff and feel they "need" to.
     
  9. Lilly

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    Sorry about that, then! Amazing to think what difference the addition of air quotes can make on a statement. :specialed:

    As for the other thing- yeah, I'm waiting out the #CancelSonic hashtag to confirm anything, but thus far it seems to have spawned multiple avenues of conversation, regardless of its original intent. It's a mosh pit right now. :psyduck:
     
  10. Hez

    Hez

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    I'm basically preparing for fan-games to get the ban hammer. It's unfortunate, but it takes one turd to ruin a punch bowl. Three turds really does a doozie.
     
  11. Is there anyway the community can reach out to Sega and let them know that we as a whole aren't associated with them? Sonic fan games and hacks are the only reason I kept with the franchise this long, there really wouldn't be much of a reason for me to pay attention to the franchise anymore if we lost them.
     
  12. Frostav

    Frostav

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    Fan games are already technically illegal. SEGA simply allows them out of their own good graces. I find the whole "this may force SEGA to shut down fangames!" argument really weird, because it acts like SEGA right now can't do that but this situation will give them the right to. They always had that right and they would need no precedent like this to do it.

    Though really, how is this different from Sonic fanartists taking paid commissions of Sonic characters?
     
  13. Sparks

    Sparks

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    At this point, the users in the Sonic fan gaming community and extended community as a whole that are enabling and arguing in favor of this behavior are going to learn the hard way what everyone else has been arguing and fighting against. It'll be quite sad but interesting to see how they react if SEGA actually starts shutting down fan game projects they perceive as a threat to their brand.
     
  14. Beamer the Meep

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    I had a discussion about this yesterday with someone. Both are technically illegal like many people in this thread have said, but Sega allows certain things. Fangames are directly competing with the games Sega releases if monetized, while fanart that's commissioned doesn't directly compete. Commissioned fanart is usually ignored by major companies unless it's a massive detriment to the brand or IP. Disney will certainly go after it and have gone after it numerous times, but they're really the only ones (at least that I'm aware of) that will exercise those rights so aggressively.

    I think that's where the crux of this whole thing lies honestly: Sega's leniency. All of this is already illegal under law and Sega has the right to enforce that law if they choose to, but since fan work has largely been free advertising that keeps their IPs relevant and it doesn't damage their brand so much that the public image changes for the worse, they allow it. The moment money comes into play for a fangame (be it for the game itself, or using the IP to incentivise financing for something else), that game stops being free advertising and becomes an illegal competitor. Money for products that don't directly compete and don't make much money at all I imagine are overlooked since relatively little damage is done.
     
  15. Laura

    Laura

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    If depends on how you do fan character art. If you draw characters that evoke Sonic like Freedom Planet, then that could be monetised because it's your own creation. Explicit fancharacters are not allowed to be monetised because they directly exist in Sonic's world and are linked to the IP, but could easily be altered to be original (again Freedom Planet).

    There's another side to copyright protection that goes beyond money. Fangames going commercial can hurt a game's reputation. The creator of Touhou lets people monetise fangames and they are available on Steam, Eshop etc. Theres actually way more fangames than there are official Touhou games on the markets and a lot of them are sub-par honestly. As cool as it is that the series is so open with its IP, and some grsat games wouldn't exist without the permission, it would give a really bad impression and bewilder newcomers, who might not know thst they are commercial fangames. Now imagine this with Sonic. The franchise's already bad reputation would tank.
     
  16. Xiao Hayes

    Xiao Hayes

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    I suppose how much money they get will also be a factor in Sega's leniency, since paying lawyers probably costs more money than these projects are robbing, but I think that, even if they fly low on Sega's radar, they should already have learnt the community they're supposed to be a part of doesn't get any money for what they do, with no exceptions. Going against that community is an evidence of how wrong they are and should be enough reason for they to immediately stop.
     
  17. Hez

    Hez

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    I don't think anyone has ever said they weren't? The whole reason people are getting pissed is because of how gracious they have been to us about fan-games/hacks etc. when they COULD have pulled the trigger. Now we have these asshats who are taking full advantage of how greatful we've been.
     
  18. Beamer the Meep

    Beamer the Meep

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    Unfortunately, people out there in the interwebz seem to think fangames are "legal", legitimately. It's been a headache trying to explain to them that it's not.
     
  19. SuperSnoopy

    SuperSnoopy

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    Sonic Beatdown's developer made the fangame Discord exclusive and went on a rent about how the fanbase is mean and he doesn't consider himself a Sonic fan anymore.
    Good riddance I'd say, if it wasn't for all the people apologizing on behalf of the fanbase and saying we're "toxic" (lol) and "jealous" (are you fucking serious?)
    This is something we should all agree is bad and needs to be stopped, but there's an alarmingly high number of people defending him and saying what he's doing is okay because the game is free.
    I can't see this ending well.
     
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  20. RDNexus

    RDNexus

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    Why do they feel entitled to request donations for fan-projects derived from official IPs?
    Because there's no precedent of the IP owners dunking a ban-hammer on such practices?
    And those Twitter folks, not understanding such simple things or just going with the flow.

    I've also kept around due to fangames, since the latest main games fail to appeal me.
    I'm no gamer, but I enjoy checking some projects made by sheer love of the franchise.
    And those practices may cause an end to a precious portion of the Sonic Community...