Promoting EP: official free PDF download?

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Aleksander Aleksander's picture
Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
Firstly, I want to emphasize I admire you people for writing EP and licensing it as Creative Commons, believing in us, fans. You're one of the first ones to trust that community is not just a bunch of egocentric thieves, but people willing to make an effort to show their gratitude. As you let us share the handbook, and everybody can get it virtually for free, it still looks like an underground process with most copies available on Torrents, Rapidshare or other places usually associated with the piracy. I think that you should consider creating an official free download source for the PDF - maybe even on this page? I fully understand that you can find that idea very unsettling, as it will require much less effort for a potential player to get a copy of a handbook, and he may somewhat undervalue it because of that. But wouldn't it be a great source of promotion? I'm sure that most of RPG and Open Source portals would be hit with another wave of news about Eclipse Phase developers being even bolder about licensing, and more people would know about your work! Another useful thing you should consider is a donation account - preferably PayPal. I understand you've got fixed prices for PDFs, and that would probably mean that people would pay less for the handbooks, but on the other hand - more people will do it. You might also think about introducing a mechanism used by a lot of webcomics and Internet communities - new material will be published after gathering certain sum of money. Of course, that wouldn't apply to the main handbooks, but maybe some unpublished art, npcs or places that somehow didn't find their places in the books. So, after first $100 of donations you give us one NPC, then after $200 an illustration, and so on... I assume that the biggest part of your income after the first enthusiasm will be generated by the hardcovers, as I can't imagine playing without a printed handbook, and a lot of people will buy them. Luckily, that won't be changed by creating an official source of free PDFs, so you can be sure of your future. +open source Aleksander
zenfar zenfar's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
I bought the PDF and I think it is a great idea to have the PDF for sale not free. Just keep the price reasonable. It is easier to keep something going if it generates revenue. I bought the PDF because of the creative commons license, but I am happy that the game itself is great. If you don't reward people and companies for moving in the right direction they won't do it. The PDF is very easy to buy and download.
Aleksander Aleksander's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
zenfar wrote:
I bought the PDF and I think it is a great idea to have the PDF for sale not free. Just keep the price reasonable. It is easier to keep something going if it generates revenue. I bought the PDF because of the creative commons license, but I am happy that the game itself is great. If you don't reward people and companies for moving in the right direction they won't do it. The PDF is very easy to buy and download.
But the PDF is for free - legally! That's what Creative Commons means. I fully understand and support authors, who need to earn money for their works - and I'm going to buy every book (some of them maybe twice, as with the Core) from the EP series. It's just that EP is free, and I think that shouting it aloud would serve it well: "This is a free game, you pay only if you like it!" Isn't that a good way to promote it?
browwiw browwiw's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
I'm the perfect example of what the devs are going for with their creative commons sales model. I randomly found the CRB (core rule book) .pdf torrent while clicking around the web, downloaded it, loved it, and decided that I just had to order the physical hardcover copy. Granted, I'm a bit of a dinosaur and prefer reading off the printed page rather than a computer screen, but Catalyst still gots paid, son. Anyway, I would also like to see an 'official' torrent for the CRB linked somewhere here on the site. If nothing else, it will let me keep up with the errata.

"Let’s face it: Most of us are just here to shoot stormtroopers." - Gary M. Sarli

Aleksander Aleksander's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
Hey, I want to refresh this topic. Can You consider this question now, after the hardcover is available in shops?
orin orin's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
Why would DriveThruRPG or the Catalyst BattleShop bother carrying Eclipse Phase if there was an "official" free download available at the Eclipse Phase site? To quote from: http://www.eclipsephase.com/ep-pre-orders-pdf-and-bundle "Posthuman Studios and Catalyst Game Labs negotiated on a PDF price point that would get this game in as many hands as possible while still meeting Catalyst's business needs" There is an advantage in being present on the DriveThruRPG and Catalyst Battleshop sites - it provides good exposure to the target audience. There will be a good reason why there is no "official" free download location and it will do with the relationship between the publishers and the organizations that are selling the PDFs.
Aleksander Aleksander's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
orin wrote:
Why would DriveThruRPG or the Catalyst BattleShop bother carrying Eclipse Phase if there was an "official" free download available at the Eclipse Phase site?
Why would DriveThruRPG or the Catalyst BattleShop bother carrying Creative Commons -licensed PDF at all?
orin orin's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
Well, as you point out, in your first post, selling an RPG with this type of license is already a bit of a bleeding edge experiment and part of getting these distributors to go along with the CC nature of the work probably involved also agreeing not to put a link on the Eclipse Phase site which allowed direct download. I say *probably* because doing such a thing would be trivial - so there are *probably* good reasons why it hasn't been done. The risk in providing a free download link here is that very few people bother going to the Catalyst or DriveThruRPG stores to purchase the product. Provide a tip jar here and allow free download and why would people bother going to the Catalyst or DriveThruRPG stores? If the Eclipse Phase as a CC RPG experiment fails, then your chances of seeing future RPGs licensed in this way are greatly diminished. The Eclipse Phase authors are being justifiably cautious in attempting to demonstrate that traditional digital distribution methods are still remunerative when an RPG is published under a CC license. Perhaps, once success has been established, they will get more radical with their exploration of the CC RPG business model.
Malckuss Malckuss's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
I have to say I agree with the OP. My buddy found the EP book at our FLGS, but decided $50 was too hefty to buy w/out checking it out first. I'm an unapologetic pirate; I'll download something to check it out, and if I like it, I buy it. If I don't like it, I delete it and forget about it. Not only is my buddy picking up a copy when he gets paid, I'm buying one as well, and a third member of our gaming group is, too. EP is going to be our next campaign, and I dare say, the mainstay of our sci-fi gaming. Brag all about that CC license, and milk itr for all it's worth. I'm going to crow about it at our local sci-fi & gaming convention in January.
standard_gravity standard_gravity's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
Tricky subject. On the one hand, I admire the CC license approach. On the other, it makes little practical difference if an official free version is not available for direct download. In any case, it is a step in the right direction - perhaps a small one but an important one nonetheless. Personally, I hope that everyone supports the game and buys either the pdf or the hard copy, so that the game will thrive. $50 really is a trivial sum given the hours of fun I will have with EP.
[img]http://boxall.no-ip.org/img/ext_userbar.jpg[/img] "People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes." - John Dee
Sir_Psycho Sir_Psycho's picture
Re: Promoting EP: official free PDF download?
I really like the idea. So far, I had the pdf linked by a Dumpshock poster promoting the game, and haven't paid for it yet. I'm still getting into the setting and getting a conceptual handle on the rules. From my time with Shadowrun, my obsession combined with the difficulty of finding reliable groups that I mesh with means that in the years of being a part of Shadowrun, I've spent 99% of my time reading it, discussing it, thinking about it, collecting inspirational material and art, drawing up my own characters and houserules, and so much less actually playing it. Even less if you count fruitful and/or stimulating games. The creative commons license means that I can get a handle on the game without putting down money on something I can't be sure will actually pay off in game time. As a result, I've quickly grown an obsession, and I'm talking about it with anyone who I think will listen. That includes non-gamers. Just last night I spent hours chatting to a girl who sounded really interested, despite her unfamiliarity with gaming ("So... wait, one of you is a person, and the other person is... the rest of the universe?"), but got into it through her interest in science fiction and her study of physics. She even expressed interest in trying it out. I showed her the picture of the venusian aerostat, explaining that the oxygen filled dome not only provides support for a biosphere, but is lighter than venus' high pressure atmosphere and keeps the station afloat. She thought that was very elegant and cool. She even raised some really intuitive points about ego hunting, on the ethics of incarcerating some-one who has removed their motivation and memory for/of crimes committed through psychosurgery. How can you hunt a criminal if they're not that person anymore? It's a perfect example of the copyleft movement working for the dev. If I actually run a game with this girl, then there's no doubt I will at the very least drop the fifteen bucks to catalyst. I might even go shell out for the hard copy, because the slick presentation and consistently impressive and inspiring artwork in EP would be great for showing to potential players. To rob and cgl, I love the direction you're taking eclipse phase, both in terms of content and distribution, and I hope that it's successful and the community can do whatever we can to get it there.