Making free games and profiting on it?

Andreas Nilsson an at
Mon Aug 14 08:18:27 UTC 2017

Hello FSFE!

I just joined the FSFE after having almost completely moved to using 
100% free software, my laptop is running Parabola GNU/Linux-libre 
(probaby with a non-free BIOS) and my mobile phone is a Galaxy S3 
running Replicant with F-Droid apps.

Coming from a background in computer games, I was thinking really much 
about how to create free games and make money on it - to make it into a 
profession. First I thought about if the game is free software then it 
will no longer be a "commodity" in the same sense as todays games where 
you basically buy a license to be permitted to install the executables 
and artwork on your computer.

So what can be sold then, if the free software game isn't sellable in 
the same sense? My thought was that there would need to be other 
commodities and services around that software to sell, so my ideas began 
swirling around stuff like: A news magazine that covers interesting and 
fun parts of the game, given out my paper and/or email. Courses and 
support for developing for the game engine or making mods if you want 
something quicker to get into. An art marketplace where you can buy and 
sell artwork (textures, sound files, music, special effects, maps, etc).
I asked my cousin about this stuff since he's an economist, is it really 
doable? He thought there would need to be more to get out of it but it 
was interesting, the main question though was: Who is gonna want to have 
this kind of service? Programming, making artwork, reading a magazine?

Could this be something to start working on a new kind of "Steam" for 
free software games? One that does not simply sell an executable and not 
tell you anything, but the opposite it will give you the source code and 
then sell you education for developing for it and offer tools to 
buy/sell your very own art?

Please give your thoughts and if something like this has already been 
proposed before. I look forward to it.

Andreas Nilsson

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