There’s been a lot of uproar about Patreon’s recently announced changes to their fee structure, due to kick in in a week’s time and be applied to the December billing cycle (paid in January). While Patreon has framed these changes as benefiting creators, a lot of creators feel as though their patrons are being penalised for supporting them, whilst many patrons who pledge less than $5 per creation / month are nervously re-evaluating whom they can afford to pledge to.
In the midst of all the noise, it’s taken some time to work out just what’s going on, why it will work for some people, how it will hurt and what’s just plain aggravating. Read on for my take on the matter, and what it will mean for patrons and creators going forward.
While I don’t have any set plans for new episodes, some folks have been in touch lately with the aim of getting me to record a chat with some pretty awesome people – so before any new episodes come out, I just want to make sure you folks are aware of some recent changes to Patreon‘s donation structure.
The gist of Patreon’s statements regarding the changes are that they’re aimed at ensuring creators get more of the donations from patrons. I can understand this somewhat as it took me a frustrating while to realise that the income I got out of Patreon wasn’t steady, even when my patronage was. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right places, but I feel they could have done a better job of communicating the monthly fluctuations in processing fees to creators in the first place.
The main problem with Patreon’s chosen solution to this, and the source of the upset I’ve been reading about from both patrons and creators, is that they’re now asking patrons to shoulder the burden by charging them processing fees for each backing – so while creators now get 95 cents in the dollar, patrons have to pay an additional flat fee plus percentage per creator that they back. One oft touted example is that if you back 10 creators for $1 each – and you’ll often find that the $1.00 per month/creation is the largest proportion of a Patreon creator’s support – you would now have to pay $13.79.
I wanted to make sure you’re aware of this before I go putting any new episodes up so that existing patrons can review and adjust their pledges and potential new patrons can assess whether they want to chip in under Patreon’s model. If you want to find out more, start with this article on Patreon’s blog.
Tabletop Gaming Company Founder and Publisher Chris Birch loves the tabletop gaming scene, from roleplaing games to wargames and boardgames; he grew up on Dungeons & Dragons, Steve Jackson’s Ogre and 15mm historical wargames. He loves it so much that he long harboured a dream of making and publishing games.
Five years ago, Chris followed his dream to create and run a game company and founded founded Modiphius. The company used Kickstarter to enable their first project, Achtung! Cthulhu; since then Modiphius has become full-time employment for Chris and around twenty employees. Modiphius has created new games and secure the licenses for some of the biggest franchises around, including Infinity, Fallout, Conan and Star Trek.
Join Chris and I for a great chat about headphone-stealing squirrels, what a major convention does to your work schedule, preparing for the tabletop gaming business through the music and fashion industries and making sure you choose projects based on whether you genuinely love them!
Tabletop roleplaying and digital game designer Jared A. Sorensen has been a mainstay of the indie scene since the turn of the millennium. He’s probably best know for his roleplaying game InSpectres, about busting ghosts while balancing the budget, but he’s worked across projects across the gaming spectrum.
Jared is one of my classic guests. I first spoke with him for Episode 8, all the way back in 2012, and I’m glad to have him back on to talk about his latest project, a hardcover compilation of his Parsely series of party games inspired by the text-based computer adventures of the seventies and eighties. As of this posting, the Kickstarter for the Parsely book has finished with over 300% of the requested target!
Join us for a chat about nightclubbing spiders, the great screenwriter in the sky, running a game at a planetarium, adjectives and expletives in Australia and the United States and being a travelling mad scientist!
Game designer, writer, executive and philanthropist Ian Livingstone is one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry. He co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop in 1975 with Steve Jackson, creating hobby magazine White Dwarf and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which soon after spawned the juggernaut tabletop miniatures games Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40,000.
Ian also co-authored The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first interactive book in the Fighting Fantasy series, with Steve Jackson in 1982. Since, the series has sold 20 million copies worldwide. Ian has written 15 titles in the series, including Deathtrap Dungeon and City of Thieves. His new book, The Port of Peril, will be published by Scholastic in August 2017.
In 1995 Ian oversaw a merger that created Eidos plc where he served as Executive Chairman until 2002, and later as Creative Director. At Eidos he launched global video games franchises including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Ian co-authored the influential Livingstone-Hope Next Gen review published by NESTA in 2011, recommending changes in ICT education policy. He chaired the Next Gen Skills campaign, working with government to introduce the new Computing curriculum in schools in 2014. He is opening Livingstone Academies in 2019 in association with Aspirations Academies Trust, with a curriculum focused on problem-solving and digital creativity.
Join us for a chat about saying “no” to partnering with the makers of Dungeons & Dragons, retaining control of your intellectual property, the Twittersphere posing a question Ian has never been asked before and Ian throwing a game mastering gauntlet down at the feet of your humble host!
3D character artist Delaney King has worked on a swathe of triple-A video game titles, including Unreal Tournament 2004. She was instrumental in developing the Australian video game design scene by starting professional courses based on her education during trips to the United States.
Delaney has also started the brands, King’s Minis and Darkling Games, and is preparing Skulldred, a set of tabletop miniatures gaming rules designed specifically to allow those who have impairments with numerical literacy to enjoy the full competitive experience of miniatures wargaming, for release.
If those weren’t enough, Delaney, identifying as queer herself, is a tireless advocate for the LGBTIQ community within the video game industry.
Join us for a great chat about the good old days of miniatures gaming, the struggles of unionising in a digital industry, the three main qualities people look for when hiring game designers, the relative densities of hobbits and lava, how hard it can be to ask for help and how you really, really, really need to back your stuff up!
Narrative designer for computer and video games Evgeni Puzankov works as a freelancer in the video game industry from his home base in St. Petersburg in Russia.
After working as an employee doing scripting and production for video games and becoming a lead narrative designer on Suricate Games’ title Panoptes, Evgeni went full-time as a freelancer in October 2016.
Since, he’s crafted narratives for the Steam Greenlight game The Long Reach and a few more games yet to be announced.
Miniature model maker Fon Davis has worked on over thirty feature films across a two decade career. He’s an alumnus of the Industrial Light and Magic Model Shop and Disney, having produced concept art and made models for Starship Troopers, Galaxy Quest, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. Recently, he’s worked on Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy and Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.
Fon founded his own design and fabrication studio, Fonco Creative, in 1997 in San Francisco, and after setting up shop in the premises of Vanaheim Studios in Los Angeles, he bought the whole 16,000 square foot facility out at the end of first quarter 2017, renaming it Fonco Studios.
Join us for a fantastic chat about the importance of a portfolio in the special effects industry (and why Fon didn’t wind up needing one when he interviewed at ILM), the possibilities of virtual reality in entertainment, how special effects folks insert themselves into the movies they work on and the questions from the show’s Patreon backers!
Voice actor, narrator and RPG actual play podcast Host David O. Steele is one of the crew of the podcast, A Quest for Magic and Steele. In each episode, David and five others create a tale of sword and sorcery, elves and dwarves, using the fifth edition of the Dungeons and Dragons RPG rules. They get paid to play via a Patreon page created in December 2016.
I’ve been catching up on A Quest For Magic And Steele for the past few months and it’s always fun listening to David portray his character, Gnu Gnu, a gnome bard with a mouth quite big enough to fit both his feet in, which he does regularly and gleeflully.
Join us for a chat about approaching Patreon as a podcaster, David’s next projects, the joy of discovering roleplaying games through your children and repurposing content for Patreon!