While Aurora’s Nightmare still has a ways to go before release (I’m hoping for mid to late 2015), I have put some thought into how much it’s going to cost. Of course, pricing a downloadable video game is tricky. You have to take into account how much the game cost to make, of course, but you also need to price it at a level that players will be ok with. And to do that, you need to think about the platform (it’s tough to get anyone to spend more than a few dollars on a mobile app, but they’re open to a larger price range on PC and console), the game’s length and genre (you can probably charge more for, say, a RPG than an endless runner), and what your competition is charging.

Visual novels are an interesting case because relatively few have been released in the US and they cover a very wide price range. Right now, the average price for a downloadable visual novel in the US ranges from $10 – $50. That’s cheaper than in Japan, but Japan has physical copies, often with really nice packaging and bonus content. But anyway, there’s still a big difference between $10 and $50, and they have different pricing concerns than Aurora’s Nightmare because those games have already become profitable in Japan, so they don’t need to recoup development costs (just translation) but they do have royalties to pay.

So, if I was selling Aurora’s Nightmare as a retail release in Japan, I’d probably be charging about $50 – $60. But this isn’t Japan and it’s going to be downloadable. Since visual novels aren’t an especially well known genre here, and neither I or my studio (Pen and Sword Games) are especially famous, I need a price that will let me hopefully recoup the development costs in a reasonable amount of time, but is low enough to not be a turn-off for curious potential buyers. While I haven’t made a final decision yet (that can wait till closer to launch), I’m currently learning towards somewhere in the $10 – $15 range. Pretty good for what will probably be the equivalent of three full length novels, not to mention all the art and music…