I’ve been thinking lately about the differences between comics and computer games, which are surely as vast as those between a raven and a writing desk. As someone who does both, I feel pretty confident in saying that making a playable computer game is a much larger investment in terms of time, effort, and needed skills than making a comic. Making a game that people actually want to play is even harder.
This fact doesn’t seem to be reflected in the pricing, though. A 24 page comic can sell for as much as a casual game. In fact, Ryan Estrada’s pay what you want Whole Story bundle of e-comics has typically received higher average bids than the Humble Bundle (plug: He has a new one going now, check it out). And while the comic can be sold at the same price forever (through reprints and e-sales), the game has a definite best-before date: at some point in time it will likely stop working on modern hardware.
Do game makers make up for this in volume of sales? I have no idea; none of the indie game devs or cartoonists I know are making tons of cash, though it seems to me that the cartoonists are a bit better off.
This post was inspired by Jeff Vogel’s now infamous essay. Thoughts?