VoxPop is a P2P indie game distribution service built for indie game developers to promote their game and for streamers to monetize their gameplay. This could very well shake-up the indie industry with an ingenious business plan. The Developers profit from the game sales and promotion given to them by the streamers. The Streamers are in-turn paid by a small cut from the developer’s revenue. And even the people downloading and seeding the game gets a small cut off the revenue for keeping the chain alive. VoxPop puts the profit in profit-sharing into your pockets.
Can you briefly describe what VoxPop is for our readers that aren’t familiar with it?
VoxPop is a profit-sharing game distribution model. When people help a sale happen, whether through seeding or recommendations, they get a percentage of that game’s price tag as credits (which can then be cashed out). This percentage is set by the developer, and specific percentages can even be assigned to specific users.
How is VoxPop different from already existing services like Itch.io?
Discoverability is a perennial problem on platforms like Itch and Steam. Developers without a pre-existing audience on social media often struggle because they have no money for advertising. The core idea behind VoxPop is that indie devs who don’t have the money up-front can use this revenue-share system to drive word-of-mouth marketing by promising a percentage of the sale to influencers who can help promote it. Meanwhile influencers like YouTubers and Streamers will be able to plug games the way they would a Ko-Fi or Patreon and get the share they deserve.
I noticed that apart from selling games, developers can promote their game and streamers can earn a profit from it. Can you tell me more about that?
As mentioned above, every game has a default revenue share percentage (min 3%, max 85%) which is develop-set. Additionally, in order to win specific infuencers to their side, developers may choose to assign higher percentages to specific people. This gives developers and influencers a lever to negotiate over, but also ensures that micro-influencers, who may not be able to get any special deal, can still engage with the game and still get the share they deserve.
For influencers, they can “recommend” games that they own. From there, they can send out a directory link, similar to a Ko-Fi link, which shows all the games they are recommending. Any games which are purchased through this link automatically give the share percentage to the Streamer first in the form of VoxCoin (store credit) which can be cashed out after reaching a certain threshold. Additionally, users have the option of entering your user ID at purchase time instead of using the link.
P2P file-sharing comes with it’s own nooks and corners. How are you ensuring the security of these files, since there is a potential threat of someone poisoning the data?
Each file is encrypted with our software packer which, in addition to serving as DRM, also gives it a unique hash. One of the features of WebTorrent is comparing these to each other to ensure that the correct file is being pulled.
As I understand, P2P relies on seeds and leeches. What incentives are you providing for users to seed their downloaded data?
Users also get a percentage of the profit for seeding files, although less than the recommenders. The amount is partially dependent on the amount of data handled. This means average users with no online audience can still earn some store credit just from having games installed and being connected to the internet.
Are there any DRM implementations on the platform? Are there any future plans to do so?
As briefly mentioned above, yes. One of the problems with Steam’s DRM where independent developers are concerned is that the Steamworks Wrapper does not work with games that are made with engines that external dependencies – such as Unity, for example. This means devs have to do extra work to integrate their games with the Steam API, including adding achievements or multiplayer or such. VoxPop’s DRM packer can wrap any game, regardless of what tools were used to make it.
Does VoxPop have a video/live-streaming service? Or is it more like a platform for developers to connect with streamers?
VoxPop is not a streaming platform itself (yet).
Where streamers are concerned, we like to think of it as being more akin to Ko-Fi. Many streamers may find that large parts of their audience aren’t willing to donate to fund what they see as free content. However, if those users are able to support them by buying the games the streamer is playing in front of them anyway, more people may be willing to convert.
VoxPop already has it’s exclusive game on-board. Tell us more about it?
VoxPop around a dozen exclusives already! We have two types of exclusives. “VoxPop Exclusives” which can’t be found anywhere else, and “Made for VoxPop” games, which have exclusive content.
However, one upcoming exclusive in particular I’d like to give the spotlight to is Ultimate Reality by LinkUp Games. You play as a masked hero who can travel to different dimensions to get the upper hand in combat. You can also choose different suits that have different perks and different move sets! Travel the realms of reality and discover different areas, such as the Lost City of Atlantis or to a very different take on the 16th century!
VoxPop follows a similar crowdfunding technique like VidAngel. As we know, VidAngel’s strategy has been a proven technique on the internet by producing hit shows like The Chosen. Tell us more about this new Investment-Crowdfunding and what people should expect from it.
To be honest, I’d not heard of VidAngel before today, so I don’t feel qualified to comment on them. However, I’d be more than happy to talk about VoxPop’s plans!
Developers will decide how much of their game to put on sale, with both an investment floor (below which, the round will fail) and an investment ceiling (above which, sales will stop). Users will then put money towards funding the game – the percentage of the game they own is determined by how much they put in relative to everybody else.
The money is released in tranches, with Milestones set by the developers – similar to Kickstarter. Unlike Kickstarter, when a developer requests funding, stakeholders will have to vote towards whether or not they feel the developer has met their milestones. The next tranche is only released only if a simple majority is reached in favor of the developer.
If such a vote fails, stakeholders may initiate a vote of no-confidence. If this vote passes with a 2/3 majority, then the project is declared failed. If the project fails for this or any other reason, such as cancelation by the developer or failing to reach the investment floor, all (remaining) money put into the project is refunded.
If a game is finished, and reaches the store, any investor who put in half or more of the game’s final price tag gets it for free. Sales of the game automatically have a percentage given to people who own shares.
Keep in mind, however, that we are still developing this feature. As it is not finished, key aspects of it may change before it’s reach to hit the market. We are open to feedback!
I am a big nerd of privacy and data collection. As is the case with most companies, I’d like to know what data is being collected and how it’ll be used.
Honestly, outside of the bare minimum needed to process payments in Stripe (Email, Name, Age, etc.) we aren’t really collecting data, let alone using it for anything nefarious.
We care about privacy too and, for the skeptical, this isn’t even just out of the goodness of our hearts: even if we wanted to, VoxPop has neither the personnel nor the technology to facilitate widespread collection and analysis of metadata.
I can’t promise this will never change in the future – we’re trying to survive out here too – but right now we really don’t know anything about you; and that’s just fine with us.
Any closing words?
Times like these stress to us how important it is for little guys to stick together. It’s tough out there for small businesses – and as a company of 5, nobody knows that better than us. The biggest impact of pandemic and instability, across multiple industries, is for large corporations to take an even bigger market share as small competitors die.
And yet, in spite of current events, I’ve seen amazing new things come out of indies. Thanks to the proliferation of development tools, independent development is in a bit of a boom time. I’ve personally never seen a bigger diversity of ideas than we have now. I know that if we can join hands as a community – gamers, streamers, and devs – we can make the world just a bit more fun than before. Of course, I hope VoxPop can be a part of that, but with us or without us, that’s where I’m hoping the Independent community will be in the future.
If you like content like this, check out our review of Lawmage Academy, an indie game where you study and train to become a Lawmage.