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I am working on a fairly simple indie game. I wanted to get some live feedback before taking the game all the way to completion. I am able to release a beta version with stripped down graphics, and was thinking of putting this on an online game portal like Kongregate. If the game is popular I will carry on and make a more advanced version to release on the various app stores.

My question is, are there any pitfalls to think about regarding the above? How far along should the final game be before releasing the demo? Here are my thoughts so far:

Pro:

  • Good way to test and get feedback
  • Some revenue if portal features royalties

Con:

  • Possibility for game to get cloned/ripped off
  • Smaller audience for final game if they played the online version
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When you release a game it's natural that some beginner game designers will make a clone of it. It doesn't matter if it's beta or final release. But luckily for you those clones usually aren't as good as original.
I doubt that a big studio would be interested to make a clone of your game, unless they think it'll be super popular.
It's normal to be afraid of a rip off, but it's improbable that someone will make a clone of your beta version before you release the game and if you really want to avoid it just put the demo out later in development, so if there is a clone, it would be a clone of your finished version (which you can't really prevent).

And if your beta has only short gameplay the players are very probable to buy the game after playing beta version, so they could see the rest.
Putting everything in the beta version is not a good idea, unless you charge for the beta version like for the original (which is a popular way of financing games in development).

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx a lot for your answer!! I will leave it open a little longer to see if any others have opinions, but happy to accept this soon :) \$\endgroup\$ – MachineElf Jun 3 '15 at 18:30

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