This weekend we added a “Support Us” indicator to the top of each page – right now you’ll notice it’s low, but not empty.
Roll20’s start on Kickstarter was fantastic. And we still feel a great sense of appreciation to the 1,580 folks who saw the potential for what Roll20 could become. Since then, we’ve added 55,000 more users… and with those users comes not only an increase for server costs, but an increased customer base that needs service and an increased demand for development.
As it stands, we’re going to be doing some things going forward to make sure we as developers stay focused on the people supporting us– in part because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the only way the community can continue. So many other virtual tabletops have disappeared or fallen into disrepair because they didn’t have a sustainable business model and we want to avoid that if at all possible. Because of Kickstarter, Roll20 is fine in the immediate future, but we want to have an eye on tomorrow, and consider how we’ll cope with our continually growing number of users.
So, again, the bar represents some transparency on our part as to working with the realization that even as a free service, we have costs; and beyond that we still are nowhere near a point where we could work on Roll20 in more than a hobby capacity. With this new visual representation, you have an idea on where things stand, but we’d also like to give you some more idea of what to expect going forward:
Development is going to change speed some. We worked at a relentless pace to get close to the “end of summer” release prediction we made with the Kickstarter. Part of the change will be that the developers themselves will be refocusing towards backers (new and old) and moving much of the day to day interaction with free users to a small, vetted volunteer group. The other part will be focusing on how we release the next elements to the maximum benefit of financial supporters.
The original vision that we laid out during the Kickstarter campaign has been fully realized at this point, and we’re happy to offer it to everyone free of charge. However, we’re currently weighing how expanded items (like dynamic lighting and mobile support) can best be realized sustainably, and that might mean some future features become supporter-only.
Expanded revenue streams. As it stands, the marketplace is geared towards supporting artists (meaning the majority of funds go to creators)– so we’re exploring items like limited amounts of advertising for free users.
The only thing of the above that is set in stone is that we will be focusing our time and attention towards those who are helping to ensure Roll20 can continue to exist in the years to come. Everything else is dependant upon what sort of support the site sees going forward.
To those of you who have already pledged your support of Roll20, either during the Kickstarter campaign or with one of the new subscriptions, thank you! You’re helping us keep Roll20 going strong into the future. And if you’ve been sitting on the fence about getting a subscription, we hope that this clarifies why we’re asking for your continued support, and that you’ll consider joining those who have said “I support Roll20!”