Adamant’s New “App-Pricing” Model

WIth the dawn of a new year, Adamant Entertainment has begun an experiment.

We helped to create the electronic-publishing market for the tabletop games industry over the past decade, and in recent years, we’ve seen the digital delivery of entertainment products grow in popularity. The mainstream growth of this method of delivery has given rise to the “App” — a convenient, packaged product, available at an impulse-purchase price. This is a model which we’ve made a big part of our business — our short-form PDFs were designed around this method.

As the decade has progressed, we’ve amassed data, and formed opinions based on the observation of that data. The two biggest take-aways for us have been: One, our “app-priced” products have consistently sold better than our more traditionally-priced work; and Two: that the best way to offer digital product is through cost and convenience.

A lot of media producers talk a lot about “piracy” — how to stop it, how to get around it, how to design their businesses to deal with it. This is folly. People want to support the things that they enjoy, and overwhelmingly prefer safe, legitimate sources to do so — as long as you make in convenient and make it reasonably priced. That’s all there is — there’s no stopping unauthorized file sharing, and it’s ridiculous to tailor your business to try and address it. Companies should instead spend their effort figuring out ways to make it easier for customers to purchase… which is what we feel our new experiment allows.

Adamant is dropping the price of all of our tabletop games PDF products to $1.99, across the board.

This is not a “clearance sale”, or only on older product — everything we have in PDF, including the new releases coming this week — $1.99, regardless of length. We think that the market has grown to the point where “app-pricing” (for lack of a better phrase) can generate sustainable business. We think that gamers will respond to a model based on ease-of-purchase and no-impact pricing. Most of all, we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

Call it an experiment. Call it putting theory into practice. Call it a leap of faith.

Care to leap with us?





Adamant Entertainment’s PDF Products are available at as well as at

For more information, interview requests, etc., contact Gareth-Michael Skarka at Adamant Entertainment.



  1. greywulf says:


    I wish you the very, very best of luck with this, and will happily back you up by throwing as many dollars your way as possible 🙂

  2. GMSkarka says:

    Thank you very much!

  3. […] they’ve upped the ante even further by announcing it’s not a sale, but a major shift in pricing policy. In their own words: A lot of media producers talk a lot about “piracy” — how to stop it, how […]

  4. greywulf says:

    Blogged about it too –

    Hopefully if enough people spread the word, your experiment will become permanent and other companies will follow suit. Fingers crossed, eh?

  5. GMSkarka says:

    It’s the “spreading the word” that will be key, I think. So far, a lot of re-tweeting, which is great — but I’m waiting for it to hit the big discussion fora.

  6. […] Adamant’s New “App-Pricing” Model As the decade has progressed, we’ve amassed data, and formed opinions based on the observation of that data. The two biggest take-aways for us have been: One, our “app-priced” products have consistently sold better than our more traditionally-priced work; and Two: that the best way to offer digital product is through cost and convenience. […]

  7. Alan De Smet says:

    $1? That’s crazy! I’m one of the people constantly bitching that ebooks, including gaming PDFs, are too expensive, but that’s just nuts! I suspect you a slight price bump would be good. $2 for the larger form products would still be “app pricing” and I’m guessing would make you more money even after a slight loss in total sales.

    The $1 sale over the holidays did sell me on three PDFs of yours (Icons, Mars, and the Random Fantasy Adventure Generator) that I’d been eying. My gut feeling is that $2 is a very good deal for Icons and Mars, while $1 is about right for RFAG. I would have happily bought Icons for $2, maybe going as high as $3 or $4. Mars, on the other hand, while probably a good deal at $2, I was uncertain about. But I figured that for a buck, how could I lose? So at $1 each, you made $3 (before expenses), but there are 3 products you are unlikely to resell me. At $2 for Icons and Mars, you would have not sold me Mars, still making $3, but still having the potential to sell me Mars in the future.

    Relatedly, while I knew about Icons, I didn’t know about RFAG and Mars. I discovered them because they were on sale. When you’re charging $1, does “on sale” mean anything? If you had been charging $2 for the larger PDFs, you have room for sales.

    I wish you the best with the experiment!

  8. […] in the digital field, that I feel that it’s time to put theory into practice. You can read the announcement at Adamant’s website, but the upshot is that I’m moving the company to a flat pricing model — what I’m […]

  9. shaneknysh says:

    This looks like a great idea and I will definitely be supporting you with as many purchases as I can afford and at a dollar a pop this should be quite a few. I will also be tweeting and blogging and talking about this move as much as I can.

    I can’t wait to hear how this new model impacts your sales number later this year.

  10. Thank you for being sensible about digital publishing. It’s refreshing to see a gaming company take a realistic view about piracy and the ways to thrive in spite of it. Kudos to you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go pick up ICONS.

  11. Wow! This is a fascinating development and I wish you well. It will definitely make me more likely to pick up new Adamant releases, although I should add that I’ve already purchased most of the Adamant titles that currently interest me. I’ll be watching with fascination throughout 2011!

  12. Lou Prosperi says:

    Hi Gareth,
    Best of luck with this! I think a single price model is probably the best approach to digital content (it’s worked for the most part for Apple with iTunes and Amazon with Kindle books). Time will tell if $1 is the right price. Maybe it should be $2, $3, or even $5 or $10, but you have to start somewhere, and I applaud you for taking a stand.

    Eventually we may get to a point where you can vary pricing based on the amount (or type) of content, but not yet. The RPG industry has spent too many years conditioning it’s audience that price is driven by the physical attributes of a product, not its contents, and it will take time for that conditioning to be broken.

    I’ll be curious to see what happens to your sales and profitability as a result of this.

    Take Care,

    Lou Prosperi

  13. […] Entertainment announced a new “app-pricing” model today, and it’s been greeted with much excitement by gamers in the Twitterverse, at least. […]

  14. Nevyn says:

    “App-pricing”? I think the term you are looking for is “mirco-payments”…

  15. GMSkarka says:

    No, because that term references only the amount. The amount of our pricing isn’t as important to my thought here as the flat pricing — the packaging of every price, across the board, at the same level.

  16. […] disclaimer: I wrote most of this post before Adamant Entertainment announced they were re-pricing all of their PDFs at $1, or what Gareth dubbed the “app-pricing” […]

  17. Scott says:

    When I first saw this, it seemed like a brilliant idea. I raced to see what I could pick up for a buck. But once I got there, it felt all wrong. Paying the same amount for a core rule book and a supplement like an advanced class felt absurd. I found myself thinking that, sure, I’d buy up those supplements if they were 50 cents and not a dollar…and then I caught myself.

    I think that the flat price actually devalues the smaller products and the core products both. I find myself less likely to buy the smaller supplements because it feels like I need to pay several times what I spent on the game itself in order to get the same value of content as the core game.

    I like a more app-scale model for electronic only releases, but I think a different price for core books would be more successful, and ultimately more satisfying for me as a consumer. Maybe 5 dollars for a core book, and then one for a supplement? That feels more like I am getting my money’s worth.

  18. GMSkarka says:

    We’ve moved everything to $1.99 — we hadn’t taken into account that our vendor was losing money on single-item $1.00 purchases via Paypal.

  19. shaneknysh says:

    ahhh! 100% price jump! 🙂 – but $1.99 is still a fantastic price.

    I am curious if this will generate more content that is shorter or serial in nature. For example the “War of the Dead” product, currently in Chapter two. Each Chapter has 20 weekly instalments. Do you see Adamant going in that direction with more smaller releases?

  20. GMSkarka says:

    We’ve done smaller releases fairly constantly for years now — our ICONS adventures are on average 15-20 pages or so, for example. I don’t see that changing.

  21. MC says:

    Arrggh, I had my cart full of goodies and the price just doubled, so I took half of it out. Hopefully they’re still making some money.

  22. […] a lesson from the success of the smartphone market, Adamant Entertainment has instituted what it’s calling “app pricing,” $1.99 on all its ebook products. […]

  23. Curt says:

    I am looking forward to purchasing a lot of your pdfs. Thanks.

  24. Matt Neagley says:

    This announcement immediately made me think “I gotta go see what they have!”

  25. […] Tales is trying a new price point for their .pdfs The following was posted on their site: —————————– WIth the dawn of a new […]

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January 2011