After hearing from the community, in regards to our decision to remove avatars due to costs (See original post here: https://apparyllis.com/simply-plural-avatar-functionality/), we have decided to reverse our decision.
That means that avatars will continue to be available to upload in the app and the functionality won't be removed.
To cover the costs for this we will be adding, in the future, a cosmetic-only subscription plan to the app. This cosmetic-only subscription plan will include cosmetic, non-feature, improvements for your profile and app. Any functionality the app currently has will not be limited or otherwise made unavailable. Our mission for the app is still that everyone can enjoy the app for free, without limitations.
This means there will be no limit to how many members you can have, no limit to the chat functionality, no limit to any feature. Nothing of that will change from how it is now.
As for what kind of cosmetic features will be available will be decided in the future, however three cosmetic features that will be part of it are;
- A custom gradient on parts of the app
- A badge to show you are supporting the app
- The ability to select a frame shape around your avatars
We will, undoubtedly, add more before we introduce subscriptions, but details for that are to come.
Below are a few answers to questions you may have.
Why the change in decision?
Some of you may know that our mission with the app was to keep it free forever, without limitation, however that mission was only feasible when our app was still small and the amount of users for it was much smaller.
With over 250.000 registered users, keeping the app free is starting to become difficult with the functionality of free avatars. So our decision was made to remove uploading of avatars altogether in an effort to keep the app free for everyone.
But listening to feedback from the community we saw overwhelmingly that users would love to keep the avatar functionality and the only way for us to do this is to add a way for us to cover the costs of the avatars.
While we have Patreon and TPA supporting us, the revenue from that would not be sufficient to support avatars in the long term. Patreon also does not allow us to easily give in-app-benefits, so advertising Patreon more to get sufficient revenue would not be an option.
Advertisements is not something we would ever consider adding to the app due to their invasion in privacy, and Apparyllis is privacy-first.
So the only option left for us is to introduce a cosmetic-only subscription model to the app to have a steady revenue stream to support the uploading and storing of avatars, alongside our other costs.
But our mission for the app to stay free forever, without limitation, is still something we would like to keep. Therefore the subscription will only provide you with cosmetic changes such as the ones listed above, no non-cosmetic features will be locked behind a pay wall.
How will you support avatars until the subscription model is released?
Currently avatars are putting a big strain on our servers due to the way they are implemented. Continuing to offer the avatars this way will inevitably cause too much strain causing overall server unavailability.
To prevent this from happening, before the subscription model is released, we will be moving our avatars to a more expensive, and more performant, solution which will be covered by a short term investment from us, Apparyllis.
Our goal is to release the subscription model before the costs of the new solution exceeds what we can afford with our current revenue.
Will avatars be available for people without a subscription?
Yes, we fully intend to keep avatars available, even to those who do not pay for the subscription. As long as the revenue we receive from the subscriptions covers the costs of avatars, uploading will remain available for people without a subscription.
What will the cost of the subscription be?
We currently don't have an answer for that. Our goal is to keep everything affordable and once we know more about pricing we will make the appropriate announcements.
How long will it take before the subscription model is released?
We currently also don't have a clear answer for that. We have a lot of developing to do before we can release a subscription model, and it will depend on a lot of factors. Once we know a release date we will make an announcement.
Will the subscription be shared across platforms?
Yes, your subscription will be available across all platforms. You will not need to subscribe per platform.