Why don't you try offering a subscription model for a game? Ie pay an initial cost ($40), then subscribe $5/mon in exchange for regular new development and polishing etc.
That way you can scale up or down team size based on game popularity. For example if galciv has 20000 paying subscribers, at $5 per month, then you would have maybe 50k per month to spend on salaries to build galciv. This could then be scaled up or down as required.
Recurring revenue is amazing from a financial perspective as well
OH MY GOD NO! Please, NO NO NO subscriptions! Subscriptions are a lazy lazy marketing tool. And you will lose me for sure! I won't buy Adobe anything. I won't buy any MMORPGBS. The monthly fee is a deal killer for me. Even though I can afford it!
"Recurring Revenue" is why newspapers around the world are failing.
"Recurring Revenue" is why magazines are failing.
"Recurring Revenue" is why every company that relies on this is at grave risk in the next economic downturn, whenever it happens. Yep, Software as a Service, Photoshop? Office 364-and-a-half? you're next!
- I fired my chiropractor because I was getting dinged for $120 per month. I left because of the money, then I discovered that he wasn't helping much anyway.
- I fired my SatTV provider because they were charging me $150 per month. I left because of the money, then I realized that all along they were charging me money to watch advertisements for reality programming and making up for it by showing me fake news. Yes, that is a thing.
- I fired my land-line phone provider because they were charging me $70 per month and charging me AGAIN for calling my mother and father.
- I stopped paying my health club dues because they were charging me $40 per month, then later I realized it was a dreadful place to go to anyway. It was filthy and had broke-down equipment.
- I'm now re-evaluating my Verizon service, as well as my automobile and homeowner insurance policies. EVERYTHING that smells like a subscription gets an annual anal exam in my home!
My point is: Subscriptions suck! They suck money out of your monthly budget, and they're evil because they hide their true impact from you. Every time I bail out of one, it's the money that causes me to get out; a constant attempt to keep my personal budget in line. And every time I cancel a subscription, I realize that there were plenty of OTHER great reasons for canceling the relationship and that I should have done it long before I did.
I'll NEVER join a subscription for a game; not even a game I like such as GalCiv. Never. Write that down. No, really; write that down!
I'll also NEVER buy a "bundle" of services. The true cost is never really communicated, but it's there and once they lock you in, then they keep raising the price until you either cry "Uncle!" or do the equivalent of a rage quit.
By the way, I'll also never preorder or buy a game that forces me to play online with other people as its only option. That's a whole 'nother conversation, but you can look it up under Sim City 2013 (filed under "EA Games: Rotting Stench of Failure and Death" in Wikipedia).