It’s currently common practice to ask for “donations” which happen to offer you virtual items and benefits. Some servers seem to make a considerable amount of money from it. I have to wonder if that’s even legal, but I’ve heard some people do register a business and pay taxes at least. These things will continue happening with S&box I assume.
With the new level of polish and freedom soon possible(another assumption), it feels safe to say that you could very much make a “game” instead of just a “gamemode”. There’s PolyStrike already. Matchmaking support seems to be a real consideration even, and Garry has talked about not wanting to have a server browser at all but rather something more effective at helping you find actually interesting stuff.
Is there room for any plan to financially(and otherwise) support developers who want to use S&box more as a game engine by itself? Would they get a dividend of profit depending on how many people play it? Could people buy the rights to play some games from a hypothetical S&box store? And could this apply to addons as well?
At least if the game/mode was good enough, it could be officially listed with its own Steam-like hub and a page the devs could customize, and an option to donate from the menu. You could do something similar to TF2 where you buy a monthly quality matchmaking pass and part of the profit is divided between games depending on the matchmaking playtime they have.
There are already popular third party storefronts for GMod content. It’s absolutely a thing, though a lot of that appeal is a matter of direct support from developers. That doesn’t mean these can’t be appeals for S&box either. You make a risk when you buy an early access game from Steam.
Really, I would like to see how this will be handled. Ideally we could rely on the content itself being enjoyable for server costs to be covered. That would lead to so much better content in the long run, but it seems totally impractical if there’s no kind of commerce outside of the ubiquitously shoehorned and often scummy donation schemes we see today.