Blowing off some Steam
What would you say to someone offering you the following:
I’ll put your product on a giant billboard near the highway for free for a day. All I ask in return is that you give me 30% of the money you make from products sold due to this billboard (we have mind reading technology that can link purchases to seeing this billboard so that’s fine). If we make money with your product we might repeat this offer.
Be warned though that it’s possible the day we put your product on the billboard there’s a snowstorm and that very few people actually see it. It’s also possible that most people really have no interest in your product so putting it on a giant billboard might not provide the expected results.
It’d be silly so say no to such offer as the alternative is the status quo so 0% more visibility for your product …
There is this vibe among some devs who try to tell others that having your game on Steam ain’t that big of a deal sometimes and that we shouldn’t get all crazy about having our games there. It’s quite annoying when you fully know that just putting your game on Steam doesn’t mean you’ll get rich the day after.
True. Some devs might think it’s a magical answer to having success. Warnings about reality should be directed toward these people but there’s no point in pushing this warning into a “it won’t change a thing for you” argument. Unless you’re already successful on your own and getting on Steam would actually reduce your net profit because of the middleman it’s still potentially better for your wallet to get on Steam than avoiding it.
I was excited to get Bret Airborne on macgamestore.com. It didn’t do wonders but I did sold some copies there. Copies I probably wouldn’t have sold on my own as I didn’t advertise much the presence of the game on MacGameStore (I tweeted once about it). I’m sure many other games are performing way better on that store than mine but what good would it have been to tell myself “bah, it’s not that big of a deal”. I made unexpected money from it!
So it’s the same for Steam and I really don’t get why some seem to really enjoy toning it down. We don’t all expect to make $100,000+ from our games. Some of us can still make a living from a number of sales that would seem a failure for others. Some of us are still trying to release a game that will sell more than just 1,000 copies so getting on Steam really is exciting to achieve that goal.
If indie game development is a stairway then we’re not all standing on the same step. People higher on that stairway should try to avoid turning around and telling the others “well don’t get your hopes high, it’s not all that great up here” as it serves no purpose. There’s a way to provide facts and information without trying to patronize others that are still trying to figure out where they belong in all this.
In the last 6 months I sold 1 copy of Bret Airborne directly from my website. If it get on Steam one day I guess I’ll probably be able to sell at least 1 more copy there and while it won’t get me to leave my job it’s still progress and it’s still good news to me. It’s still a shot at a giant billboard for free …