Dungeons of Dredmor - On the Folly of Giving Money Directly to Developers
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July 2nd, 2011, 02:39
Alright, I'll wade into this one. … Hi, I'm David from Gaslamp Games.
To start: Gaslamp Games has three founding partners: myself, Nicholas, and Dan. We have different perspectives and disagree on all kinds of things. The perspective in the linked blog post is from Nicholas (who has his own take on everything) and the perspective I'll give now is my own.
What we agreed on from the outset is that we would like to be on Steam. From a business perspective it's undeniably a good idea.
hits on some very important points which align more closely with my thoughts than what Nicholas said.
1. Self-distribution takes a lot of effort
Steam handles distribution, payment processing, patch distribution, possibly infrastructure for expansion beta testing, and all sorts of nonsense that would take a lot of effort from us.
Remember: We are just a few guys with almost no money to put in to this and we have to work to pay rent (and Nicholas has a masters degree to finish). We did not start Gaslamp with any significant capital. Heck, when Terraria's dev plugged out site on his twitter, our server got thoroughly crashed - and this is running on a server our web guy, Derek, happens to have (which also ran our beta distribution). He's received no compensation for expenses yet — none of us have. He's very patient and we're lucky to have his generosity.
2. Steam is a huge market and huge publicity boost
Steam instantly puts our game in front of millions of gamers. There is nothing that can compare. I can't stress this point enough.
Gaslamp Games as an indie developer launching its first title could never attempt this pricing and game design strategy if we weren't launching on Steam — we'd necessarily have to sell far, far fewer copies at a somewhat higher price and aim toward a niche market that likely would not respond with much enthusiasm. Making a graphical roguelike then selling it to roguelike players who don't care about graphics and get their games for free would be a terrible idea. And the marketing would be a long, hard road from obscurity, besides.
Steam gives us credibility. As people said previously, Steam is a closed and selective service which distributes games that possess a certain level of polish. (To address the Steam-haters: At least that's what it looks like to most people, and that's what is important from a marketing standpoint.)
People know about Steam: if we were just some random web page with a PayPal or BMTmicro account, we'd be facing a much harder sell to customers. If we were on one of the other distributors, whatever their actual qualities are, they are not generally perceived to be at the level that Steam is.
3. We're distributing on other platforms anyway, so hey, whatever!
Those are my thoughts. I don't particularly follow the reasoning Nicholas gave in the linked post, but we've each got our opinion and what is important is that we agree on a strategy forward that involves diversifying the distribution options for people who are interested in buying our game.
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