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Default Frayed Knights - Interview @ TPG

October 8th, 2011, 22:51
Jay Barnson has been interviewed at TruePCGaming about Frayed Knights and some "indie" issues. Most of our readers will probably be across the answers about the game although TPG places a heavy emphasis on various digital distribution issues:
Tell us about the process of submitting Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon to the various digital distribution platforms and if you encountered resistance in doing so.
There’s really no unified process. There are a lot of distribution platforms out there – it’s getting a lot like it was in the days of the casual game portals last decade. A lot of them are going to die out, but right now it’s another gold rush as they as new ones pop up almost weekly, with a slightly different approach, different features, and a different niche.
The big ones – and we all know who those are – they are pretty selective with their games, and reject more games than they accept. There’s a common misconception among gamers, who assume these are open platforms and that anybody can just “sell their game on X.” It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just sell my game on X any more than I can just walk into Wal*Mart with a stack of CD-ROMs under my arm and set up shop there.
While I think these distribution channels are great, I do worry about indies trusting their business to a third-party who has no vested interest in them personally. This is exactly what happened to casual games just a few years ago, and while it was a wonderful gold rush at first, a lot of developers found themselves at the mercy of the portals and their businesses collapsing. Indies in general don’t do what they do for dreams of huge fortunes, but they still have to eat like everybody else.
More information.
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October 8th, 2011, 22:51
Nice read. Makes me wonder… what if GoG set up a sister site devoted to the online distribution of indies and only indies. There would be a symbiosis between the two considering the market overlap.

In contrast, the average Steam visitor, for example, has little interest in non-AAA titles.
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October 8th, 2011, 23:26
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Nice read. Makes me wonder… what if GoG set up a sister site devoted to the online distribution of indies and only indies. There would be a symbiosis between the two considering the market overlap.

In contrast, the average Steam visitor, for example, has little interest in non-AAA titles.
I don't know. The indies that do get a spot on Steam seem to do quite well there, as Dungeons of Dredmor and Avadon recently demonstrated. Especially if they get a bit of frontpage promotion or put on sale.
Nevertheless I agree with you, GOG would be a good platform for indies as well - GIG!

P.S.: I enjoyed the interview!
Last edited by GhanBuriGhan; October 8th, 2011 at 23:44.
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October 9th, 2011, 02:59
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
Nice read. Makes me wonder… what if GoG set up a sister site devoted to the online distribution of indies and only indies. There would be a symbiosis between the two considering the market overlap.
That's pretty much what Desura is, minus being owned by CDProjekt. No one uses it though.

In contrast, the average Steam visitor, for example, has little interest in non-AAA titles.
Ghan is right, indie games do sell on Steam and sell quite well. There's multiple blogs of indie developers to back this up and speaking personally, I buy a ton of indie games on there and everyone I know who uses Steam does too. They are inexpensive, usually go on sale and convenient to access on Steam.

The problem is not selling an indie game on Steam it's getting it on there in the first place.

I read some comments by Jay about sending off several emails and not hearing back but I have to wonder if there's a better way to get Steam's attention than an email sitting in someone's box along with god knows how many others. I don't know what that way is though. Contacts? Getting noticed through reviews? Getting in a Humble Bundle?
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October 9th, 2011, 07:01
Getting mentioned by Penny Arcade…
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October 9th, 2011, 08:48
Winning the IGF, selling a whole bunch of copies WITHOUT Steam (hint, hint…), getting a lot of press elsewhere. Basically, the guys handling new submissions are pretty swamped.

And there are a number of indie games that I don't want to mention (in some cases I know stuff I've been asked not to share publicly) that do get on Steam, get on the front page, release weekend, the initial 10% off sale off of an already low price and… they get nuthin'. Nothing might mean a total of a couple hundred sales, but when you are discounted down to making only $7 per sale (or less), you've pretty much blown your big chance.

And I don't know this for sure (I don't know if Steven Peeler knows, either), but I suspect that the big reason Din's Curse is not on Steam right now is because Depths of Peril wasn't a big performer on Steam many years ago.

Anyway - bottom line is that getting on Steam is definitely a Big Deal for any indie. But my personal feeling is that you can't build your business around something you don't have any control over. You plan for it not happening, and if it does, it's a bonus.
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October 9th, 2011, 16:17
Great Indie Games (GIG), mmm sounds good
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October 9th, 2011, 17:10
GIG , i drink to that !
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October 9th, 2011, 18:37
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Anyway - bottom line is that getting on Steam is definitely a Big Deal for any indie. But my personal feeling is that you can't build your business around something you don't have any control over. You plan for it not happening, and if it does, it's a bonus.
I thought the digital sales of your webpage worked just fine. Only reservations I had was using the provider bmtmicro who I felt asked for too many personal details.
Last edited by hishadow; October 9th, 2011 at 19:04.
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October 9th, 2011, 18:52
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Anyway - bottom line is that getting on Steam is definitely a Big Deal for any indie. But my personal feeling is that you can't build your business around something you don't have any control over. You plan for it not happening, and if it does, it's a bonus.
Oh definitely. I just can't help wishing there were some better system though or more transparency.

As a consumer I can look at game X on Steam and think 'Wow that's a pile of crap' and game Y not on Steam and think 'That game is pretty awesome' and wonder why the situation is not reversed. Of course I don't work for Steam so what I think doesn't amount to a hill of beans. I'm sure they have criteria, I just have no flippin' clue what it is.

I do notice that while there is a fair bit of old school top down RPG-ish stuff on Steam, there is a distinct lack of old school first person dungeon crawlers. The only one I can come up with is Shining in the Darkness and it's impossible to say how well that sold since the vast majority of people will buy it as part of a pack of Genesis games.

Maybe Steam doesn't think old style first person dungeon crawlers are a viable sub-genre these days. It's not like anyone else does, present company excepted. Or maybe there's just so few of them that they haven't even given it consideration. *shrug*

In any case, you're absolutely right. The only thing you can do is just sell your game through whatever channels you have currently available. If it gets noticed elsewhere, great, if not oh well.
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October 10th, 2011, 16:26
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
And I don't know this for sure (I don't know if Steven Peeler knows, either), but I suspect that the big reason Din's Curse is not on Steam right now is because Depths of Peril wasn't a big performer on Steam many years ago.
I don't know what kind of numbers Valve likes to see but if we got DC on Steam and it sold the same number of copies as DoP did, I would be very happy. Of course I think DC would outsell DoP on Steam.

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lead designer/programmer of Depths of Peril
http://www.soldak.com/
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October 10th, 2011, 17:06
Of course I think DC would outsell DoP on Steam.
I think so too. Though I'd still personally love to see a DoP 2! I'm glad they did well by you, though.

Have you resubmitted Din's Curse to Steam? Maybe now with the expansion? I guess that's a big source of confusion on my end - I'd heard you'd submitted it originally, and I don't understand why a game of that quality wasn't accepted by Valve. I think Din's Curse is a fantastic example of what indie RPGs can be.
Last edited by RampantCoyote; October 10th, 2011 at 18:04.
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October 11th, 2011, 14:27
Originally Posted by RampantCoyote View Post
Have you resubmitted Din's Curse to Steam? Maybe now with the expansion?
Yeah, I submitted DC to Steam before and after the expansion. No luck either time. I hope you have better luck with Frayed Knights.

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October 11th, 2011, 15:30
Originally Posted by Steven Peeler View Post
Yeah, I submitted DC to Steam before and after the expansion. No luck either time. I hope you have better luck with Frayed Knights.
Really strange. It's got good reviews, its got unique features, Gfx are rather on the higher end of the indie scale… strange.
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