Steam not the guarantee it’s made to be for indie developers
With frequent sales and unintrusive digital rights management, Valve’s digital distribution service, Steam, has become the preferred place to get games on PC for many players. It has also built a reputation on being the best place for indie developers to get their games noticed by a large audience.
One developer that has found success on the platform is Dan Marshall of Size Five Games. Size Five’s game, Ben There, Dan That, its follow-up, Time Gentlemen, Please!, were packaged together on the platform and were a favorite during the most recent sale.
According to Marshall, he owes all of his success to Steam. “I wouldn’t be here doing what I do without Steam – they’ve completely revolutionised the indie industry and made digital copies of games a reality,” Marshall said.
Not every developer has found the success that Marshall has, though.
Despite a positive reception on the PlayStation Vita, Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack from Drinkbox Studios sold under the developer’s expectations when it was ported onto Steam.
Co-Founder Chris Harvey cited the game’s style and tone not matching up with the PC platform and Steam users as one of the main reasons for the game underselling.
Indie games are certainly better off on the PC platform than others, as the exodus of developers shows, but though much of the hype would lead you to believe Steam is a magic fix that wil make every quality indie game sell well, Drinkbox is a prime example that the platform is just as unpredictable and risky as any other.