Devlog #6: I changed my mind – I will also be publishing on Steam

I like to think of this Devlog as my thinking-out-loud space on the web. As I am developing my game all on my own, one sometimes just has to start speaking to oneself and going through different scenarios.

Also, it helps to get meaningful feedback, as I did for my last devlog, in which I presumptuously claimed I won’t be releasing my game on Steam. In this devlog I won’t be going into the details of that decision (you can read them in the post), rather, I am going to explain why I changed my mind and how this will affect the release.

So, presuming you read the last devlog, you are aware I made the decision not to release on Steam and stick to itch.io, Gamejolt and Google Play.

Following this post, I received an email from a close friend who basically told me I was being totally crazy, for one specific reason:

If my prime motivation was to find players and get people to be aware of my game, Steam is the place to be, meaning that the exposure I would be getting via Steam would eclipse the reach on any other platforms, including my own website and social channels.

After reflecting on this, I found his advice to be pretty sound. Sure, exposure doesn’t equal downloads, BUT no to hardly any exposure guarantees the game will hardly be downloaded.

But there was still the little matter of the fee Valve wants you to pay to be able to publish on Steam. I’ll be honest: My work in the ad industry pays me enough to have a good life with my girlfriend and dog, but not nearly enough to be able to play around with hundred bucks left, right and center.  But then again: Here in Europe, it’s roughly 87 Euro instead of 100 Dollars.

So, after toying with this thought, I decided I’ll take the risk and give Steam a try. But due to the fee, I will not be distributing it via Steam for free – the game will come with a price tag.

„But… aren’t you publishing the game for free on itch.io and Google Play? Why should anyone pay for it, then?“

Valid and very good question. I thought about this, too, and here is the solution I’ve come up with:

From the get go, I planned to release American Angst with bonus content, eg. a short-story epilogue. I also am working on two mini games from the American Angst universe. So the plan is to release American Angst on Steam as a „Steam Deluxe Edition“ which will include:

  • American Angst (Main Game)
  • American Angst: Murderbook (Short-Story Epilogue to the Main Game)
  • Arkwright House: An American Angst Minigame
  • Kasey’s War: An American Angst Minigame

So, to be clear, the last three positions will be content only available on Steam – I guess that’s fair with a price tag of $2,99 I’ve decided upon.

Now, I am not expecting my game to be a massive hit on Steam – it’s far too niche for that. If I get hundred downloads on Steam that would be huge, I’d have my initial investment back. But what I am speculating on is that a percentage of players who discover it via Steam who don’t want to pay for it might look into the free version and play my game anyway. And in the end, as it is my first game every, players are what I want. To recap: I agree that Steam is a great way to market a game (I underestimated this factor clearly) and I hope having it on Steam will help promote the game generally and raise awareness for it.

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