You should definitely agitate for it if you think those guides are worth it…I have checked out a few guides on Steam over the years, and they’re mostly pretty low-effort. I don’t imagine anyone would pay more than a few pennies for even the top 10% of them.
That said, I would’ve happily paid D_Simpson or Haeravon a couple of bucks for their amazing Infinity Engine guides on Gamefaqs back in the day…those things were awesome. But very few walkthroughs/guides that I’ve seen for other games live up to those.
I do not care about developers, just give me good games I can get cheap. While I do not think anyone has uttered that exact sentiment, let us spin that the other way. What I hear some people saying in this thread from a developer standpoint is:
You should buy my game from an inferior store because it benefits me.
Frankly, I could give a damn less about publisher-friendly. I want consumer friendly. There are a multitude of features on Steam that I, and many others, find quite useful. I have hundreds of mods loaded from various games from Steam. I rely on things like their wish lists. I am a member of groups that discuss and review games. I can see real-time customer feedback, individually and in aggregate. I can interact directly with developers from time to time.
I purchased 4 games during the Holiday.
Mass Effect Andromeda and only because it was below $5. I would have easily paid double if it were on Steam for simple convenience. I know this because I could have purchased it from Amazon for under $8 two months ago and did not pull the trigger.
Kenshi was purchased directly from the Steam store despite being able to get as much as 12% off of it via other platforms. The ability to return it was important in case I had technical or control issues. But I would have not pulled the trigger if not for some of the reviews, including some that led me to YouTube videos.
Hidden Folks was something I would have never, ever purchased if not for the Overwhelming Positive review score and the nice discount.
Aggressors: Ancient Rome was purchased and almost returned except for direct interaction with the developer through the Steam review system. That interaction convinced me to keep it and actually led to further product sales from interactions here on this site.
So 4 different Steam features led me to buy 3 different Steam games over the Holidays, these features being returns, sales, reviews and forums/chat. The non-Steam game was purchased solely on price point. This is not an unusual circumstance either. Other games like Parkitect or Banished are greatly enhanced by workshop. Stardew Valley multiplayer was made much easier through Steam’s voice chat with my younger daughter. It was so simple to play this with her and chat while I was on the road the week before Christmas. In short, my user experience has been significantly enhanced by Steam features. How many of these features does the Epic store have today? So beyond your game, what else is there Epic’s store to entice me beyond price? What else will help capture my attention, provide value-add, let me make an informed buying decision, help me learn the game, interact with developers or even help with multiplayer? I do not know. Why? Because I have not even bothered to go the Epic store. There is nothing there that I am aware of that I would even want.
It really comes down to this. Why should customers endure an inferior buying and playing experience just to benefit you? If you do not release a game next year, consumers will never know whether or not it would have been a good buying experience so they suffer no loss. If consumers do not buy your game next year, you suffer immediate harm. Of course you are free to sell your product where you wish. I am free to buy from whom I wish. But only one of us is truly harmed if those do not match.
Now this entire post is not meant to anger. It just discusses human nature and buying decisions, some real-world examples of the value-add of Steam and the different consequences to the buyer and seller of not buying a product. That is all, please do not read anything further into this like it being written in anger or out of spite.
You are the one who started this line of idiocy. If you want to be paid for mods, I suggest you go explore making them for Bethesda since that is where they are headed. Arguing this point is like uploading a free Kindle novel on Amazon and then lamenting the fact people are reading it.
My effort is intentionally low rent, my guides are functional but that is it.
Mod is a bigger bug bear for me. Some mods are literally labour of love, and therefore the effort should be rewarded. I actually think Bethesda’s Creation Club is the right direction. It rewards the content creators that add value for their games, and it becomes win-win.
The only store other than Steam that I actually look for games on is GoG, and that’s because I have the impression they care about my custom and want to help me find games I want to buy. I also appreciate their efforts bringing classic games back on the market. (MoM and Alpha Centauri are still the best games in their genre 2 decades later, and I will fight anyone who disagrees!)
The epic store gives me the exact opposite impression. It feels like they want to provide space for devs to sell me games I already want to buy. Unless that changes I can’t see how this is a success.
Thanks for sharing your perspective. But I think you are expecting too much of consumers.
There will always be enthusiast consumers that will buy 100% of the products your studio/publisher makes. They are great, and will travel to any location you go to get the next game. But, that is not going to be 90% of your sales
It isn’t a customer’s responsibility to care about the company or person making a game. Sure, great if things work out for those people, but all we really just care about getting a good game for a good deal.
Discoverability is important too! That is something that a small platform like the Epic Games Store (they really need to rebrand that name if they are going to start selling third party games) can give right now. It is an extremely small curated list of titles.
But, this discoverability will not last. Look at the Nintendo Switch. That store was a boon for indies in the first 6 months of the console’s launch. It was the hot thing to buy, and there were a limited number of games on it. You had a large audience hungry for games, and a small handful of indie developers that benefited from being in on the ground floor.
Look at the switch store now. There are hundreds if not a thousand games on the e-shop. It is super hard to stand out and be noticed on that platform now. The ability to get in front of millions of gamers on the Switch now feels very much like being on the Steam store.
The problem isn’t in the store front, the problem is in the marketing strategy, or the game itself. To get in front of millions of eyes, you need to be talking to streamers or youtube personalities to get your game in the public consciousness. Signing an exclusivity deal to be on a store-front is only going to take you so far, and will only work while the store is relatively new.
The discoverability issue is not the storefront, it is the industry at large. There are thousands of new games being developed each year, and thousands of new people getting into games development. The industry, for indies, is getting a heck of a lot more crowded, and that isn’t just on steam.
To be fair, the steam “exclusives” were Valve games. Which is not what Epic Games is doing. Nobody is expecting any Epic developed games to be released on Steam or Origin. It is third party exclusives that rub people the wrong way. See Microsoft in the xbox 360 era.
Again, expecting customers to care about the health of a games company is akin to asking me to care about the coca cola corporation when I buy a soda. Sure, I could go into the Coca-Cola™ brand store and buy my soda, they would make more money! But it isn’t convenient, it is in Las Vegas, and I have my frequent shopper card at the Kroger down the street. All I care about is price and convenience. You can’t expect consumers to do anything extra to buy your product. If the product is good enough, people will go out of their way to get it, but if it isn’t remarkable compounded with the lack of convenience, you are going to lose sales.
I also think this is funny because I am arguing that consumers don’t care about developer’s health, but I very much do. I am probably in the 10% of enthusiast purchasers, and it is because of that I caution game developers into jumping on some gold rush to a new store. I think the competition is good, but I also think that exclusivity is an anti consumer move, in the long run. Just look at the number of third party games exclusive to a console now, that list is very small.
I think most people do in a generic way but rarely will that translate that into a buying decision. It is not that I do not care about Derek in a personal sense. I do. But that is not likely to influence my buying decision or process a whole lot. I could not even tell you what games he has made. That does not mean that it will never be a factor. But IMO developers tend to get feedback from largely the same small invested base of fans and it is easy to assume that the general buying public is like that. As you mentioned in your post, most consumers are not like that at all. They have no invested interest in the well-being of the developer anymore than they have an interest in the guy putting the lugnuts on a car that they are buying.
Thank you for helping to summarize my lengthy rambling post into a coherent thought! :)
I don’t want to give the impression that I don’t care about the developers and health and state of the industry, but we can’t expect the average consumer to care at all. They play what is fun, they find what is fun on youtube and twitch (or social media, including forums) and that is it.