Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sent out requests for places to sell my game

Today I sent out dozens of emails to outlets everywhere on the web to see if I can get my game sold through their website or service. I will share here what they respond with (hopefully most will accept). I don't understand why anyone would deny a game that wants to be on their service.

Venting time:
I mean, I can set up an account with Fastspring and have a store up in running very quickly (depending on how advanced you want the product to be integrated into the service), but for more purposes it took only a few hours, of which most time was spent waiting for an email response.

When you are ready to put your store live, you write an email to Fastspring asking them to activate your store, and then they review it, and activate it. It's that simple (not to mention free). Amazing service. Fair rates. Friendly interface. It really is exactly what someone wanting to do direct sales should look into.

Literally, Fastspring doesn't ask for any up front money or any reimbursement if you can't sell anything at all, but they ask for only 8.9% of all sales you make. They set up a distribution platform for you with absolutely no requirement for units moved, and that is absolutely fantastic. But I can't understand why other digital distributors can't do this.

For example, GOG turned down my game being on their site. The only costs I can think of would be that they would have to pay would be the server for hosting the files and related information about the game, which with a huge database of games already in there, should be miniscule. I am doing all the work, I am making the game, trailers, screenshots, etc. Literally all they have to do would be to activate my account, like Fastspring did, and let me set up a store.

I understand Fastspring takes a huge risk with their policies, but obviously the rewards must outweigh the risk, especially the failures. They know that for every 10 or so they accept, most will fail, but they can recoup those costs by the one that succeeds out of every 100 or every 1000. I just don't get why this model doesn't work for other distributors.

I know some of it may come from the fact that a lower quality game may bring down the general quality of the website, but when you don't even play the game, you can't make that decision. Not only that, but it's not their place to deny a game opportunity for success. They have a rating system in these services for a reason, to filter out the bad games. By jumping the gun and denying indie game developers like myself the opportunity to reach a wider audience for their game, they essentially condemn the game to failure, or at least a lower level of success, and it is kind of frustrating.

In fact, it is very frustrating. By denying indie game developers these opportunities, they are not helping the indie scene. They are narrowing it down and only giving attention and press to the games that "they" deem worthy. It is almost like a segregation of indie games based on content, but this is the heart of the "indie revolution". As indie developers, we should be able to explore other ideas and content without having to worry about not being featured on a distributors platform because it doesn't feature pixel art or isn't a rogue-like.

I know people have services like these to make money. I know that is what they are after, and they want to specify which games will make them the most money, and denying games which they expect will either net them a small return or make them lose money. But this is the same pattern of big game companies only allowing developer studios that want games published. They need to fall in line and make a game that will appeal to the masses. But this is inherently opposite of indie games, where we try to make something personal, and most often niche.

It just hurts the indie gaming scene. There should be more open platforms, with games that sell better having a smaller distribution cut, and games that are higher rated by users get more publicity on the service. That way, smaller games by smaller devs can still be included in the site, and if they make good games, they will get recognition.

 It shouldn't be the distributors decision what indie games get recognition, it should be the consumers. They way things are now, both developers and consumers of the indie game scene are being harmed.

Sorry if I appear to be rambling, I am just speaking my mind continuously.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If GoG changes their mind, I would still love to work with them. I am not putting an embargo on their service, but I think they should be more open to smaller indie developers, especially brand new ones like myself.

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