Hate to encourage: Release via steam

By on June 9, 2010 12:49:05 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

zampolit

Join Date 02/2008
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*ducks from flying objects*

But, seriously...steam (as per Stardock CEO) has 70% of the digital distribution market.  That's a lot of players.  There is also a LOT of steam-only people out there.  So by not publishing, even to a rival, means potential loss of a lot of players.

I'll even volunteer to run the Elemental official group and assist moderate the forums. I just would like as many people as possible for multiplayer games.

But put aside the fact that developer = publisher/distributor.   To make the most $ you need the most distribution you can. And well, Steam even with its flaws has a huge playerbase.

Plus, Sins of a Solar Empire would rule there since they don't have anything comparable yet. (well, there really isn't anyway...)

Just a thought to make this more successful... 

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June 9, 2010 2:42:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Whiskey144,

I just hope Bobby Kotick dies first.

 

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June 9, 2010 3:17:49 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting Wintersong,



Quoting Whiskey144,
reply 20

I just hope Bobby Kotick dies first.



 

I think it's a quite reasonable request don't you?

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June 9, 2010 3:21:18 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As they say, every industry needs people who make bad or unpopular decisions only if to make their competition look good.

 

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June 9, 2010 5:47:12 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting caross73,
As they say, every industry needs people who make bad or unpopular decisions only if to make their competition look good.

 

Who says that? Because obviously they've NEVER met Kotick. Kotick, as any well-informed PC gamer knows, is THE UTTER ABOMINATION OF VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY. Kotick HIMSELF has stated that his ENTIRE GOAL in the video game industry is to effectively exploit every IP that Activision can get it's greasy, slimey, grubby mits on by milking it for cash as quickly and as long as is humanly possible.

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June 9, 2010 5:53:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As always it is refreshing to see that Frogboy's interests are more than just shortterm profit.

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June 9, 2010 6:05:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sareln,
Why give up without even trying?
So not putting Elemental on Steam is giving up without even trying?

That is the fallacious argument 'False Choice' -- it presents only 2 choices:

-the choice you favor

-a ridiculous choice that it total failure

...and presents the situation as an either/or, ignoring that there's a whole lot of other, reasonable options.

Shame on you Sir for presenting such a biased and false argument.

 

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June 9, 2010 6:16:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Who says that?

Everyone who's competing against a company that hates its customers.

 

Look, I don't know about you, but I prefer obvious and easy to spot evil over subtle and hard to detect evil. I see Activision on the side of a box, and I know that I should think really hard before I buy it. Its too easy. See, if they were buried on the back panel in the fine print, and they didn't have a spokesperson who spoke a lot like Darth Vader (who wants to take the fun out of the ruling the galaxy industry), I might not know what jackasses they are.

 

I would assume their competitors absolutely love this.

 

 

 

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June 9, 2010 6:33:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What about other DD services then, such as GamersGate, D2D and the like?

I've already preordered and thus bought via Impulse (ditto with Sins and GalCiv2+DA before that) so I don't really care from a user stand point. Just curious though if those with a lesser market share and not so much in the way of shady practices might be used to extend the reach of the game, even if by only a little?

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June 9, 2010 6:38:09 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Nick-Danger,

So not putting Elemental on Steam is giving up without even trying?
That is the fallacious argument 'False Choice' -- it presents only 2 choices:

-the choice you favor

-a ridiculous choice that it total failure

...and presents the situation as an either/or, ignoring that there's a whole lot of other, reasonable options.

Shame on you Sir for presenting such a biased and false argument.

 

If I assume that the emphasized "not" is there correctly, then I think you are misreading me.

Lets go to the full text of my comment:

Unilateral surrender gets you killed, surprisingly enough.

Why give up without even trying? If Stardock thinks they have a winner in Reactor/Impulse, they stand to gain much more by competing with steam for DD share.  That and the dystopian view Frogboy has put forward about one-system dominance on the PC.

I think the easiest part to get turned around would be in the italicized section.  I say that Stardock should compete against/with Steam for DD share, not that they should compete in the steam market.  If you were reading quickly, I could see someone easily making this mistake.  However, combined with the following statement, alluding to the end-game comments which Brad has made repeatedly and loudly, I don't see how you could interpret my position as being: "put it on steam or you might as well give up", which I think, is what you're accusing me of saying. 

I'll try again now:

In sum: I say that Stardock should not sacrifice their exclusives to steam.  My argument is that giving up exclusives unilaterally to steam is the same decision as deciding not to compete in the DD market with Steam.

How does this follow?

Stardock is trying to compete with Steam in the DD market using impulse.  The strongest component of their competition, beyond a better product (features, etc.), is exclusives.  Exclusives are so strong because most end-users only care about one thing: where do I have to go to get this game?

This is why Steamworks is so potent, it builds/secures marketshare with exclusives other companies won't carry.  Additionally, Elemental is supposed to be the flagship demonstration of Impulse::Reactor, stardock's direct competition to Steamworks.

So, if Stardock wants to compete in DD, they need to demonstrate to other publishers that they are confident in their system and that their system is better.  In the short term, they also need to get gamers to try the system out - with an impulse exclusive.

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June 9, 2010 7:42:07 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sareln,


So not putting Elemental on Steam is giving up without even trying?
That is the fallacious argument 'False Choice' -- it presents only 2 choices:

-the choice you favor

-a ridiculous choice that it total failure

...and presents the situation as an either/or, ignoring that there's a whole lot of other, reasonable options.

Shame on you Sir for presenting such a biased and false argument.


 

If I assume that the emphasized "not" is there correctly, then I think you are misreading me.

Lets go to the full text of my comment:



Unilateral surrender gets you killed, surprisingly enough.


Why give up without even trying? If Stardock thinks they have a winner in Reactor/Impulse, they stand to gain much more by competing with steam for DD share.  That and the dystopian view Frogboy has put forward about one-system dominance on the PC.
<snip>
I'll make my point by keeping with your original post.

First -- SD is competing with Steam, in the way SD thinks best.

Second -- what you're saying is the if SD doesn't compete in the way you think best they're:

-Unilaterally surrendering

-giving up without even trying

You're presenting 2 options:

either...

1- SD competes not as they're currently doing but as you think they should

or...

2- SD is unilaterally surrendering and giving up without even trying

There are other options, including the one SD is currently pursuing -- competing as they think best which doesn't include what you think they should be doing.

It's as if you think SD isn't competing unless they're doing what you suggest -- which is obviously untrue.

I accept that you don't intend your post to have been as such, but as written that's the result.  Your rewriting of your initial post didn't seem to change this basic fact, just presented it in another way.

I think a better presentation of your idea would be to drop the hyperbolic 'unilaterally surrendering and not giving up without even trying' stuff in preference to something along the lines of 'I think SD would better compete if it <insert your idea>'.

In politics we see hyperbole and false choices (vote against heath care changes or "death panels" will kill your grandma) all the time.  I think we here can do better than the politicians 

 

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June 9, 2010 7:55:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not contending the hyperbolic, I'll do better on that, but hyperbole is fun so I make no promises

You don't like the hyperbole, hence the shaming language - but now you've got me annoyed and committed so here goes .

What I'm contending is:

Near as I can tell, you're saying that you read me as saying that my preference is that Stardock put Elemental on the steam marketplace - which I do not.  From where I'm sitting, I read both of my posts as saying that: Stardock should not put Elemental on the steam market + reasons + hyperbole.  Am I not communicating that at least?

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June 9, 2010 8:18:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sareln,
I'm not contending the hyperbolic, I'll do better on that, but hyperbole is fun so I make no promises
Understood 

What I'm contending is:

Near as I can tell, you're saying that you read me as saying that my preference is that Stardock put Elemental on the steam marketplace - which I do not.  From where I'm sitting, I read both of my posts as saying that: Stardock should not put Elemental on the steam market + reasons + hyperbole.  Am I not communicating that at least?
Two points.

First, your original post included "If Stardock thinks they have a winner in Reactor/Impulse, they stand to gain much more by competing with steam for DD share."  SD is currently competing with steam for DD share, and since you're arguing for SD to do something different, and given the topic of this thread, I did take you to be saying SD should put Elemental on steam or something similar.  Your original post doesn't make sense to me otherwise (and still doesn't -- SD should compete "...with steam for DD share." by "not put[ing] Elemental on the steam market..."?  What are you arguing SD should do differently than what it's currently doing?)

Nonetheless I accept I was wrong and am sorry for misrepresenting your position.

Second, you still presented your argument as an either/or choice (either do whatever you're arguing they should be and are not currently, or they're unilaterally surrendering without even trying).  That's a hyperbolic False Choice.

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June 9, 2010 8:29:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental needs an OS/2 release

 

Either way releasing on Steam would be a bad move for impulse, similarly as others have stated is even in theory if it sells more on steam it'll also cut into the population that would have bought it on impulse.  I'm sure Stardock gets to keep a great portion of the pie when released on their own client rather than one that belongs to others.

 

So even if they made the same money in the end, some money would fall in the hands of competition.

 

Even if hell freezes over and stardock went under I doubt we'd see steam releases on these games.

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June 9, 2010 8:44:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Two points.

First, your original post included "If Stardock thinks they have a winner in Reactor/Impulse, they stand to gain much more by competing with steam for DD share." SD is currently competing with steam for DD share, and since you're arguing for SD to do something different, and given the topic of this thread, I did take you to be saying SD should put Elemental on steam or something similar. Your original post doesn't make sense to me otherwise (and still doesn't -- SD should compete "...with steam for DD share." by "not put[ing] Elemental on the steam market..."? What are you arguing SD should do differently than what it's currently doing?)

Nonetheless I accept I was wrong and am sorry for misrepresenting your position.

Second, you still presented your argument as an either/or choice (either do whatever you're arguing they should be and are not currently, or they're unilaterally surrendering without even trying). That's a hyperbolic False Choice.

  1. I was arguing for more of the same, or at least, that's what I was aiming to say.  Clearly I needed to work on it a little more before hitting post.
  2. Sure, it's a false choice.  I could try to argue that it's not by saying that any solution which doesn't keep Elemental an Impulse exclusive collapses eventually to a "Steam Wins" end game and is therefore functionally equivalent, but that's a lot of work to go through to stubbornly hold to an initial position which was not completely thought through.

Also: , because that was fun.

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June 9, 2010 9:06:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Sareln,
I was arguing for more of the same, or at least, that's what I was aiming to say.  Clearly I needed to work on it a little more before hitting post.
Sure, it's a false choice.  I could try to argue that it's not by saying that any solution which doesn't keep Elemental an Impulse exclusive collapses eventually to a "Steam Wins" end game and is therefore functionally equivalent, but that's a lot of work to go through to stubbornly hold to an initial position which was not completely thought through.

Also: , because that was fun.
Thank you for your mature, friendly, and honest discussion

And for reminding me I should ask instead of indict when these situations arise.

And for giving me the opportunity to use the beer icon!

Salute!

It's interesting how often people argue (in the better sense of the word, not the 'get mad and argue' sense) when it turns out they're of the same mind and one has just misunderstood the other (as I did you)...

 

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June 9, 2010 9:37:27 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting killer105,
I use steam, but I regret purchasing a number of Indie titles on it because I have to wait several extra weeks after patch releases to get it on steam versions of the game.  Steam has become fat and bloated, which makes Impulse look better and better.

Still waiting on the latest Sword of the Stars patch on Steam...

 

You are aware that bitching about the lack of a patch to support is an essential element in being a good consumer advocate, right?

I spent weeks going back and forth with Direct 2 Drive over their delay in patching up Children of the Nile -- Impulse had gotten it done almost immediately after Tilted Mill put the patch out. Eventually they paid me in store credit to stop bothering them, but, more importantly, they got the patch out a few days after. Was it because I was whining and moaning and kicking up a ruckus? Or was it just coincidence? 

Who knows!

 

The takeaway point is that if you want companies to improve their performance, you have to give their support team constant, specific and negative feedback, not just whine about them in forum posts.

So get back to the Steam website, hit the technical help tab, and write them a polite email that makes it very clear that they need to hurry the hell up with the patching of Indie Games A, B and C because their competitors are doing a better job, and your delicious customer dollars think that that is hot. Chances are you'll get a form letter. Tell them they're wrong, and provide links! And then they'll escalate you! And you escalate right back! And when they offer money you say that's nice and I'll take it BUT WE AREN'T DONE YET. And eventually, change happens because the company sees faster patching as a means of reducing the money they're having to spend on technical support. 

Do what's right and FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

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June 9, 2010 9:41:38 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Elemental needs an OS/2 release

I spit up my scotch while reading that line...

 

Thank you for your mature, friendly, and honest discussion

This is why I am loving it here.  The honor and respect is really...rare...among any board.

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June 9, 2010 9:51:54 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I'm definitely warming up to the Elemental Army concept now. 

Normally I wouldn't participate in a thread like this but  Zam, imo, has certainly earned the right to an official response.

The first key concept here is "Fungible".  It's an ongoing issue in digital distribution.  How many NET new sales would being on Steam provide? That is, how many sales of Elemental would occur that wouldn't occur otherwise.

Starcraft 2, for instance, is not on Steam and I don't think anyone worries about its sales.  Sins wasn't on Steam and it sold a gazillion copies. I think you'd be hard pressed to find a TBS (other than the Civ series) that has outsold Galactic Civilizations II (and I'm privy to the numbers on most of them).

When a game is sold on Steam, you lose about 30% to Steam. That's their cut.  So just to break even, you'd first have to demonstrate that being on Steam would generate 30% more sales than we would otherwise get and that would be a very tough case to make. 

Consumers on the Internet tend to vastly over-estimate the popularity of digital distribution (Steam, Impulse, GG, GOG, D2D, Real, etc.).  We often can't imagine why people would go to a store and buy a box.  But they do.  Depending on the publisher, anywhere between 70% to 90% of their revenue comes from brick and mortar retail stores.

None of these DD services do huge numbers yet.  They will, in time. But they don't yet. 

But for the sake of argument, let's say that it would be more profitable in the short-term to put Elemental on Steam and the others.  I'd even argue that that would probably be the case when you add in GamersGate (which sells well to our demographic) and D2D.

Then the question is, how much are you guys willing to sacrifice for that?  Do any of you remember how many updates we do to our games when they're new? GalCiv had like 5 updates in the first month. Not bug fixes mind you but new stuff.  Sins of a Solar Empire had several in its first few months.  I can tell you right now, Elemental will likely get at least a DOZEN updates in its first 6 months out.  You guys have great ideas and frankly, I want them in there. If not now, then asap.

Do you seriously think that kind of rapid updating is possible if you're using a third party DD source?

But let's say that even that's not an issue, then there's the long term issue - a virtual monopoly.  Valve is a good company. They're honest. They're hard working. They produce great games.  So is Microsoft, incidentally.  But once someone establishes total domination, it's very very hard to undo it.  

Steam's cut is ~30% today.  Maybe they'll need to raise it to 40%.  Right now, they can't because there's an alternative - Impulse.   Maybe they should start requiring games to include "Steam Achievements" if they want to be on Steam.  Of course, that means everyone would have to have Steam running.  But right now, they can't require that because publishers can still choose Impulse and the upcoming Impulse::Reactor as an alternative.

Take a few steps back and look at your games. Seriously. Consider this: When was the last time you saw a major NEW title come out.  Not a sequel. Not a remake of a classic game as a FPS. I mean a brand new, IP with a big budget. FOR THE PC.  It's increasingly rare. It still happens of course but not often.  Don't you wonder why that is?  Because it's hard to make a profit doing that.

IF Elemental had to give up 30% of its revenue to anyone on digital distribution, there'd be no Elemental in the first place.  A turn based fantasy strategy game in 2010 with no roman numeral after its name? Are you insane?  But WE can try crazy stuff (see The Political Machine) because we have that 30% "bonus" on our titles. Take that away and we're stuck pitching Atari to do Star Control V as a GTA in space -- for the PS3/Xbox.

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June 9, 2010 10:04:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'm not a big fan of this whole drafting people into the Elemental Army thing, but I AM a big fan of numbers and such. And, so, hey, I see you spitting out some interesting numbers! Mind if I ask a few simple questions, you know, to kill some time that you'd otherwise spend just pimping out the AI? 

 

Aren't you under-representing the importance of your non-game sales with regard to your overall budget? 

 

Don't b&m retailers take a similar cut out of the game's net value?

 

How do you reconcile the strong growth of indie games on a variety of platforms -- GOG, Steam, Impulse and even XBLArcade -- with your comment that a game like Elemental, which is not part of an established franchise, wouldn't be possible if you were taking a 30% cut?

 

Finally, isn't a bit misleading to say that Elemental couldn't happen on Steam because it lacks an established franchise when you're currently marketing it on the strength of the  Stardock brand name?

 

 

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June 9, 2010 11:26:53 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Well, I'm definitely warming up to the Elemental Army concept now.

Normally I wouldn't participate in a thread like this but Zam, imo, has certainly earned the right to an official response.

So this implies that anyone with a high rank in the Elemental Army will get a personal answer from Frogboy himself, right?



Don't b&m retailers take a similar cut out of the game's net value?

They probably do, but as Frogboy said, they are responsible for most of the sales of a game. 70-90% is not a small amount. If you don't put your game on Steam, you'd only be loosing 7-21% (70% of 10 and 30, respectively) of your total sales. Cut out retailers and you lose pretty much everything.



How do you reconcile the strong growth of indie games on a variety of platforms -- GOG, Steam, Impulse and even XBLArcade -- with your comment that a game like Elemental, which is not part of an established franchise, wouldn't be possible if you were taking a 30% cut?

Elemental has a bigger budget, maybe? I don't know, that's my best quess.

Finally, isn't a bit misleading to say that Elemental couldn't happen on Steam because it lacks an established franchise when you're currently marketing it on the strength of the Stardock brand name?

Stardock isn't a franchise, though. A franchise would be something like Halo, Civilization, GalCiv, etc. Brand name is not the same as a franchise.

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June 9, 2010 11:40:58 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Frogboy, please do a Star Control 5. Oh my god, please do a Star Control 5.

Please do a Star Control 5. 

Please? 

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June 10, 2010 7:00:31 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Aeon221,
Don't b&m retailers take a similar cut out of the game's net value?

They take a cut, and there's an extra cut for things like making boxes and shipping them to retail. But the numbers make sense. Walmart sells a lot of copies (IIRC they were the top single source for sales of Sins, overall). Take it out of there, and you lose a lot of sales that you won't get back any other way.

Comparatively, how many people will buy it if you put it on Steam that won't be buying now... as compared to how many people who would have bought it on Impulse would go buy it on Steam instead? Since every sale that you take from Impulse and put on Steam is lost revenue, you need to gain a couple of sales to make up for that and have the math make sense. It doesn't seem likely.

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June 10, 2010 7:06:24 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Whiskey144,

I just hope Bobby Kotick dies first.

  Ok, now I know that who made this picture. ->

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June 10, 2010 7:56:37 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

So this implies that anyone with a high rank in the Elemental Army will get a personal answer from Frogboy himself, right?

No, hopefully he's just implying that this post...while controversial...was well versed in a manner that is not negative and trying to be supportive of a great game.  Its facts, while someone of a perception, have merit and lead to a good conversation.

BUT to let ya'll know, I did NOT GET POINTS for this forum topic!   Nor do I send "forum participation" for everything I do.  Actually, I rarely do.   I like a good discussion and debate as long as its not meanacing and has good facts/truth behind them. I saw this as "it would make sense to me" from a immidiate-financial aspect, but I did understand the long-term game plan. So was just curious to everyone else's thoughts.

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June 10, 2010 2:34:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Someone should develop a platform combining all digital distributors.

You'd use the different websites/apps to buy the products but one single lightweight app to manage the games you own.

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