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October 30, 2014, 05:00:18 AM
TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessHow to sell a PC Port?
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rayteoactive
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« on: October 02, 2010, 10:48:03 PM »

As some of you (1% of the Tigsource population) know, I'm porting my game Tobe's Vertical Adventure to the PC. We've made some enhancement and tweaks, and almost done with it, but I'm not sure about the PC market.

So now my question is, where's a good place for me to be selling my game, if my site generate 3 unique visitor a day?


I've thinking of putting it up on Steam, but I'm not sure if it's free for everyone to put up the game? Or is there gonna be a tedious process.

And what are the other similar channels other than Steam? I know they have it at Rev3 game store, but that's all I know.

Also, what other options do I have other than places like Steam?


The game didn't do well at all on XBLIG, and I really hope the PC port can do Tobe some justice this time round. So hopefully, some indie game business guru sees this, and help me out here.

Thanks in advance  Beer!
Ray
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xerus
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2010, 11:39:17 PM »

Steam, it's not free for everyone to use, as its an approve/deny process for every game -- but recently it seems that they've been more accepting of indie games.  I have no idea what your chances are though.  It's not free to use, as they take a small chunk of your sales as compensation for using their service.

You may also look into direct2drive, impulse, and uh.. that's actually all I know off the top of my head.  Some google searches for pc games digital download stores or something might be fruitful though.

Your other option is to try as hard as you can by selling copies off your website with a merchant service such as paypal.  But don't make too much money with paypal, otherwise they might freeze your account and semi-screw you over (Minecraft had some trouble with this.) Other than that, there's plimus and BMTMicro for payment options -- these systems all take a small percentage of your sales for using the service.

It ain't gonna be easy, and you have an uphill battle ahead of you, but don't give in, march forward and burn brighter than a thousand suns.  Make your ancestors proud.

Good luck!
« Last Edit: October 03, 2010, 01:18:57 PM by xerus » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2010, 02:49:27 AM »

If you have BMT Micro or Plimus (BMT is better) as your processing then you can contact other websites called "affiliates" and have them sell your game for you. They typically have a lot of traffic and can possibly drive sales of your game. You need to find some affiliates that sell games similar to yours.

I wouldn't count on Steam. If your game is crazy fun and innovative and you have a bit of luck then you might get on there but it's not something that you should rely on.

The last option is to go crazy all out marketing your game, which you either need to find or become an expert for.
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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2010, 11:51:29 AM »

Amaranth, the woman who makes the Aveyond RPG games, wrote a little quick guide about How To See Your Game Online.  It does a good job of going over a lot of the basic stuff (but, there's been some argument over her use of DRM).

In fact, if I were you, I'd just head over to the indie game forums and search "Sell A Game" or that sort of stuff.  The majority of the games on tigsource seem to be freeware and the same question has been asked (and answered) billions of times on the indiegamer forums.

Generally, the indiegamer forums are for people who are interested in "making a business" in selling and making indie games.  

Hope that helps!
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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2010, 02:12:01 PM »

It's not free to use, as they take a small chunk of your sales as compensation for using their service.

I would assume that it's not exactly small. A developer of an indie game that's being sold through Steam heavily encourages people to buy it directly from him instead. I don't think he'd go through the trouble if Valve took just a small chunk. But hey, I may be wrong; perhaps he's just greedy.
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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2010, 04:24:09 PM »

All depends on what you call a small chunk, too.

I think, from what I've read that it's about %30.
Which seems to be about standard for services of that type, that do some advertising for you.
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« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2010, 07:21:42 PM »

Thanks for the feedback, guys. Glad theres some useful info here, I've been having a bad headache about this recently :/

Your other option is to try as hard as you can by selling copies off your website with a merchant service such as paypal.  But don't make too much money with paypal, otherwise they might freeze your account and semi-screw you over (Minecraft had some trouble with this.) Other than that, there's plimus and BMTMicro for payment options -- these systems all take a small percentage of your sales for using the service.

Sorry, how do I sell my game on my site to begin with? I know with paypal (probably other micro transaction service too) I can send the payee a message, and then send them a download link. But they could just send the link to anyone at all.

jrjellybeans : thanks for the links. Look really useful, and I'll look through in detail when I finish up the game.

As for the compensation to the site, I think 30% is more than fair. Afterall, if I'd make a flash game and use gamersafe/mochi, they'd be taking up more than 40% of the revenue. My main concern now is to have a place to sell the game, so when I (hopefully) get some publicity with the release, players don't stay away simply because it's too troublesome to purchase or sort.

P.S: I've been checking out Steam, and there seems to be no contact link or faq for developer. Any one know how I can get to them?
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« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2010, 11:28:11 PM »

P.S: I've been checking out Steam, and there seems to be no contact link or faq for developer. Any one know how I can get to them?

http://www.valvesoftware.com/business/
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xerus
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2010, 03:25:27 AM »

Sorry, how do I sell my game on my site to begin with? I know with paypal (probably other micro transaction service too) I can send the payee a message, and then send them a download link. But they could just send the link to anyone at all.

It's true, but I think there's a way to generate a unique code from the paypal purchase, and use that somehow.  Either generate a unique download link, or try to use some sort of cd-key type system.  Although, you might just end up driving yourself mad trying to fight piracy.

I think plimus has some more tools for this sort of thing than paypal.
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2010, 01:36:42 PM »

There are a lot of people selling games and earning money on PC, the hardest part is to find a paying niche audience. Getting help from portal is good too, PC owners are cheapskates but they are BILLIONS.
Bringing visitors to your website takes time, it's a slow process but it's worth it. There are also a lot of obscure portals or niche websites with a lot of visitors that could help you via affiliating.
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2010, 02:57:27 PM »

Sorry, how do I sell my game on my site to begin with? I know with paypal (probably other micro transaction service too) I can send the payee a message, and then send them a download link. But they could just send the link to anyone at all.

It's true, but I think there's a way to generate a unique code from the paypal purchase, and use that somehow.  Either generate a unique download link, or try to use some sort of cd-key type system.  Although, you might just end up driving yourself mad trying to fight piracy.

I think plimus has some more tools for this sort of thing than paypal.
To sell through Paypal directly your best bet is to use Paypal's IPN system. It requires a lot of work on your part to get it working though. I setup a simple system to generate a 1-time download link that is emailed upon payment.

If you don't already know, Paypal's IPN system is a secure way to detect valid purchases. Basically, they ping your app when a purchase is completed with all of the details. All you really have to do is grab the item id and sale price to determine no attempted counterfeiting happened, and then act on that.

In this way, it's fully automated, but very painful to attempt to setup. (You better know your server side scripting languages and preferably some database to keep track of orders)
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Christian Knudsen
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« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2010, 03:40:25 AM »

With Plimus and BMT, is it possible to have the game download from their servers so you don't have to worry about all that stuff? (And also save bandwith on your website if your game download is big!)
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 08:16:35 AM »

hello - I thought people reading this thread might be interested in reading my experiences with Plimus that I've posted in another thread:
http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=257.msg440791#msg440791
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« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2010, 12:29:55 AM »

With Plimus and BMT, is it possible to have the game download from their servers so you don't have to worry about all that stuff? (And also save bandwith on your website if your game download is big!)

Yes. That's the idea of e-commerce services - they do all the stuff for you. Process payments through transfers or paypal, pay sales taxes in the country of the buyer, send the code or the download link and often handle refunds and sales support as well.
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2010, 03:40:11 AM »

Besides Plimus and BMT you can have a look at SahreIt. I used it for years - it's very easy to setup. As driving traffic to your website is always a lot of work, you can try to get it on other portals beside Steam:

Big Fish Games
RealArcade
iPlay
...

They have mostly casual games, but probably they are also interessted in your game.
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2010, 09:09:54 AM »

i checked which services are used by some indie devs and listed them here:
http://www.pixelprospector.com/indev/2010/08/the-big-list-of-indie-marketing-and-business-tips/#ecommerce
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rayteoactive
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« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2010, 08:00:50 AM »

Thanks for the advise, and sorry for the absent. I was really busy with my game almost completed... But back to the PC Port, I tried emailing Value ([email protected]), and there was no respond. Is that how it is? They only reply to emails they're interested in?

On the other hand, my game was developed in XNA, and we made an .msi installer. Whats kind of file type is necessary for putting games up on places like steam? Anyone with relevant experience?
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« Reply #17 on: November 01, 2010, 11:09:56 AM »

I also e-mailed valve with no response.  I plan on calling them this week when my demo is finished.
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2010, 07:34:08 PM »

Hey bobbyric, let me know how that goes Smiley I just sent them another mail last night, and there weren't any response either. Shall update the thread if I get some feedback so others who might be interested with their games on steam can follow.
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« Reply #19 on: November 02, 2010, 02:43:04 AM »

I'm sure they get tons and tons of e-mails.

Terry Cavanagh and Nifflas, very well-known in the indie scene both had considerable trouble getting their games on Steam. It wasn't until long after the release of each game were they able to get them on there. Here's a part in their FAQ about released games:
What do you look for when accepting games for Steam?

If your game has been previously released we consider such things as year of release, reviews and review scores, previous sales, and awards. Since Steam is a worldwide platform, we also like to know what languages you support. Please let us know as much as you can in those areas. None of those are hard and fast rules, but they help us get a feel for the game.

Kinda saying...don't wait up for them to contact you back because they may never. Also, since you said your game didn't do so well on XBLIG that may scare them off a bit-did you mention that?.

I wish there was an easier way to advertise indie games. Many don't get the attention they deserve..it's unfortunate. You could do like others and sell it on your site and hope for the best.

As far as being a buyer, I really prefer to buy games directly from the developers if I can. Steam is very convenient, but there's nothing quite like directly supporting the developer.
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