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Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Hassat Hunter] #519740
15/07/14 12:24 PM
15/07/14 12:24 PM
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Fireblade Offline

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Originally Posted By: Hassat Hunter
It's not surprising most developers who were successfull on KS instead find other means of financing now rather than try again.

Really? Name an example. Double Fine already went back to Kickstarter again, inXile already went back again, Harebrained Schemes (Shadowrun Returns) already went back again, Swen already said he'll go back to Kickstarter again, Obsidian says they're going back to Kickstarter.

Last edited by Fireblade; 15/07/14 12:29 PM.
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519768
15/07/14 12:59 PM
15/07/14 12:59 PM
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KS and steam early access have their downsides and problems, but the advantages to a mid-low-funds developer are way bigger than you can expect.

It means extra feedback, free beta testing, comunity/word-of-mouth free publicity, extra funds in a time that small developers are realy pressured with costs, etc.

Surely KS and Early access have their hassles as forum trolls tend to flock towards this kind of projects with terrible force and complaints, but all-in-all the good outweight the bads by a long shot.

With this remark i have to say that i hope larian launches another KS for the next game. If it's a well-known franchise that people know and like, it has all the potential to be a sucess.

If they launch a KS for a sequel of D:OS people might not react as well since they know K:OS made some profit and thus people might think larian is leeching for money (it might be false but people are mean by nature).

If larian does try to buy a well-known franchise as Sven already hinted and needs some extra cash, i realy believe then fans will flock towards the project and the KS will be an immense sucess because larian already proved with K:OS they can manage a KS very well, and deliver a high quality final product.

i would like larian to try and make a more serious RPG like... for example... a Vampire the masquerade cRPG... or perhaps a new Ultima ? hum, tasty... I'm realy curious what they want next, in the meantime i'll end my 2nd playthrough of D:OS smile

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Gyson] #519818
15/07/14 02:23 PM
15/07/14 02:23 PM
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Garod Offline

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Originally Posted By: Gyson

When the developer allows Kickstarter backers to access alpha at much lower prices (~$25 tiers) it all transitions over to SEA with much less sticker shock. Of course, alpha access tiers tend to be the more popular ones, so developers seem to struggle to find a balance that will make the the funding they're looking for without causing a ton of backlash once they show up on Steam.


I honestly think that asking people to PAY for beta/alpha testing access is one of the core things wrong with today's games market. No one should pay to test a game, they should receive something for the effort they are willing to put into it. The more valid information (new bugs found) they submit the more they should get in return imho.

But yes this is exactly the point where KS's struggle, I think the best example of that was Planetary Annihilation. They completely ruined themselves and any credibility they have. Due to the high price of the KS they ended up having to ask 80$+ for early access and are now still at 45$ which is AAA price point. There is allot of vitriol going around with this game. For me this is the perfect example of how not to manage your KS/SEA.


WeresheepVampire of Original Sin
WoOS - http://weresheep.net/doku.php
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Garod] #519825
15/07/14 02:40 PM
15/07/14 02:40 PM
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I'm really torn on Steam Early Access and how it works today.

On one hand, certain companies "abuse" Steam Early access to basically sell their game free of criticism. They are able to profit off their game, but use Early Access as a shield to prevent people from criticizing their game. Meanwhile, they are charging a premium price for it, just like if it were an actually released game. In addition, it still shows up on important Steam pages/lists like Top Sellers, Featured, and New Releases. This ensures that the early access game gets exposure and sells. And I mean, with a deal like this...why would you ever release your game? You can just continue to sell it and use early access as an "excuse" for any problems.

But on the other hand, early access really does allow some companies to make their games better. D:OS is a perfect example, Larian has stated the SEA gave them the funding and feedback they needed to really make it what it is. And if SEA can contribute to a game as awesome as D:OS...then it really can't be all bad.


Anyway, I think there is a simple solution to the problems that currently surround SEA. SEA games should NOT appear on the main steam pages. They should have their own area, like Greenlight, so that people have to be SPECIFICALLY looking for SEA games to find them.

This would prevent people from abusing SEA to sell and even market games "as if" they were released, but be immune to criticism. It would also still allow the more legitimate use of SEA, like getting additional funding and feedback for games that need them.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519838
15/07/14 02:59 PM
15/07/14 02:59 PM
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I agree that "Early Access", or other forms of paid alpha/beta, have become far too common and prominent and developers have started to rely way too heavily on them. That's not really related to Kickstarter at all, though - nothing requires you to give alpha/beta access just because you sold your game through Kickstarter. You can do whatever you want.

Kickstarter is an amazing way to sell games - you get more than 90% of the revenue (compared to 70% with Steam), tons of people are willing to pay far more than normal purchase price, and you get all this money as basically a zero-interest advance loan on top of it. If you don't expect developers to continue using Kickstarter left and right, then you're kind of nuts.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Fireblade] #519844
15/07/14 03:03 PM
15/07/14 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted By: Fireblade
I agree that "Early Access", or other forms of paid alpha/beta, have become far too common and prominent and developers have started to rely way too heavily on them. That's not really related to Kickstarter at all, though - nothing requires you to give alpha/beta access just because you sold your game through Kickstarter. You can do whatever you want.

Kickstarter is an amazing way to sell games - you get more than 90% of the revenue (compared to 70% with Steam), tons of people are willing to pay far more than normal purchase price, and you get all this money as basically a zero-interest advance loan on top of it. If you don't expect developers to continue using Kickstarter left and right, then you're kind of nuts.


I have no problem with Kickstarter, in fact, I still support it and will back games that I like and have faith in.

With Kickstarter, there should be no confusion about what you're doing when you invest money. You are not "pre-purchasing" a game, the game may fail and never even exist. You are putting your faith and money in a company/individual to create the product they are promising...and it is possible that they fail.

I know that some people are still confused about this, but that's on them.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Garod] #519849
15/07/14 03:11 PM
15/07/14 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted By: Garod
I honestly think that asking people to PAY for beta/alpha testing access is one of the core things wrong with today's games market. No one should pay to test a game, they should receive something for the effort they are willing to put into it. The more valid information (new bugs found) they submit the more they should get in return imho.


Well, you actually don't pay for beta testing. You pay to be able to play an early version of a game with the promise to get the full version for free upon release. Something like a "serious" Early Access approach (which means that the game is in late development state with an ETA for the final release) is just a preorder with bonus. It's totally up to the customer whether they want to give feedback about their experience. They are not obliged to give any feedback.

In a "regular" free beta people are more or less obliged to deliver feedback. If you want to get paid for betatesting you should join a company which does exactly that. But in that case you have to do it professionally in a controlled environment and not in your spare time for fun.

I think many people miss the point that something like open beta testing isn't valuable other than for testing for example server capacities. It's of much more value to the developer and the game if the people who play a game early are personally and financially invested in the game. That makes the audience both more narrowed and more conscious for serious feedback instead of flamebaiting and internet-bullying (like you can regularly experience during/after short betas for big AAA games). Like I said, Early Access is a way better way to do betatesting for both the customers/fans and the developers. Fans can get the chance to play a game early and influence the direction of a game but only for a game they already like and a game they are ready to invest in early (which is in no way different than just a preorder). Developers can spread the final development stage to polish the game and implement valuable feedback from people who've played the game an people who are invested in making the game as good as possible since they've already paid for it. Without their investment in beta/early access the same game would probably just be released in a much less polished state with way less features. D:OS would probably have been released in February without early access tbh. Larian just couldn't afford to spread development over some additional months without any chance to earn money. With early access (=preorder with beta access) everything is better for everyone. The devs can make the game better and get paid for it. The fans can get an additional bonus for their preorder. The regular customers get a more polished game after release.

Believe me, any argument against a "serious" early access as a part of the development of a regular game are only theoretical and imo invalid. Of course that only applies to games which use early access in a reasonable way which means that it is used - like in the case of D:OS - in the last months and weeks of a game that is already quite finished and a game that a have a narrow ETA. This doesn't apply to these neverending early access games which are published in an incredibly early state (like pre-alpha) which never get any ETA from the devs. That is basically just a cheap way to cash in on a game that you probably don't ever want to "finish". But early access for a traditional game development cycle with the firm goal to deliver a release product at a date is a blessing and not a curse for everyone involved.


So I personally hope and expect that Larian will do early access again for their next game. I'm not so sure about kickstarter since that depends on their financials as well although a kickstarter is a great way to get some public attention and marketing and also a great way to get in contact and strengthen the connection with your fans (and make new ones). The way Larian communicated with us - the fans - so far is imo a clear indication that another kickstarter is highly possible even if they wouldn't really need it from a financial perspective. But only time will tell. wink


WOOS
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519863
15/07/14 03:27 PM
15/07/14 03:27 PM
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Garod Offline

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On the topic of KS, has anyone actually seen any interesting ones come by?
I've checked a couple of times over the last few months but really haven't seen anything comparable to D:OS, TTON, Wasteland, Shadowrun etc.


WeresheepVampire of Original Sin
WoOS - http://weresheep.net/doku.php
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519865
15/07/14 03:28 PM
15/07/14 03:28 PM
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You know, just as all free things aren't good things, free work doesn't necessarily mean good work.

You playing the game once or twice, see something weird, rant about on the forums is not as valuable as a professional beta tester's feedback.

My friend who was a tester said that when he saw a bug, he had to play through it again and again to record the conditions that precipitated the bug, determine if it was reproducible, etc. and produce coherent QA reports under deadline reports for the programmers to read.

Don't flatter yourself and think you are doing them some kind of amazing favour by your "free beta-testing"

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Garod] #519866
15/07/14 03:29 PM
15/07/14 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted By: Garod

I honestly think that asking people to PAY for beta/alpha testing access is one of the core things wrong with today's games market. No one should pay to test a game, they should receive something for the effort they are willing to put into it. The more valid information (new bugs found) they submit the more they should get in return imho.


What effort? Beta testing isn't like it used to be where it was very structured and you had to apply for it like you would a job detailing your qualifications. Also you had to provide constant reports and keep a journal as well as required participation through board posting and interaction. It was really a lot of work and actually a good resume filler back in the day due to it.



Before companies started the paid early access/beta approach, beta had been degraded into nothing more than people using it as a means to test out a game before they bought it. You had numerous people who were technically illiterate making misleading comments, or unable to properly communicate a given issue. You had people farming for exploits (multi-player games mainly) to use to their advantage on release.

Lets be honest here though. All you are paying for is "early access". These days, for the most part... the bulk of bug finding is done by log programs they have running on peoples machines while playing in a beta. While is always helpful when someone finds and reports things, the idea that the "individual" is doing some major task is a bit of an exaggeration.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519872
15/07/14 03:41 PM
15/07/14 03:41 PM
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Garod Offline

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Question is how many "Serious" Early Access games are out there?
Have to admit my ignorance here since I've only really gone through this process with D:OS.

I did hear some other negative comments on games which went through KS/SEA and release which were negative. Does anyone have any positive examples?

If there are too few positive examples I'm afraid this is going to lose it's appeal to most people because it'll be too difficult distinguishing between those companies who do this seriously and others who are only using it as a cash cow and still deliver an unfinished product or bad product.

It may actually turn out detrimental to sales to have something as early access because of a negative perception linked to SEA eventually..

Again hope it doesn't go down that route but it's a possibility if too many games fail to deliver after SEA.


WeresheepVampire of Original Sin
WoOS - http://weresheep.net/doku.php
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Garod] #519875
15/07/14 03:48 PM
15/07/14 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted By: Garod
Question is how many "Serious" Early Access games are out there?
Have to admit my ignorance here since I've only really gone through this process with D:OS.

I did hear some other negative comments on games which went through KS/SEA and release which were negative. Does anyone have any positive examples?

How is that important? We talk about Larian here and they've already proven with D:OS that Early Access can be used in a reasonable way. I think that "established" studios with some reputation and experience how to handle a game development process are much more reliable here of course.

You have to look at it like that: is it a game you would normally preorder? If no, don't buy into Early Access, just ignore it until release. If yes, there is no reason not to buy into Early Access.

Last edited by LordCrash; 15/07/14 03:49 PM.

WOOS
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519895
15/07/14 04:15 PM
15/07/14 04:15 PM
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Garod Offline

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LC, you and me know this to be a fact, but for those people who either don't know Larian that well or are first time early access users will be put off at that point and as I mentioned early access can have a negative impact on later sales if this process becomes abused too often. Steam may at that point pull the plug on that feature entirely as well. So in my opinion it's a relevant question for Larian as well


WeresheepVampire of Original Sin
WoOS - http://weresheep.net/doku.php
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #519927
15/07/14 05:15 PM
15/07/14 05:15 PM
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I think Valve needs to have a contractual system in place for SEA, whereby developers are required to finish the game in 'X' amount of time, or forfeit a huge chunk of their profits. Failing to deliver a final game (not just an incomplete game marked as final) would potentially also be grounds for blocking said developer/publisher from SEA in the future. That would resolve a number of issues with early access.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Jito463] #519946
15/07/14 05:37 PM
15/07/14 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted By: Jito463
I think Valve needs to have a contractual system in place for SEA, whereby developers are required to finish the game in 'X' amount of time, or forfeit a huge chunk of their profits. Failing to deliver a final game (not just an incomplete game marked as final) would potentially also be grounds for blocking said developer/publisher from SEA in the future. That would resolve a number of issues with early access.


As a third party vendor I don't think Steam have the right to stipulate a SLA agreement like that.

Eg you order something from the Store, the Store says that they will have to order from the Manufacturer and that the Manufacturer expects delivery date to be 2 weeks. Your something doesn't arrive in time. The Store can refund you and cancel the order, but they can't force the Manufacturer to do anything.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Garod] #519949
15/07/14 05:39 PM
15/07/14 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted By: Garod
LC, you and me know this to be a fact, but for those people who either don't know Larian that well or are first time early access users will be put off at that point and as I mentioned early access can have a negative impact on later sales if this process becomes abused too often. Steam may at that point pull the plug on that feature entirely as well. So in my opinion it's a relevant question for Larian as well


As I said, Early Access is preorder with bonus. You don't usually preorder a game you don't at least trust 90% to be good. And if you just buy into an Early Access without sufficient information it's your own problem and your own responsibility. Game developers are not responsible for a reasonable behaviour of their customers.

If Steam "pulls the plug" anytime there will be different solutions. Nothing is set in stone.

I also don't agree on the negative effect on sales argument. Basically there is no difference between Early Access and preorder if you use the whole program like Larian did for D:OS. It might cause some people to actually preorder the game and use Early Access but this is no lost sale but just an earlier financial compensation. It's just a different time of paying not a question if people pay money for the game after all.

I think many people fall into the trap to generalize programs like Steam Early access. You have to assess the program on a game to game basic and evaluate in each case whether an early investment into a game is worth your money or not. I jst don't see any downsides to basically everyone if you handle it like Larian did for D:OS.


WOOS
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: Songbird] #519990
15/07/14 06:15 PM
15/07/14 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted By: Songbird
As a third party vendor I don't think Steam have the right to stipulate a SLA agreement like that.


Under normal circumstances, I would agree with you, but early access is a far cry from a regular retail release. The rules are a little more vague. I don't see it as "pre-order with a bonus", developers get a huge benefit from early access systems, both in funds and in feedback. I think 1 year is more than generous for a game to be in early access (maybe 18 months on the outside), and any longer than that is just milking it. If the developer can't get it to the stage where a year is sufficient to finish development on their own, then they should look elsewhere for the funds they need.

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #522297
17/07/14 07:55 PM
17/07/14 07:55 PM
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO frown




I hope D:OS will win the top spot again soon...


WOOS
Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #522308
17/07/14 08:14 PM
17/07/14 08:14 PM
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Posts: 366
Between Ghent and Aleroth
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Between Ghent and Aleroth
Dishonored? I bought it, but didn't find it THAT good. How long does that promotion last?

Re: Steam #1 Top Seller [Re: RtM] #522314
17/07/14 08:22 PM
17/07/14 08:22 PM
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Was a good run, but it had to end sometime. It'll probably stay in the top 10 for a while longer and then get a decent spike in the autumn sale!

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