What Happens After a Game Release? / by Xiaosong Shang

Hello everyone! Sam Martino here.

I wanted to talk about releasing your game once its done, things are already very different from when we listed Ashes of Kanaka, and I wanted to go into all of the different options we have now.

When Ashes of Kanaka was coming out, there were obviously many different platforms to release on, but none had anywhere near the traction that Steam does. While it would have been much easier to release our game on the indie platforms, we thought the best chance we had to succeed was to get on Steam. This was towards the end of Greenlight, and had we not had the connections in Valve that we do, I don’t know if we would have gotten through Greenlight in a reasonable amount of time. Once you’ve made it on Steam, the hardest part is now making your game stand out on the store. Now that Greenlight is gone, the market is filled with so many indie games coming out every single day. From our understanding, Steam prioritizes games that it pushes based on how many reviews it has. I have to say that getting reviews on our game has been the hardest process when it comes to post-release. Ashes of Kanaka has over 2,000 downloads, and I think we’re only sitting at around 4 reviews. It makes life really difficult because you’re really limited in what you can do when you don’t even have a public rating (this comes from having enough reviews.) Up until recently, this was the only way, in my opinion, for your game to have a shot in the PC market.

Due to Steam policies and the emergence of major publishers releasing their own launchers to avoid dealing with Steam, several companies have stepped up to create a viable alternative to selling your game on Steam. Discord announced they would begin selling games on their platform, which was a major development as I cannot think of anyone I play games with that doesn’t have Discord. Discord is a popular enough platform that your game may actually stand out more because of how new it is and with how widely used it is by everyone. EPIC announced their store last month and that, in my opinion, is going to be a major contender to Steam. EPIC not only is challenging the industry standard by only taking 18% of revenue from developers (the standard is currently 30%), they also wave the entire royalty fee for using Unreal Engine if you launch on their platform. EPIC has just as much standing as Discord as Fortnite is widely played across the globe, meaning that everyone already has the store installed on their machines.

I think we’re going to see a lot more players come into the game distribution market, this will hopefully be a good thing for indie developers as each large platform begins competing to get the most developers.

As always, please reach out to me at smartino@dogwoodgaming.com with any comments or questions. I always love hearing from you guys!