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nomad3d

indie game release and pricing question

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nomad3d    104
I have in development two games that I plan on releasing through steam and I wanted the input of the people here. The two games are different in style and game play, but are both basically casual games. I plan to setup a website and release demos/trailers when they near completion(2-3 months). The first is a side scrolling puzzle game with 20 maps increasing in difficulty. Each map is separated into three individual parts that you can save progress along the way. Even each part can be completed independently of the previous parts allowing you to complete the game at your own leisure. There is also an online component so you can play with a friend. As an added feature you can create puzzles and share them online. The second is a multiplayer game. The game comes with 12 maps that up to 32 players can play together. Customizable characters, weapons, power ups and large environments and five game modes(deathmatch, capture the flag, etc). No single player mode. You can create your own maps and share online. What I'm mulling over is how to package them. Should I release them separately(14.99 and 9.99 respectively) or as a two game pack(19.99). They are two games that could stand on their own but my reasoning is since one is only a multiplayer game and the other is a solid single player game the two could complement each other. Maybe I should do both, if people want to play both games they can get the game pack at a $5 savings or they can grab one without having to buy a game they don't want. Thanks for reading. Any feedback appreciated.

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Speeder    150
If you make a more expensive game pack, one thing is sure: here on brazil it will be pirated (people here pirate anything that is more expensive than 9 USD)

You could make three options: one for 14, the other for 9 and the two togheter for 19 (I meant, instead of going for one or another do BOTH)

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monalaw    1367
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the distributor/retailer and not the developer/publisher sets the price of games being sold.

I know that when a publisher/distributor deals with a retailer, the retailer sets the price. In the US at least the publisher isn't supposed to set or force the price of a game on retailers because it's considered price fixing under US law.

I'm not sure how Steam deals work, but as they offer monthly discounts for a variety of products by different pubs/devs, I'm pretty sure they'd be the ones who make that decision.

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Morgan Ramsay    179
Quote:
Original post by madelelaw
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure the distributor/retailer and not the developer/publisher sets the price of games being sold.
Refer to the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) concept. You don't have to sell through retailers though. Direct sales and digital distribution is the way to go, especially if you have a solid marketing strategy in place.

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monalaw    1367
Quote:
Refer to the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) concept. You don't have to sell through retailers though. Direct sales and digital distribution is the way to go, especially if you have a solid marketing strategy in place.


Yeah, I'm familiar with MSRP and MAP dollars, etc., which is why I brought it up. I'm not 100% on its application as far as digital sales go. Getting back to the OP, if you're distributing through Steam I'd think there would be a digital distribution agreement in place. Who has discretion to determine the price of your game under that agreement? Has anyone dealt with distributing through Steam before?

I'm just wondering if the OP will actually be able to make the price call, or if that's Steam's prerogative. As I said, Steam offers weekly discounts for a wide variety of games, so it seems like they have control over how their games are priced.

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Morgan Ramsay    179
Quote:
Original post by madelelaw
Getting back to the OP, if you're distributing through Steam I'd think there would be a digital distribution agreement in place. Who has discretion to determine the price of your game under that agreement?
Digital distribution is e-tailing. Amazon.com, Steam, etc.—you can't set their prices either.

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Obscure    175
Has anyone pronouncing upon how Steam works actually published anything through Steam and have actual knowledge of the deals? From my discussions with publishers who distribute through Steam it certainly seems that they set their own price.

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EdR    117
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Has anyone pronouncing upon how Steam works actually published anything through Steam and have actual knowledge of the deals? From my discussions with publishers who distribute through Steam it certainly seems that they set their own price.
From what I know (I haven't published through them, but I have received some of their developer info stuff) that is correct - they set their own prices.

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neonic    367
There are several different contracts that you must enter into in order to get your game sold on Steam. If you were actually serious about it, might I suggest a flight out to their Headquarters for a meeting with Doug Lombardi? It would be the quickest way to negotiate, and being there in person typically lends credence to your seriousness as a developer.

Anyways, an easier option might be to distribute your game electronically via Protexis' RED (Retail Electronic Distribution) service that they offer. Visit www.protexis.com and E-mail Jason Kiwaluk (jason.kiwaluk@protexis.com) for more information. Basically, they offer a middleman type service where they host your game exe file on their server, and then their retail partners (big names like tigerdirect.com, download.com, etc.) link to your game via their online store-front. They can be browsing games at any of those retailers sites and can purchase them straight from there. The retailer and protexis take a 30% cut (total) and you keep the other 70%. It seems pretty fair. Also, there is no exclusivity deal either, so you are free to pursue other routes of publishing in addition to the RED plan.

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nomad3d    104
Thanks for the replies. I plan to sell the games individually and in a pack together at a discount(if the distributor will allow this). Hopefully the pricing point and the use of steamworks components will curb some pirating(one can dream right?). Taking a trip down to their headquarters is out because as a simple indie developer (violin playing)those funds would be put to better use(lights, food, etc...). I can get the ball rolling while the games are in beta testing and have all the paperwork finished before the games are released. If things fall through I can always take them to another service or self distribute. Does anyone know the percentage steam will take from sales and if they require exclusivity?

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Obscure    175
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.

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JBourrie    1204
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.

Yep, you're right. It sure didn't work with the Orange Box... [razz] [lol]

The one thing you need to make sure of is that they both target the same audience. The Orange Box had a single player story-based action/adventure, a multiplayer deathmatch game, and a puzzle game, but they all targeted the same audience. If you can do the same, packaging them together might be worthwhile. If not, it probably won't help your sales any.

Then again, pre-ordering the Orange Box did give Steam users a free copy of Peggle... and that's a totally different type of game.

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Trapper Zoid    1370
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.

However if you're already packaging the games up individually for online sales, surely it's not much more effort to offer an additional option of both as a combo pack?

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Morgan Ramsay    179
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.
How about a collection of games (e.g., EA Sports Collection, Arcade Classics)?

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monalaw    1367
Quote:
Original post by JBourrie
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.

Yep, you're right. It sure didn't work with the Orange Box... [razz] [lol]

The one thing you need to make sure of is that they both target the same audience. The Orange Box had a single player story-based action/adventure, a multiplayer deathmatch game, and a puzzle game, but they all targeted the same audience. If you can do the same, packaging them together might be worthwhile. If not, it probably won't help your sales any.

Then again, pre-ordering the Orange Box did give Steam users a free copy of Peggle... and that's a totally different type of game.


Anyone know if Steam requires a distribution fee from its publishers, and if so, how it's divied? I'd understand it if they were content with taking their distribution fee from gross sales on products that they know will sell well, but would an indie dev get the same kind of deal?

What are the fees from other digital distributors, and when/how are they accounted?

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Trinavarta    146
I think that most times it is not a wise choice to pack up 2 games together. It looks usually a bit like that one game alone is not good enough, it makes it a bit "cheap". This is a bit like selling a game for too less. You can sell your casual game for $1 or for $10, most people would choose the $10-variant, because they think its "better".

If both games sold well and the sells start decreasing you can generate some new customers with offering "gold editions" or "2in1" packs.

best regards and best of luck with your games,

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Obscure    175
Quote:
Original post by Morgan Ramsay
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.
How about a collection of games (e.g., EA Sports Collection, Arcade Classics)?
A collection of Sports games.... a collection of classic arcade games... each contain games which target the same market. The OP is doing a single player puzzle game and a multi-player only death match game.

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Morgan Ramsay    179
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
A collection of Sports games.... a collection of classic arcade games... each contain games which target the same market. The OP is doing a single player puzzle game and a multi-player only death match game.
I've seen collections of games by specific developers or publishers. Nomad 3D Collection?

You can also bundle commoditized products for convenience consumers, which is the case for classic arcade games. If the op's games only differ in gameplay—for example, Jazz Jackrabbit versus Jazz Jackrabbit 3D—they can be bundled as a brand collection, too.

Based on the information provided, there's no good way to determine what exactly should be done. But you're right that the safe bet is to sell the products individually.

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eedok    982
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
Quote:
Original post by Morgan Ramsay
Quote:
Original post by Obscure
I think bundling two totally different games together is a mistake as the games have nothing in common.
How about a collection of games (e.g., EA Sports Collection, Arcade Classics)?
A collection of Sports games.... a collection of classic arcade games... each contain games which target the same market. The OP is doing a single player puzzle game and a multi-player only death match game.


are you saying it's as insane as putting peggle in the Orange Box?

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Trinavarta    146
Quote:
are you saying it's as insane as putting peggle in the Orange Box?


I think everyone would add a small version of his casual game to a retail game box like that.

After playing 10Levels of this peggle-extreme version you are offered to buy the full version, so its just a different way of advertising in my eyes.

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