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MrJoshL

Has Anyone Here Sold on Steam?

11 posts in this topic

As the title presumes, has anyone on these forums shipped a game via Steam/Steamworks? If so, I have two questions.

1) If the sale item in question is an indie game developed over a long period of time (as a hobby), is the seller required to be an incorporated business?

2) Is Steam (particularly Greenlight) similar to PayPal selling in that once you get approved, all they need is Tax ID, bank account(s), proof of identity, etc and your sale item is up for purchase, or is Steam like some publishers that do a full analysis of your product and company to see if it is worth selling?

I am just wondering, not selling anything (yet). I hope this question is answerable and doesn't violate any type of NDA or something. Thank you for any information, and I hope I don't violate any type of contract.

Edited by MrJoshL
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I've not sold anything on steam, but:

 

1) In most countries, if you're selling anything at all, you need to register as a business. Here in Australia, the simplest way is to go to the taxation-office's website and fill in the form to register as an individual/sole-trader, which takes 5 minutes, and when you're done you've got a business number (and the obligation to submit tax information for that business).

 

2) Steam is a publisher. Traditionally, you've gotten in touch with them like you would any publisher, and made a pitch for them to sell your game for you.

All greenlight has done is changed the way you get in touch with them -- you've got to 'pass' the greenlight system before you can negotiate your publishing deal now.

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I had these types of questions too. Like how does Steam handle the particulars of each country like taxes and so on.

 

For example, I have this IP in Argentina, and I want to sell it through Steam. How that would work? Does Steam sells an IP in a country when the IP has been registered in a different country? Or do I have to register my IP on each country I plan to sell it on.

 

I found how much costs to register an IP here but I didn't found other important things like taxes, and the laws concerning selling stuff in other countries or through online marketplaces.

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You would want to form a business entity just for the legal separation from yourself -- worst case scenario, someone sues and bankrupts your company, but at least yourself, personally, aren't taken with it. Usually, in the US, small software businesses form up as some kind of Corporation; often a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC), C Corporation or S Corporation. You'd want to speak with legal council to determine what's best for your situation specifically because these things not only provide you with certain protections, but also affect how the entity's earnings are taxed, and how you would want to get some kind of personal income out of the company's earnings.

 

As far as steam publishing you, they certainly do some level of evaluation of your game -- though I doubt that there's any strict qualifications process like there is with consoles. They don't just take any game though -- your game has to be "good", be market-ready, and fit into their catalog. Its their platform, so they can keep you off if they want to, for whatever reason.

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Thank you for your answers. To sum up my question #2 to a more concise form of what I meant, what is the level of interaction between you and Valve concerning selling the game and getting it published to Steam? For example, is it just an exchange of financial information, contracts, emails, and demo builds, or is it a very involved process (i.e. phone calls, meetings, company analysis, etc.)?

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It's my personal opinion that normal people and indies don't actually sell on Steam as everyone seems to think they do.  I personally have never been able to contact anyone who has ever sold anything on steam (From here or from trying to direct contact people found on steam).  Besides that you shouldn't take anyone's opinion on it from here you should contact steam directly and get their answers.

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It's my personal opinion that normal people and indies don't actually sell on Steam as everyone seems to think they do.  I personally have never been able to contact anyone who has ever sold anything on steam (From here or from trying to direct contact people found on steam).  Besides that you shouldn't take anyone's opinion on it from here you should contact steam directly and get their answers.

 

A couple indie developers on GameDev.net have gotten on Steam. One by going through a publisher [game on steam], and the other seems to be self-published on Steam [game on steam].

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It's my personal opinion that normal people and indies don't actually sell on Steam as everyone seems to think they do.  I personally have never been able to contact anyone who has ever sold anything on steam (From here or from trying to direct contact people found on steam).  Besides that you shouldn't take anyone's opinion on it from here you should contact steam directly and get their answers.

There is one company here in Argentina who is selling a game through Steam. It's a rather bad game (so no "good games only" filter I guess) from what I've read sadly BUT they have it there, and no other company involved besides Valve of course.

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I sell through Steam, self-published.

Yes, I would recommend starting a company for that, though I released when I ran out of money for forming a corporation, so I released it as an individual. I have the advantage of living in EU where frivolous lawsuits against individuals are easier and cheaper to get thrown out. I'm not sure anything I say is relevant to you as I am dealing with international taxation. In any case, it will not be very difficult but I'd recommend having an accountant so that you can apply for the deductions and the like. Valve will report from their end to the IRS, but you may need to report to the IRS as well.

Re: analysis, yes, they'll look at your game and see if it is any good. Or that's how it was in 2010. Now they got greenlight, but they still review. Steam is a quality portal. And the advertisement slots you get depend to how well your game is doing. I got lucky to be spinning in the main banner rotation (on the Steam homepage) for a whole week plus on the holiday sales.

Re: the warz, I was tad surprised at shitstorm. I guess it is some sort of stupid viral thing. Edited by Dmytry
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There is one company here in Argentina who is selling a game through Steam. It's a rather bad game (so no "good games only" filter I guess) from what I've read sadly BUT they have it there, and no other company involved besides Valve of course.

 

If you are talking about War Z,

No biggrin.png War Z is russian I think. I was talking about "Bunch of Heroes" from NGD Studios. That one us published through Steam, and their MMORPG is called Regnum Online, which I played a few years ago and is pretty fun but lacked in content (probably fixed that up by now), art is pretty WoWish though (it was developed when WoW was the thing to play after all).

 

I don't agree about War Z though. The developers did have experience with previous games (and actually, seems that most of their War Z assets are from previous games) and there are waaaaay more fishy things around the whole issue that I'm comfortable with to think about it as an "honest mistake". But that is offtopic.

 

And about Greenlight. Well yeah, I mean, the people that vote are the same people that buy CoD each single year. We're all to blame for that, even if we like to think we do are the "PC Gaming Master Race". And I've seen the worst of Steam users with the whole Skyrim Workshop issue (for example, modder launches mod using SKSE in Steam, gets a shitstorm for being a "lazy bastard" who wont make the mod a standalone thing, obviously ignoring that you can't get some functionality at all without SKSE).

 

I guess its a faith thing. Its bad sometimes but it can get better once the community gets accustomed to it and, after a few mistakes, can mature enough to efficiently choose what games should be Greenlight'd and what games shouldn't see the light of the day.

 

Greenlight (and Kickstarter) are a very recent thing (as in, they become popular recently), and as the Workshop, it will take time until the community gets wiser about it. Users will be childish about it because the whole thing its in its infancy. Like any other online community, give it a few years.

Edited by TheChubu
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