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EGDEric

Why don't more indies have their own store?

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I noticed that very few small game companies have their own storefronts. Many of them will direct you to Steam, GoG, or something like it. Some may even sell you a steam key right on their site.

Is a storefront a game storefront a hard thing to maintain on a website?

I used to buy games from Spiderweb Software (way back in the day), and they still have the option of buying games on their website directly. Spiderweb Software is pretty small, it's just one person plus a few hired hands AFAIK.

I'm asking because I was thinking of having my own storefront, are there good reasons why I shouldn't? Is it more trouble than it's worth?

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You could have your own website, but no one will even know about it.  Being on Steam means that a lot of people can search and find your game.

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2 hours ago, 0r0d said:

You could have your own website, but no one will even know about it.  Being on Steam means that a lot of people can search and find your game.

This was working back in the old days. Currently, you most likely won't get featured on Steam or anywhere else unless you pay for ads/promotion elsewhere (so that people will know about our new product).

Of course the quality of the project you release, along with its presentation play a huge role.

 

Having own show and own website may or may not have sense - this depends on how you approach marketing of your game. From experience, it will most likely end up being more costly than using a distribution system like Steam.

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9 minutes ago, Vilem Otte said:

 From experience, it will most likely end up being more costly than using a distribution system like Steam. 

Can you elaborate on your experience?

6 hours ago, JonaDev03 said:

Having your game on a well known store is better and cheaper than making your own store.

How expensive is it to maintain a simple storefront on a website? Something where you enter credit card info and buy the game.

2 hours ago, 0r0d said:

You could have your own website, but no one will even know about it.  Being on Steam means that a lot of people can search and find your game. 

Couldn't you have both?

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2 minutes ago, EGDEric said:

Couldn't you have both?

It depends - F.e. Paradox Interactive does so (they have Paradox store and also games available on Steam). I believe Steam still doesn't require exclusivity in standard agreements, in which sense - yes you can have both.

3 minutes ago, EGDEric said:

How expensive is it to maintain a simple storefront on a website?

Payment system requires some maintenance, also Steam (and others) can do quite simple reports you are required for taxes. Especially in EU (from experience), running our own store can be administratively quite heavy.

The cost will depend on scale, how much administrative work you will need, etc. It can go anywhere from few hundred EUR per month to tens of thousands EUR per month.

5 minutes ago, EGDEric said:

Can you elaborate on your experience?

Sadly, I can't disclose full cost and details of such system publicly. Bear in mind that implementing good payment system, along with systems allowing you to do useful reports and properly connecting with software you do taxes in - is a time consuming task.

I can although disclose approximate price for implementing similar system (using a third party payment processor) - which does reports, is connected with other software, etc. ... It will end up in tens of thousands EUR. Implementation can be done within few months (even though you can have the source running faster - bureaucracy will kick in, it is also possible that you will be required to pass some audits). It is possible you will need a full time employee in the end to administrate the system after (which gives you approximate guess on maintenance cost).

 

It will heavily differ whether you want a simple 'Buy Now' button, without any connection to other software or reporting ... or whether you want complex solution that is capable of doing large part of accounting stuff, is directly connected to license generation, etc.

Note. You can argue that you can do most of the work yourself, I'm not denying that - while you won't spend tens of thousands on somebody doing it for you, you will still have to do the work such employee would do (which is of course major part of that amount).

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I've been thinking about this too recently. For a side project (non-games) I had to set up our own installers, patcher, content distribution network, cd-key service, encrypted DRM / product registration, etc... Which was actually a fun exercise because this hasn't been something that Devs actually do anymore since Steam took over the world 😆

Now that we've built all this tech, I'm wondering if we should sell a non-steam version of our game on our website (as well as selling the Steam version directly on our site too)... I'm also wondering if other Devs would be interested in this stuff we've built - we could put it out there as a kind of "self hosted steam alternative".

For anyone not aware, Steam allows you to generate steam keys and then sell them directly on your own site at full price (which means Steam don't take the 30% cut on those sales!) and Humble Bundle offers a service to automate this for you and handle the credit card processing responsibilities for around 5% if I remember correctly. That's worthwhile setting up, at least. If you have your own non-steam version with keys via your own system, I think you can sell them via the humble widget for 5% too.

(Also, if you're going to buy a Steam game, you should always go check if you can buy a Steam key direct from the developer to save them those extra few dollars 😁)

For our game, I'm also looking into a blockchain-sold version, where you'd buy it by exchanging cryptocurrency for a non-fungible-token that represents a game license/key. The (automated) log-in process would check your public wallet address to see if you have the right token in your wallet, and then challenge for a signature from that wallet to prove ownership. The people who love their cryptos would be right into that...

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On 8/24/2019 at 9:05 AM, Hodgman said:

(Also, if you're going to buy a Steam game, you should always go check if you can buy a Steam key direct from the developer to save them those extra few dollars 😁)

...and Gabe will die of hunger :D

I didn't know you could sell steam-keys without Steam eating up those 30%, also the info with Humble Bundle helping you out with this for 5%, that's a nice piece of info.

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