One developer's attempt to survey other developer's about Steam

Discussion in 'PC Gaming' started by Silent_Buddha, May 9, 2019.

  1. Silent_Buddha

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    So, to get this out of the way, this is from a recent blog post by one of my all time favorite developers. He's an indie dev. that has had a modicum of success. He's also very good at talking various things that independent developers go through as well as how Steam has evolved over the years.

    Operation Tell Valve All The Things, 3.0
    https://www.fortressofdoors.com/operation-tell-valve-all-the-things-3-0/

    As you can see it's the 3rd survey he's done, but unfortunately he hasn't had the time to be as in depth as he did on the past 2.

    It's not all roses for Steam and it's not all garbage for Steam from developer's POV. However, up through 2017, the vast majority of Developer's viewed Valve either neutrally or positively. The vast majority also felt either neutral or positively that Valve was earning their 30% in 2016-2017. And all surveyed developer's felt that at some point in their relationship with Valve, that Valve earned their 30%

    In 2018, however, things took a sharp downturn. A big part of that was the October Bug (read about it here: https://www.pcgamer.com/a-steam-bug-has-reportedly-halved-the-revenue-of-some-indie-developers/ ). The result was that for the first time ever the majority of developers didn't think Valve was earning their 30%.

    Valve relies on algorithms to try to manage the store because while Valve has a few hundred employees, there are many thousands of developers trying to sell their game. It's kind of like Amazon who is constantly trying to tweak their algorithms to deal with the people trying to "game their system."

    I encourage people to take a read, also his other blog posts are absolutely fascinating if you want to get an inside look at the trials and tribulations of a independent developer who has had a fair bit of success after some struggles.

    Also at the bottom of the page Lars Doucet lays out the issues that Developer's have raised in the previous 2 surveys and that Valve has addressed.
    _____________________________________________

    https://enthraler.com/custom/tellvalve2017/ [edit - I didn't notice before, but that was from the 2017 survey. I'd be interested to see if there was one for the 2018 survey]

    That was linked in the article, but one thing I found particularly interesting. On the top survey box, if you go to the right about 7 times, you'll get to a visualization of "Which ONE platform would you prefer to be PC games' market leader?" The majority of surveyed developers still want Steam to be the market leading storefront.

    That's interesting considering that a lot of developer's are considering putting their games on the Epic storefront in additional to Steam or perhaps at the exclusion of Steam even though they feel that it's extremely risky and that the Epic storefront just isn't very good. That October Bug in 2017 really made a lot of smaller developers nervous about Steam.


    And finally, if people think Epic is the solution. Valve throw a lot of money and effort into trying to improve the situation for developers. If Epic ever gets to be a large fraction of the size of Steam, how will they handle things? Will their 12% cut even allow them to put much effort into curation or visibility? Will they just deny entry to all but a small handful of developers? How will they handle visibility for smaller developers? Etc.

    I think a lot of the mid-size and smaller developers that are considering putting their games on the Epic storefront are in for a rude awakening. Whether that be Epic just denying them access to the storefront or Epic doing a worse job than Steam at addressing their various concerns (of which while revenue share is the #2 concern, there are a lot more issues they want addressed).

    Valve obviously still needs to keep working to improve. But with so many developers who often want Valve to implement contradictory things or to implement thing that are beneficial for them but potentially harmful to other developers, it's not an easy task.

    As well, when making changes at the behest of developers Valve needs to be very careful to avoid another October Bug.

    Regards,
    SB
     
    #1 Silent_Buddha, May 9, 2019
    Last edited: May 9, 2019
    Lightman and tongue_of_colicab like this.
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