Finishing up development and distributing a game seems simple enough, right? You just playtest it into submission, then send it to Steam and people immediately buy it en masse, right? Steam will handle the promotion after that… RIGHT?!
Well, partly. But there is a LOT to know when it comes to actually distributing your indie game. And there are lots of options for distribution that go far beyond Steam.
While Steam can do a good job of promoting new or trending games, the sheer volume of titles available there can overwhelm first-time devs or even more established ones, making your specific game very difficult to find. The first week of release, Steam makes games visible in the New Releases section, but they use an algorithm similar to YouTube or Facebook that rewards big and popular titles far more than new and not-yet-established titles. The trick there is to make sure your game is immediately popular as soon as it’s released.
Despite the difficulty of getting a foothold, Steam is still the standard platform for computer-games distribution. They make it so easy to sell, purchase and play games that devs would be foolish not to use it. Same is true for the App Store and Google Play. However, if you only use these “main” storefronts to distribute your game, you are selling yourself short.
Today’s indie developers have a (sometimes alarmingly) large number of options for supplemental distribution for their games. And many of those websites get massive traffic and offer a considerably better profit-share than Steam. And because they are third-parties, they generally have fewer games to promote and therefore far less competition to get your game exposed.
Indie Valley, for example, allows gamers to support indie developers directly, purchasing games and getting the devs a higher profit margin than they would receive from Steam. Companies like this work to help indies succeed in the increasingly competitive and difficult market.
We talked to Indie Valley's CEO and here's what we learned about what they can offer devs:
- More than 6,5 million customers;
- A customized online store for every developer that they’ll help you create;
- Sales maximization with marketing and promotions;
- A commission system with rates among the best in the industry;
- 24/7 support in more than 20 languages;
- A nice social media exposure with dedicated posts, livestream programs with ads, giveaways, and interviews;
- Newsletters, press releases, reviews, etc;
- Real-time marketing, extra sales and discounts, cool landing pages, affiliate programs and push notifications on their app.