Steam discounts give boost for developers

Studios tell Gamasutra that price cuts spark greater interest and additional sales even after the discounts expire.

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Developers say Steam sales aren't just good for Valve's bottom line. Gamasutra spoke with Valve and several studios that have had their products significantly discounted during Steam promotions, and found that both sales and interest in the games were boosted even after the sales concluded.

The Kid never gave too much thought to the intrinsic value of his intellectual property.

Runic Studios' Torchlight, which was released in October 2009, hit its second-biggest sales day ever in the recently concluded Steam Summer Sale. "We find that we get several thousand percent increases in units and revenue on the days of the Steam sales, and unit sales are usually about double the normal for a few weeks after the sales are over," said Runic Games CEO Max Schaefer. Bastion's launch day, which Supergiant Games' Amir Rao said the company viewed as very strong, is now "only our fifth best day of sales ever on Steam due to the power of the promotions we've had the opportunity to participate in."

The Binding of Isaac, Edmund McMillen's Zelda-inspired roguelike shooter, was briefly discounted by 75 percent to a $1.24 price point. Its sales increased 60 times over in that period, McMillen said. While the discounts mean the games go for significantly less than they would normally, the sheer explosion of purchases more than makes up for smaller individual gains. "It's not uncommon for our partners to see [a] 10-20 times revenue increase on games they run as a 'Daily Deal,'" said Jason Holtman, Valve's director of business development. He said most games that participate see a positive trend in sales figures even after the discounts expire.

The findings run counter to allegations from EA Origin head David DeMartini, who said the sales damage intellectual property and discourage users from buying the games outside of special promotions. They do, however, jibe with the philosophy espoused by Valve founder Gabe Newell at the 2009 D.I.C.E. summit. Newell said a weekend half-price sale on its first zombie-slaying co-op shooter Left 4 Dead boosted sales by 3,000 percent, better than even its launch week, without significantly impacting figures at retail.

Discussion

0 comments
Phazevariance
Phazevariance

I spent about $120 in total those 10 days, and my list went from 10 games to 75. Defiantely worth it... but most importantly they ahd me on steam every day, which is somethign Gabe (and eventualyl other devs) also benefit from with exposure.

LeviHarris
LeviHarris

I ended up spending something like 45 bucks this weekend and got 9 games. Some full-priced, some discounted, but I''ve never bought 9 of anything in one sitting. You're telling me that such carefree spending sprees and word of mouth experiences are HURTING the games industry?  I think not, chumly. Now excuse me while I go enjoy some old school X-Com UFO defense.

LordRaymond
LordRaymond

Some people take EA's comments too seriously.

Taffelost
Taffelost

Most games are forgotten just a few months after release. I can only speak for myself and that means during the Steam sales I buy a lot of games I would otherwise never buy at full price. If I were a developer I would be more happy if 1 million people played my game at a reduced price, than if 100.000 payed full price.

 

EA is once again showing how out of touch they are with it's customers. It's almost parodic when they slam Steam sales and then a month later they try the same on Origin.

nurse_tsunami
nurse_tsunami

I picked up so many titles in the Summer Sale.  I need to find time to sit down and play them all now!  Funny how EA was once again wrong on how the game market works...

Dustyn-Barlow
Dustyn-Barlow

loved that summer sale.  a couple of weeks ago i had never heard of spellforce, so i bought all 6 games for like 15 bucks and i'm now a huge fan!

evil-zodiark
evil-zodiark

If valve makes a consol then nintendo/sony/Microsoft can kiss all my money goodbye!

MrUntouchable18
MrUntouchable18

I lost about 60 dollars on the Steam Sale sigh I'd do it again I need L4D and psychonauts. 

Chozn275
Chozn275

Oh steam Summer and Winter sales, how you make me happy!

xshadowzz
xshadowzz

Moral of the story = more sales, valve! :3

oldschoolvandal
oldschoolvandal

EA does not want Steam to make more money than they do with better market practices? What a surprise...

 

Even if EA said that it is not good for business they had their own "summer sale" on origin...there were a bunch of titles with 50% off....curiosly during the same period that the Steam summer sale was going on... That has to be coincidence....

santinegrete
santinegrete

the deals I get on AAA on steam are more fair trades to me than, well, deals. Let's face it: between a physical copy that won't be worth nothing when the publisher kills the DRM autentication server and waiting for a discount of at least 50%, at least you didn't pirate, nor got ripped of. Then there's good deals like Bastion of less than 4 bucks.

Colekern
Colekern

The only game I bought during the Summer Sale was Crysis 2 for $11.

Urizen5
Urizen5

My secret dream is that Nintendo and steam join forces. The company with the best and most IP's joined with a company with the best service to sell those IP's.

Merex760
Merex760

EA is just bad for gaming. They ruined Bioware, and they are all about screwing the consumer in every way possible. 

TheKiwiMantis
TheKiwiMantis

Am I the only person who looks at his library of ... 500+ games for one hour and think... What game should I play? Then give up and just watch TV... ???

 

I have literally done that one day. No exaggeration on the 'one hour' btw.

But nowadays, I only spend like 20-30 minutes looking at my library thinking of what game to play then decide to either watch TV or play minecraft.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

Xbox and Playstation need to have big sales like these on their digital stores. I really enjoy the Steam sales and I pick up a lot of backlog games for dirt cheap, which raises my awareness of games I otherwise would not have experienced and puts me in a likely position to purchase the sequel or other games from the developer.

Gundamdesign
Gundamdesign

I'm not really into PC gaming besides I have a mac and always wanted to play L4D2 but never felt like paying full price for it, discounts make people go crazy so I bought it lol

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

The only thing negatively affected by Steams' sales is Origin. Sorry, EA. 

draken2533
draken2533

Our game sale on steam jumped up sales about 1500%!!! EA can shove it

top8cat
top8cat

The way Steam sales work:

 

Steam:*Skyrim is released*

 

Everyone; OMG this is the greatest game ever!

You: I don't like Elder Scrolls games and even if I did, 60usd is crazy

Youtube: "Fus-ro-dah", "Arrow to the knee", "LOLOMFG! Mods!"

You: -__-

 

Steam: *Skyrim now 33% off*

 

You: Ok, I'll buy it *Bought*

 

(or)

 

You: Spec Ops? I hate military shooters

Critics: "Spec Ops will blow your mind!"

You: Eh, I'm not spending money on a game I know I'll hate

 

Steam:*Spec Ops 10usd*

 

You: *Bought*

 

Steam sales get people to buy games they'd otherwise never play, and then when the next game of that type releases they might purchase them at higher prices to play them sooner. Not to mention that for me, half the games I bought I haven't played, so essentially (with the service being digital) Valve has just made money for handing me a digitally produced serial key that I may never use, so there's also that.

Strategygamer22
Strategygamer22

I've bought almost everything I have on Steam when it was on sale, and it introduced me to many games that I would have never bought otherwise, such as Atom Zombie Smasher and Avadon: The Black Fortress.  I do agree that having so many sales has made refuse to buy things full price (I waited over 6 months for Puzzle Quest to go on sale instead of paying full price), but I doubt that in the end it "damages intellectual property". 

dkdk999
dkdk999

I wish EA would just die.

DemonChorro
DemonChorro

Well you see, obviously Origin was just butt hurt.

runarjenssen
runarjenssen

NO NO NO! Don't you all know this is a CONSPIRACY?! Steam intentionally cheapens the value of intellectual... oh go fuckyourself EA.

Addice
Addice

This article is filled with LIES! Obviously the EA suit was right that the Steam sale hurts IPs!

 

I love the Steam Sale. I spent around 80 bucks on games I passed up on when they were released because I was on the fence with them. I was also able to pick up a game or two that I bought at release for the 360 but I wanted to play it on the PC instead.

 

EA can't seem to swallow the bitter pill that people don't want to buy their games and use their services because of them as a company. It seems that they want to use any excuse to force their customers to pay full price.

 

Steam is not a perfect company but it is leaps and bounds better than EA in terms of giving back to their consumer base.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

I only spent around 25 bucks on the steam sale, but was able to get 5 games instead of 1!  I have loved the steam sales so much, and would not have bought nearly as many games as I have over the past few years.  Starting with the ID and Epic game packs when they went on extreme deals when they were first added way back when...

 

Thanks for being a bargain hunter's dream, Steam!

8bitgen
8bitgen

this is why steam is best on the market. and i'm laughing at EA origin for getting caught being full BS. steam allows us to play long gone classics and new games at better deal. and as you can see steam is not only one making huge profit. EA saying it damages lol it may damage EA but thats about it. thank goodness bioware had deal before ea got them.

big_guy2k4
big_guy2k4

Honestly... if it wasnt for the sale I wouldnt have ever bought any of the many games I did. And half-normal price is better than nothing for the devs I suppose. And honestly... The makers of Tribes Ascend deserve my money from the reduced price starter pack.

rarson
rarson

 @MrUntouchable18 

 

Get the Double Fine bundle if it's still available, Psychonauts, Costume Quest, and Stacking for like 10 bucks, I think.

santinegrete
santinegrete

 @Colekern I was about to do the same, but I'm so dissapointed with Origin that I didn't get it just for a little sake of punishment to EA

s_h_a_d_o
s_h_a_d_o

 @Colekern 

Lol - an EA title - and one they refused to allow on Steam originally to push Origin. :)

Colekern
Colekern

 @Urizen5 Steam would be amazing with, well, any console, really. Being able to hook up your computer to your Xbox or Ps3 would be sweet.

Colekern
Colekern

 @TheKiwiMantis I hope you got those games for a buck, no, less, because you spent well over Five hundred dollars if you didn't.

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

 @Gundamdesign from what I've seen on the Steam store lately, Mac has been getting a lot of love. At least a lot more than before. It seems more and more games are beginning to show up for both windows and mac.

quantumtheo
quantumtheo

 @Addice Yeah I'm confused.... your first line seems to directly contradict the rest of your post, were you being sarcastic with that first line?

8bitgen
8bitgen

 @Addice how can you call it lies without proof to back it up. 

8bitgen
8bitgen

 @quantumtheo agreed i picked up jade empire day after the sale for only $3.74. 

demonic_85
demonic_85

 @big_guy2k4 Agreed, I picked up a lot of indie games in sales like these and i'm more inclined to buy more of their games after enjoying the ones I got on sale. Everybody wins :D

Colekern
Colekern

 @santinegrete Sorry, but $11 is hard to pass up, especially when it comes with the DLC.

Colekern
Colekern

 @diablonn Anyone else notice how dkdk999, diablonn, and me all have Mass Effect related profile pics?

runarjenssen
runarjenssen

 @quantumtheo What he said first was meant as sarcasm, and as a taunt against EA. The rest of the post was what he really meant. ;)

Addice
Addice

 @quantumtheo Yeah I think I am better at sarcasm with spoken word rather than written word.

Addice
Addice

 @8bitgen  I was being sarcastic.

 

I do think that the Steam Sale is good for the industry. It can give exposure to games and developers people might not have considered before.

santinegrete
santinegrete

 @Addice  Plants Vs Zombies and Me are the best example of that. I hated indies until I played that game.

8bitgen
8bitgen

 @PeetBurton i thought about getting that but ended up with railroad tycoon 2 instead.