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26 Sep 2013

Selling Your Indie PC Game Without Steam

When you want to sell your indie PC game, Steam isn’t the only game in town: rather, there are a host of additional platforms where you can sell your game to the masses. Whether you are selling your very first game or your tenth game, it pays (literally) to keep a few of these platforms in mind. Take a look at a few of the games the Web has to offer below, choose the ideal platform for your situation, and hopefully you will see an abundance of sales for your new indie title!

GOG

GOG started out as a marketplace where only older games were sold (GOG originally stood for ‘Good Old Games’ after all). Today, GOG not only sells some of the best games of yesteryear, but also the latest indie PC titles. In terms of the revenue you earn, GOG gives developers 70% of what they earn (the same percentage Steam gives to developers). However, unique to GOG is that developers can ask for upfront royalties, to which GOG will pay them 40% of the revenue earned until the upfront payment has been returned. Once this occurs, GOG will transition into the normal 70% once again. It’s a pretty nice feature to say the least.

Games must also be DRM free, no exceptions. While this is great news for customers, this makes it incredible easy for copies of the game they purchase to be given to friends or uploaded to the Internet so freeloaders can pirate the game freely. When purchasing a game, each game is downloaded in a setup file, meaning installing a game onto one’s computer is as easy as opening the setup file and allowing the game to uninstall successful. Again, this is extremely appealing to customers, but for developers that are hoping to earn as much as possible from their indie PC title? It isn’t exactly music to one’s ears.

With that negative aside, if you can place your indie game on GOG, you will find that you have very few games to compete against, meaning not every game will be sold on the platform. Even so, beginning the process of getting your game onto GOG is as easy as sending the friendly folks a message stating your intent to have your game sold on the platform. They will provide you with the information that you need (usually very quickly), and from there you will be able to apply for selling your game via GOG. Add to the fact there are extremely active forums on GOG (meaning buzz about your game will get around the community fairly quickly), and GOG, despite having a strict DRM-only rule, is a fairly solid choice for selling your indie title.

Humble Store

From the team behind the stellar Humble Bundles comes the Humble Store. You will notice there isn’t actually a site dedicated to the Humble Store (more on the details of that in a moment), because it is still very much in beta. The Humble Store is only available via a widget, meaning you will want to place the widget on your website in order for people to purchase the game. Sure, it’s a bit inconvenient, but consider this: you receive 95% of every sale via the Humble Store. By far the best revenue split you are going to find anywhere, the Humble Store is certainly worthy of your attention. Plus, the Humble brand is hot right now.

You can also choose how customers will obtain your game too. For example, you can choose to include extra content whenever a customer buys your game in addition to the DRM-free version of your game (yes, your game must also be DRM-free here as well), such as an additional Steam key, the soundtrack for your game, a coupon, and so on. It’s an extremely flexible system, and to get your game on the Humble Store? Simply send the team a message and they will lead you on the right path.

GamersGate

GamersGate tends to get lost in the shuffle in the discussion of popular indie PC platforms, but it is certainly worthy of your attention. Just like GOG and Steam, GamersGate gives developers 70% of their revenue earned, and with a platform that garners thousands upon thousands of hits per day, it’s a great place to sell your game.

Moreover, GamersGate supports work-in-progress (WIP) games as well, so if you have a game that is in alpha and you want people to purchase it and play the game as you develop it? They can certainly do so. GamersGate also doesn’t require a client to be installed for users in the same vein as GOG, meaning those that hate using Steam to purchase and play games? It’s a breath of fresh air.

Selling your game on GamersGate is simple as well. Simply contact them directly, pitch your game to them, and from there you will be set on the path to selling your game in their store.

Kongregate

Can you get your game to run in a browser? Then you may want to consider placing your game for sale on Kongregate. Supporting Flash, HTML5, and Unity, Kongregate has a massive audience and a built-in microtransaction system that could be fairly profitable for developers.

Developers can profit from Kongregate via ad revenue shares, to which they will earn anywhere between 25% and 50% of the revenue generated by their game. The percentage determined can change depending on certain dimensions. For example, if your game integrates Kongregate’s Statistics & Challenges API, the game will earn an additional 10%, while games that are exclusive to Kongregate’s site earn an additional 15%. Thus, these extra earnings are ‘bonuses.’

Developers can upload their game to Kongregate on their own as well. Simply follow the instructions on their support page, include a few details regarding payment, and that’s it!

Other platforms worth considering:

  • Green Man Gaming
    • A fairly popular platform. To learn about their actual revenue split, contact them directly.
  • Amazon Indie Games Store
    • It’s Amazon, so of course you will want to consider selling your game via their digital store. Contact them directly to learn more about their revenue split and beyond.
  • Desura
    • Not as popular as some of the other platforms listed, but they are worthy of a consideration. Developers earn 70% of the revenue earned, WIP games are accepted, and developers are in complete control of their pricing. Plus, apparently the admins over at Desura are awesome! Contact them directly to learn more.
  • Binpress
    • Although Binpress has traditionally helped devs to sell their source code, they now allow indie developers to sell their games via their platform! It’s another great alternative to maximize your sales.

Selling your game without Steam is possible, and most importantly, can remain profitable. They are not the only platform worth considering by any stretch of the imagination, and the best part? There are other platforms worth considering that are not on this list! Use this list as a starting point for selling your game on other platforms, and reap the rewards thereafter!

2 Responses

  1. This is a great roundup. Steam has become so dominant that it’s easy to forget the others. Humble Bundle seems to be the strong #2. I’d also mention Ouya, though the install numbers are fairly low.

  2. This may be a little too late to be commenting, but I’ve been wondering if there’s a comparison between direct sales and sales through outlets. Obviously Direct sales would be much smaller, but at least there’s a greater share of the revenue.

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