“Launching a PC game without a major distribution platform such as Steam, is asking for trouble,” writes FlippFly co-founder Aaron San Filippo. Since launching Race the Sun, FlippFly’s procedurally generated endless runner, the game’s got great reviews but only 771 sales.
They say this is down to not being on Steam and how discouraging the Greenlight service is for developers who need to get on Valve’s platform.
“Overall, we sit at an 81 on Metacritic, and were previewed, reviewed, played by, or otherwise mentioned on well over 100 media outlets,” continues Filippo. “Evolve did their job, and they did it well. More importantly, perhaps, the gamers who try the game seem to love it: A visit to the greenlight page’s comments section is very encouraging for us, especially compared to when we first launched the campaign – we’ve found our fans, and we’ve made them happy.
“Here’s where the story gets a bit discouraging. In our launch month, we’ve sold 771 copies, or about $7,400 worth.
“Sales have fallen off pretty steadily as the media attention has died down. Our worst day came last week, at 2 copies sold.”
FlippFly began development of Race the Sun before the launch of Steam’s Greenlight service. They targeted the PC audience because they saw that we’re ”still happy to pay decent money for a good game.”
When Greenlight launched they saw it “as an opportunity” but now they’ve “been on Greenlight for over a year,” their “launch has come and gone,” and they’re “still seemingly a ways off.”
FlippFly will need to “double the votes” they’ve “had in the past year” to be in the top 10. Now that the game has launched it will be difficult to build the buzz that could get the game pushed up the Greenlight tables.
This all paints a less than stellar picture of life outside of Steam for indie developers. Filippo concludes saying “I’m just not sure it’s realistic to expect to be able to support yourself solely with self-distribution via your website in 2013, unless you’re Minecraft.”
The news that Valve are working to greatly speed up the approval process for Greenlight games can only be good news for FlippFly.