Stardock: "Our poorest-selling DLC for PC games generates more income than nearly every iOS or Android developer app" | PCGamesN

Stardock: "Our poorest-selling DLC for PC games generates more income than nearly every iOS or Android developer app"

Stardock Annual Customer Report

Stardock, purveyor of strategy, released its Annual Customer Report for 2014 today, teasing the future of both developer and publisher. Since it’s over 20 pages long, I’m here to break down the highlights for you. No need to thank me, I’d do it for anyone.

Stardock’s got eight games on the go right now - thanks to money invested from the sale of Impulse in 2011 - only two of which have been announced: Galactic Civilizations 3 and Offworld Trading company. Six unannounced titles strikes me as rather a lot. I’ve only got one. 

 Of course, these games are all going to be distributed digitally, but according to Stardock, that will have come as a surprise to around a quarter of its customers. 

“Only five years ago, our survey showed that 58% of our customers bought their software in a box, at retail,” said Brad Wardell, Stardock’s CEO. “Further, 24% of them expected to be still doing so five years from then. In reality, it turned out to be 6%. Retail disappeared even faster than our tech-savvy customer base imagined it would.”

Despite primarily being a PC publisher and developer, Stardock did look into the mobile market. It’s just not viable, said Wardell. “Our poorest-selling DLC for PC games generates more income than nearly every iOS or Android developer app we’ve gotten numbers for.”

Of the two games it’s announced, Galactic Civilizations is likely the most anticipated. Wardell gave a release window of spring 2015, but mentioned that a wide beta would kick off this summer. Oh yeah, and it’s going to incorporate 3D printing. 

“Another new feature we’re excited about is 3D printing support,” said Wardell. “Players will be able to export the starships they design to be 3D printed. We suspect this feature will become quite compelling as it develops.” 

Sins of Solar Empire continues to be Stardock’s best-selling game, but surprisingly, it’s Elemental that’s poised to become Stardock Entertainment’s most popular franchise. “Despite its rough start, the franchise has developed a popular following with year-after-year growth in revenue (which is backwards from the norm – sales normally decline over time). We anticipate it becoming our most popular franchise this year (until, at least, Galactic Civilizations III ships) largely due to the popularity of DLC for it,” Wardell explained. 

With this in mind, a third game in the Elemental Universe is being worked on. “This one will include crafting, asymmetrical gameplay, spell research, and have a much greater focus on magic battling,” teases Wardell. 

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Stinkflipper Incarnate avatarMountain_Man avatarsubedii avatar
Stinkflipper Incarnate Avatar
Stinkflipper Incarnate(2 hours played)
3 Years ago

I adored Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, so I'm absolutely ready for more Elemental. I hope they improve the graphics a bit, though.

Mountain_Man Avatar
3 Years ago

I think the biggest thing holding Stardock back right now is their adamant refusal to support anything but Windows. I think Firaxis is going to take a big chunk out of the Galactic Civilization III pie when Civilization: Beyond Earth is released later this year for Linux, OSX, and Windows.

subedii Avatar
3 Years ago

Going by the Steam hardware survey, OSX and Linux combined make up less than 5% of Steam users. And Valve is actually one of the _better_ companies when it comes to supporting those platforms.

I expect things to start shifting over the coming years, but right now? I can understand the decision from a financial perspective. Unless your engine and general pipeline already multi-OS compatible, I suspect the resources make better sense allocated elsewhere.

Whatever Civ:BE does or doesn't do to GalCiv's sales, personally I don't believe that's going to be the crucial factor.

Mountain_Man Avatar
3 Years ago

The Steam survey is flawed for a few reasons: 1) It's not comprehensive; 2) It's voluntary; and 3) It doesn't take into account the increasingly common PC gamer who dual boots Linux and Windows. In other words, take the Steam survey with a grain of salt.

Alternatively, consider the Humble Bundle which has had great success supporting Linux and OSX, and I've read interviews with developers who have seen as much as a 10% increase in sales when releasing a Linux version of their game.

There is a significant number of Linux gamers out there, and any developer who ignores them at this stage of the game is just shooting themselves in the foot.