Digital distribution has made games much easier to access than ever before. Steam plays host to darn near every title on PC, including thousands (and thousands) of indie titles that may never have existed before. Regular Steam sales have made those games cheaper, too, and indie devs have had to pay close attention to rules both hard and soft to stand a chance of sticking out from the crowd.
These are the best indie games on PC.
New Steam releases automatically have the opportunity to run a launch week discount, and as we’ve seen many developers take advantage of that. But there’s still a catch, because you have to wait 30 days after the end of the discount before you can have another.
That means developers have to be doubly aware of when they’re launching in relation to the big annual sales. If you launch within a week plus 30 days of a sale, your game will have to remain full-price while cheaper competitors are enjoying the sale frenzy.
Paulo Luis Santos of Flux Game Studio tells us that “can be really bad for your numbers,” and that meant the developers had to rethink their release date. “We had to replan our launch strategy, since there are many great sale opportunities across the year and we did not want to waste any opportunity.”
So you don’t want to release too soon before a Steam sale, but you don’t want to go too soon after, either. “People after the sales won’t have the money to buy your game,” Progorion’s András Illés says. “And you have around two days to prove to the recommendation algorithms that your game deserves Steam’s extremely valuable marketing screens. Some underestimate the effect of this.”
Those aren’t the only steps indies are taking to make their games more visible in a seriously crowded market. We spoke to quite a few developers to find out the tricks of indie game promotion in 2018.