Hosted Games on PC/Steam

Thanks, any information would be helpful.

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So it costs $1000 to put a Hosted Game on Steam. Now, I can’t release sales information on our Hosted Games. I can only tell you that many, many, many Hosted Games have not earned $1000 in revenue on iOS and GPS combined. My own game, which came out in 2017 and, granted is free, short, and shitty, has netted $1200 in pay to unlock ads sales. After almost two years.

We just can’t do it. We’d go thousands of dollars in the hole.

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There are other factors involved as well. For example, if you go on Steam, I believe Valve requires you to have a video of your game (most devs display theirs on Youtube.) Unless you have the skills yourself, getting something done to a decent quality will cost money.

Additionally, CoG has to deal with contracts, other platforms, employ their own people, etc. which also can cost money.

Now if your end goal is just to get on Steam, and not worry about other platforms, there are some other avenues.

First is obviously coming up with $100 to pay for the Steam costs initially. However, if you are serious, realize that you may well spend a lot more than this.

Second is to find a game engine which suits your needs. While I love Choice of Games, unless you go through CoG, you can’t really use ChoiceScript to monetize your games (CoG has a list of requirements, etc. which states this).

However, there are many other free engines available. There is a reason a lot of Visual Novels use Ren’Py; anyone can use it and profit from it, all they have to do is keep a page essentially saying “Made with RenPy”

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$1000. One thousand. USD. To get on Steam.

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Since we wish to get correct, here is the pertinent link:

Right there, the price for the Steam Direct Product Submission Fee is $100 US.

None of it is recoupable until you earn $1000.

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Yes, sorry. My point: we, the company will spend $100 and never recoup it with many Hosted Games. Those HGs will never earn $1000 in revenue on Steam. They don’t earn $1000 on iOS and GPS combined. So for me, if your game won’t make $1000 on Steam, I can’t put it on there. If your game won’t even earn $1000 TOTAL on ALL platforms I really extra can’t put it on there.

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the question (in terms of steam) would be how to determine if a game would make enough.

Look at CCH and Wayhaven as examples:

Both are pretty much on everyone’s ‘Fav HG’ list, but looking at, for example, their patreon pages someone unfamiliar might find that CCH would not be suitable for steam, as eric’s patreon makes a tenth of wayhaven’s.

So, what factors come into play if one would want to gamble with a steam release?

If you spend the $100 and withhold $100 in royalties from the author from other marketplaces to pay for it, what would be the loss to the company? If the author chose to do it, of course.

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$100 is 25% of what?

Correct. And the stated issue is: games which do not even earn $1000 on all platforms. So let me be clear: games which do not earn even $400 on all platforms, i.e. whose royalties will not cover the $100 it cost to put on Steam, let alone the staff time to publish the games, or the staff time to answer forum queries about how we can get more HG games on Steam!

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It would be fairly reasonable to limit this option to paid games; I imagine that most free ones are too short to be a good fit on Steam anyhow. But I have to think that long-term, even the lowest of the non-free games would eventually make the $400 mark across all platforms (there may be the odd exception, but the hits would pay for those many times over, just like is true now on the other marketplaces). If you adopted this as an option, the odds of the successful ones not making enough extra on Steam to more than offset the small handful that never clear the mark of $400 in total sales on all platforms seem quite low. Unless the amount paid to staff for handling forum queries like this is quite high, in which case I imagine there’s a lot of people posting here who would love to freelance that part of the job!

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Let me try explaining this from another angle, because whatever else is true, I sincerely doubt the company is going to spend non-recoupable money on Hosted Games. It’s a non-starter.

We released 20 Choice of Games titles last year, and 24 Hosted Games titles. All the COG titles got a Steam release. Some smaller subset of HG titles did. So while releasing every HG on Steam wouldn’t double @RETowers’ work, it would increase significantly, and they are at capacity right now.

Non-recoupable just seems like a short-term view. To paraphrase Steven Wright, everywhere’s within walking distance if you have the time. But I can understand it being beyond the current bandwidth. Just wanted to put this out there as a suggestion for a time when it may not be.

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Have you ever considered making a program of your own, installed locally, to read COG and HG novels bought and installed from this site? This way we can have Steam advantages without you having to actually host the games on Steam… does it makes sense?

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so you mean like making the game a downloadable installer that installs directly to your computer? that would actually be pretty smart they wouldn’t need to be reliant on steam and if its the entire game you download then you could just save it in a folder and install whenever you want instead of downloading again.

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Reading it back I guess it would be very risky for piracy… tho… sadly :slightly_frowning_face:

well there alrady is a pirat site for choice of games so or rather all mobile games so

First, this is not the place to discuss piracy folks.

Now back to the topic:
This is a continuation from another thread -

The focus should be on growing your audience and reaching those you would normally not reach through the most developed “common” pathway.

CoG spends a lot of time and effort to jump through Apple’s hoops which never end and always change. Just to stay in the same place you have to work and spend effort.

It is my feelings that despite the initial barriers to Steam, that the long-term payout for everyone involved would justify the efforts. It is a lot less effort than trying to keep the Apple gatekeepers happy month-to-month. At least from my experiences.

Also with regards to Steam - several AAA producers trying to force their proprietary gateways onto PC users and there is a backlash against these efforts.

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The pathway to publication on Steam does change year to year, but certainly far less fast than Apple’s and they are far more tolerant to begin with. That said more healthy competition to Steam from other outlets, such as GoG (though they have their own issues) and Itch would probably result in a healthier marketplace. (Near) Monopoly is seldom of benefit to a marketplace after all.

Which would be the unhealthy competition as opposed to the healthy one. No need to evolve PC gaming into a de-facto studio system and I do think regulators and legislators should be(come) more aware of this issue.

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