Yet another steam (Digital Distro) thread

PC : Turn based WW2 goodness in the mold of Panzer General. This promises to be a true classic!

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Post by IainMcNeil » Tue Dec 06, 2011 2:32 pm

Automatic registering of serials to your account and in app purchasing are things we're hoping to add at some point. Hopefully some of these will go in for 2012.

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re: steam

Post by boatie » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:03 pm

Rudankort,

So good to see PanzerCorps doing well.

I would like to add my 2 cents to this conversation. In my view, the most important factor in having PanzerCorps distributed through steam is audience penetration. The reality is that most gamers under 25 years old are using steam (or another mainstream distributor) if they are playing games on the pc and only a small portion of this population will ever look for games beyond such a distributor. Having PanzerCorps available and on sale on the Slitherine website simply means nothing to such an audience. Thus, your current profit model cannot factor them in as a potential income source. They do not exist in your model because you have no access to them.

For all of us who hope that you will only have the greatest success, expansion of your audience is critical. I think this why people are pushing for steam distribution. So in summary:

1. Getting on steam opens this game up to a different, and much, much larger audience. This population does not exist within your current profit model. The vast majority will never come on this site to buy the game, comment in forums, etc. Given this, the price point for the game on steam is irrelevant. Whether the game's price point is $20, $30, or $40, - all profit represent those gained from an entirely different market and one which has little overlap with your current market (e.g., more serious-minded and older strategy-oriented gamers). In comparison to the steam audience, the size of your current audience is probably 1/10, 1/30 or even greater in size. You cannot saturate your product with this wider audience, so don't even worry about it.

2. Steam, and particularly its sales, will give you free marketing and more important, it also encourages impulse buying. Impulse buying is the primarily way that males make purchases for things they don't need. This is why there are those sales spikes that exists on steam. Your current model for selling this game cannot replicate this aspect in any way. By the way, I love buying games on sale and buying extra copies to give to friends = because for the price of 1 game, I can get two, so why not give a copy to a buddy?

3. Steam is not a cure-all and brings with it a number of issues. However, it offer standardization and economy of scale for a range of services which your development team and company should not have to waste resources upon. For example, even creating an account so that I could make this comment is a burdensome and clunky process. Asking for my address and telephone number so that I can comment, seriously? Steam friends, gifts through steam, forum support (currently this game is on three separate forums, which weakens the building of community), automatic updating (its not steam's fault if an update is crap), etc. As others have noted, one of the biggest benefit of steam is that all my games are in one place and if my computer crashes, I can easily install everything within a short amount of time (or install on multiple computers).

4. Your current DRM model encourages, rather than discourages piracy. It's very 1990s. Steams will offer you better security versus piracy. By the way, the best security against piracy is convenience and reasonable pricing of a product. Older gamers can still come this site to download the game to play offline. The younger gamer will not do so, thus the added security is for them (and they are ones who are much more likely to pirate).

5. Last comment: we hear all this talk that today's kids don't have the same taste as the previous generation. That kids today love fps and hate strategy games. I believe that each generation produces the same proportion of nerds, jocks, arm chair generals, etc. There will always be a number of little kids who love strategy games more than any other type of game. Each generation and each year produces a number of these kids. How are you reaching them? If you don't have a clear answer, then I think the answer is steam or a similar distributor. By the way, every few months, I always make it a habit to browse all of steam's latest strategy games and if I hear good things about it on it's steam forum, there is high probability of me buying the game.

P.S. one last comment and I will get off my soapbox. Don't focus too much on content. Put greater effort into supporting modding (like a creation kit) and let the community focus its energy on creating new content. Your small team should focus on expanding the breath and depth of the engine and the gaming framework. I am pretty certain that by the time I finish probably 2-3 dlcs, I will be pretty bored with the game, as it currently stands, no matter now much I love it now. Going through 60+ scenarios should burn anyone out. So, instead of more of the same, focus on creating something new and different but using the same engine and framework.


Sorry for typos.

boatie

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Post by Andreh » Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:30 pm

Rudankort wrote:As was discussed many times, Steam sure has its problems. But this thread is more about the choice. Even if we do go to Steam at some point, it does not mean that we'll stop selling the game via any other channels which exist now. So, this is not really a problem.
Thats a good point.
Even though I had to install steam due to being forced by the FM series, I like the fact that PzC had a separate distribution path.
After trying the demo, just logged into Slitherine site, paid, downloaded and soon was playing.
Certainly we wish the best for the developers and publishers, and if steam is the way to sky rocketing the sales, so be it, but its not like the current distribution method is broken.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:02 pm

Man , I wish the lengthy reasons people are giving to Slitherine on why they should go to Steam would just cut to the chase and admit that, unless you are are stockholder in slitherine corp, the only motivater you have is you want the games to be cheaper! (btw, nothing wrong with that per se, just admit it! :D )

Come on, signing up to a forum and giving your address is "too much work"??? Really?, Dont you have to do the same thing to sign up for a steam account?

Its a companies non steam distribution of games that causes piracy? What about personal responsability/morality for Christ sake.

The whole arguement smacks of communism :lol:

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Post by rezaf » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:21 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:Man , I wish the lengthy reasons people are giving to Slitherine on why they should go to Steam would just cut to the chase and admit that, unless you are are stockholder in slitherine corp, the only motivater you have is you want the games to be cheaper! (btw, nothing wrong with that per se, just admit it! :D )
Well, take a look at what I wrote back on page 1.
rezaf wrote:That's the beef of it, really. The thing that's worth trying out at least once.
Prices of a Slitherine/Matrix game need to be dropped to these low levels to see if the "really huge numbers" of sales materialize or not.
_____
rezaf

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Post by boatie » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:54 pm

TheGrayMouser wrote:Man , I wish the lengthy reasons people are giving to Slitherine on why they should go to Steam would just cut to the chase and admit that, unless you are are stockholder in slitherine corp, the only motivater you have is you want the games to be cheaper! (btw, nothing wrong with that per se, just admit it! :D )

Come on, signing up to a forum and giving your address is "too much work"??? Really?, Dont you have to do the same thing to sign up for a steam account?

Its a companies non steam distribution of games that causes piracy? What about personal responsability/morality for Christ sake.

The whole arguement smacks of communism :lol:

In the past few months, I brought BF3, Skyrim, and a 4-pack of Terraria (to give to friends), and also PanzerCorps with both DLCs, so this accusation that I want my games cheap is well-directed. I can see that you like the game and so do I. Sometimes, we limit our ability to see what is possible not on the basis of the reality that is "out there" but on the basis of what we believe is possible. I wanted to challenge the PC team to think outside of its current assumptions of what constitutes this game's market (e.g., that the game's audience is older, niche, hardcore, etc.).

My example with the email was me trying to be polite. I had no confirmation that an account was created, when I finish registering I was directed back to the registration page with everything blank. I think I inadvertently created two or more accounts. I could not access the account and could not post until the next day. There was no email confirmation of an account being created (but now I get a weird email that lets me know when someone posts in this thread). Had I did not wanted these guys to succeed, I would have given up and never posted anything. I think you might have preferred that.
Last edited by boatie on Thu Dec 08, 2011 1:38 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by MrsWargamer » Wed Dec 07, 2011 10:59 pm

I buy my Slitherine titles direct from Slitherine, and I don't wait for the predictable as death and taxes Christmas sale to score a reduction myself.

Not one of their games is worth less than full price.

But sadly, I just keep hearing a buddy constantly commenting on how Steam routinely cuts small indie games slack with front page exposure. That's a lot of cash worth in free advertising, and we all know advertising is NOT cheap routinely.

I just wish I knew some of these small no account games my friend mentions, so I could know if they are also low graphics tech oldish looking designs that people would be inclined to pick apart for it. And then know what they were selling them for, and how much money was made at the end of a month on Steam.

Because in the end, if Steam says 'you have to put it on sale for 10 bucks' and that sounds insane I admit, if the game retails on site here for 50 bucks, but in a month the Steam sales generate 10 times the units that sold via the site here, that is still double the profit even if each unit was sold for 1/5 the normal on site price.

I'm all about the developers here, and Slitherine, making MORE money. I don't care how they do it myself.

Would I buy a game via Steam, instead of via Slitherine? NO!! And I'll tell ya why. Because when I buy my games from you guys, there isn't a lick of DRM, not a whiff of it. Serial used for the installer and the FULL program resides on my computer. I do NOT think Steam is the be all and end all of the best method out there.
But they do seem to generate sales far exceeding what seems like should be possible.

I just think it is worth high lighting what I said above. NO I would NOT want your game via Steam if I had the choice of here over getting it from them.
But I wonder how many would buy the game off of Steam, and if the numbers would actually matter.

All questions I can ask, I just can't force any answers.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:00 am

@rezaf and boatie

Just to be clear my post was tongue and cheek, although imho getting a game cheaper is the primary motivator of most to buy on steam. Do I believe many players truly believe if Slitherine went steam and they could get bigger sales and thus have more resources to make more and better games we want? Sure , Im not doudting optimistim.
My experiance though, is monolithic centralized "things" arnt always better. Think how many ma and pa stores you enjoyed at one point , be it restaurant, garage, bar, hardware store , whatever. You felt comfortable doing business with them in all ways and then at some point the sales start pouring in, they get busier and busier and eventually expand etc etc. At some point you go in and realize , hmm, the price is the same , the quality is still good but hmm, the portions are smaller, its crowded and the friendly faces are gone. At some point they morph into yet another chain or franchise like any other, and something is , well, lost.

DRM aside, I dont want all my games dependant on one company/distributor and their policies alone, especially when they tell me I cant play their games unless I "phone home." Acount glitches occur, are hacked, or, as at least one company is doing, say somthing naughty about the game or the corporation, you get banned from not only that forum but access ALL your games! Yuck!.

Anyways small niche companies do have a market, and the niche people who like these know where to go to find em, and likly always will. I think i have seen more turn based wargames come out in the past 2 years vs the preceding 5. I think many of the small developers view the games they create as a labour of love, they enjoy playing them as well as making them, and if they turn enough profit to earn a living and enable them to build their next creation , that is good thing as they arent going to be answerable to a large buracracy saying, no no no , your last hex based game didnt sell enough so we want to see a nice ist person shooter from ya next , capiche?

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Post by boatie » Thu Dec 08, 2011 12:50 am

TheGrayMouser wrote:@rezaf and boatie

Just to be clear my post was tongue and cheek, although imho getting a game cheaper is the primary motivator of most to buy on steam. Do I believe many players truly believe if Slitherine went steam and they could get bigger sales and thus have more resources to make more and better games we want? Sure , Im not doudting optimistim.
My experiance though, is monolithic centralized "things" arnt always better. Think how many ma and pa stores you enjoyed at one point , be it restaurant, garage, bar, hardware store , whatever. You felt comfortable doing business with them in all ways and then at some point the sales start pouring in, they get busier and busier and eventually expand etc etc. At some point you go in and realize , hmm, the price is the same , the quality is still good but hmm, the portions are smaller, its crowded and the friendly faces are gone. At some point they morph into yet another chain or franchise like any other, and something is , well, lost.

DRM aside, I dont want all my games dependant on one company/distributor and their policies alone, especially when they tell me I cant play their games unless I "phone home." Acount glitches occur, are hacked, or, as at least one company is doing, say somthing naughty about the game or the corporation, you get banned from not only that forum but access ALL your games! Yuck!.

Anyways small niche companies do have a market, and the niche people who like these know where to go to find em, and likly always will. I think i have seen more turn based wargames come out in the past 2 years vs the preceding 5. I think many of the small developers view the games they create as a labour of love, they enjoy playing them as well as making them, and if they turn enough profit to earn a living and enable them to build their next creation , that is good thing as they arent going to be answerable to a large buracracy saying, no no no , your last hex based game didnt sell enough so we want to see a nice ist person shooter from ya next , capiche?
Thank you for your nice response! I don't doubt your wisdom, eventually Valve and Steam will become the evil empire, but right now they are OK. My wish for PC is for it become something like another Terrraria. All the steam sales did not diminish the fact that it sold 1 million copies (and more as a consequence of the 1.1 update) simply by being on steam. In the old days, good word of mouth was able to create the needed exposure. That doesn't really work anymore. There is too much competition for a limit amount of consumer dollars. You need a legit distributor. But all my words are only suggestions, given from someone who hopes for the best for this project.

I also see a resurgence of turn-based titles and growth of indie developers. I think this is driven, in large part, by the tablet/itouch/smartphone platforms. The amount of games available on android and itunes is nuts.

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Post by TheGrayMouser » Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:51 am

Yep, word of mouth did work in the day, got me into my ist pc game ever, Panzer General! Then , when retail stores still had pc games on the shelves you could browse around and pick up something that looked good. Steam or not , I think this franchise will be around quite some time, maybe we''ll see some fantasy or Sci-fi style game down the road. Now if they would just build my dream game, a medieval or ancient or ren game, with the strategic size and scope of the paradox games (except turn and hex based), then when armies come in to range you manever on an operational level(cavalry screens, raids on supply lines, seizing bridges etc, and then when a battle is to be fought, a full fledged detailed tac battle ( turn based too of course) I would certainly cave and buy that on steam:)

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Post by boatie » Thu Dec 08, 2011 10:06 am

TheGrayMouser wrote:Yep, word of mouth did work in the day, got me into my ist pc game ever, Panzer General! Then , when retail stores still had pc games on the shelves you could browse around and pick up something that looked good. Steam or not , I think this franchise will be around quite some time, maybe we''ll see some fantasy or Sci-fi style game down the road. Now if they would just build my dream game, a medieval or ancient or ren game, with the strategic size and scope of the paradox games (except turn and hex based), then when armies come in to range you manever on an operational level(cavalry screens, raids on supply lines, seizing bridges etc, and then when a battle is to be fought, a full fledged detailed tac battle ( turn based too of course) I would certainly cave and buy that on steam:)
I have that same dream when I play PC!

Also imagine PC 2.0 having things like this right out of the box:

1080p HD graphics (particle effects, animated pngs, etc.).
64-bit support and multi-core optimization (I have 16 gigs rams and most ppl have 8 gigs, use it developers!)
Multi-display support
More innovative game mechanics, such supply line implementation or better FOW in the form of radar implementation - the single biggest Ally advantage at the beginning of the war; or more rpg elements - such as you - the player - being on the tactical map as a unit. If enemy units target you, game over, lol.
Full support of end-user scripting (equipment breakdowns, ability to split a unit into two smaller, weaker groups and then reforming)
etc. The innovation of the linked scenarios is a good example of what further refinement of the game engine might look like.
Mod creation kit

I would pay for even 2 or 3 of this easily, without any changes in the content other than rebalancing to take into account such innovations.

As for sci-fi, this engine would be a dream for Gaunt's Ghosts and Warhammer 40k.

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Post by impar » Wed Dec 14, 2011 12:46 pm

Another developer joins Steamworks, drops GFWL:
https://twitter.com/#!/dirtgame/status/ ... 1669680128

If you complain about Steam, what do you do regarding GFWL?

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Post by impar » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:53 am

Check the gaming media cover of the ongoing Steam Christmas promos.

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Post by Rudankort » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:00 pm

impar wrote:Check the gaming media cover of the ongoing Steam Christmas promos.
You have some links?

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Post by impar » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:19 pm

I have. But if you go to any decent gaming site\blog it will have at least one post\news about it.
The Promos vary from day to day and end on January 2nd (GMT).
You can also track PC enthusiasts forums for the Steam thread(s), the expression backlog might pop up.

Some examples:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12 ... d-bizarre/
http://kotaku.com/5869498/gird-your-wal ... -ginormous
http://www.shacknews.com/article/71644/ ... r-stocking
http://www.pcgamer.com/2011/12/20/gigan ... ames-coal/
http://www.g4tv.com/thefeed/blog/post/7 ... with-coal/
http://www.1up.com/news/steam-holiday-sale
http://www.gamesradar.com/win-steams-en ... promotion/

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Post by VPaulus » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:22 pm

Yeah the whole internet was there, yesterday at 18.00 GMT. It looked like a rush hour
I had timeouts with their server. :lol:
http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/12 ... -bit-good/

EDIT: You were quicker impar.

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Post by Rudankort » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:39 pm

I mean, is there anything interesting there in the context of this topic's discussion?

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Post by impar » Tue Dec 20, 2011 12:44 pm

The media exposure of Steam sales and the way Steam announces it. Doesnt matter who the developer\publisher is, big or small they get front page exposure in Steams main page.

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Post by jaggy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:29 am

Longasc wrote:The OP actually didn't want to start this, but with such blatant "oh Steam is sooo convenient" talk I cannot help to point out that there are downsides as well.

1. Modding Steam games.
That's the reason why people who bought Mount & Blade via Steam later downloaded it from the homepage of the developer.

2. Forced Steam game updates.
Steam patches are so thoroughly tested that they are always perfect.
As seen with the latest Skyrim patch.
Dragon are now flying backward and your resistances are gone and some crash now entering dungeons for no apparent reason.

3. Binding yourself to the Steam platform
for future expansions, updates etc.

4. Restrictions for developers when releasing games on Steam
I recommend reading Notch, the maker of Minecraft on this matter: http://notch.tumblr.com/post/9550850116 ... team-notch

5. Gabe Newell is watching you
I do not only want it "private" when I played how much, I do not think you should be allowed to track what I am playing and doing and so on without my explicit consent, Steam.
Thanks, Longasc, for bringing some balance into the debate. I will NEVER go on Steam. I'm not a fan of heavy-handed DRM (limited licence installs, etc, etc). A boxed copy with serial number (as in Panzer Corps) or a digital download with serial number is the way to go. The day Panzer Corps decides to go Steam is the day I stop buying and supporting it. Whatever organisation attempts to limit your choices (mandatory registration) is an organisation that is anti-gamer not pro-gamer. Their one and only motivation is their purely mercenary commercial side, period! You don't have choices on Steam, its their way or the highway.

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Post by VPaulus » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:38 am

I think nobody here his suggesting for Steam exclusivity, jaggy.

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