Do RPGM dev's hate Steam?

CleanWater

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My own experience publishing on Steam taught me that, yes, back them you could earn a few bucks from game development by publishing there, however, as the Steam Direct come out, the overall visibility was greatly affected for many small devs.

Most of my income came from Greenlight Bundles (no Greenlight, no more Greenlight "funding").

Besides that, since I'm from Brazil, receiving money from Steam through wire transfer became impractical. It's the 30% of their cut, plus 30% of withholding tax, plus some more national taxes I have to pay for each transfer and the need to wait it to reach higher values (at least above $500,00) for these taxes not affect you too much on each transfer. You can configure it to be a minimum of $100 (or $200, can't remember clearly), but it was not good for me to do so.

The sales starts well for many, but as the time passes, it becomes harder and harder to receive your payments. Which means that you may have around $400 there to receive, but don't want to lower the minimum price to $400 and be affected by the taxes (unless you are in a hurry to receive this money).

Itch.io, in the other hand, is Paypal friendly and it have the option to receive your payments directly on your account right away, which greatly helps small devs. Sales there are much lower than Steam, but it compensates in many other things. Even if you have 0 sales during months or years, at least you won't have any money loss (which not happens on Steam).

Let's imagine that you have the Developer A, that sold only ten copies of his game at $10. Here's a brief table to exemplify what I mean:

Captura de tela de 2022-09-07 12-31-09.png
To receive through Paypal, you also need to pay some fees, but it's not so harsh as the wire transfer fee and the withholding tax, and you receive your payment right away to be used as you wish, no time waits restraining you.

I could listen many other problems here, but when you nail it down, everything ends up to the financial issue. Everything else can be tackled easily.
 

JohnDoeNews

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There is a mistake in that table though. If you earn 49 after tax and store cute, then the revenue is -51, not -49.

:p
 

CleanWater

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There is a mistake in that table though. If you earn 49 after tax and store cute, then the revenue is -51, not -49.

:p

Argh! You are right! And I was supposed to be a math teacher. :guffaw:

But I think people got the idea. Unless you sell your game at hundreds, it won't compensate to have a game there.

Even if you sell hundreds of copies at first, sooner or later you will get stuck at selling only a few here and there, which means you will hardly see this money on your pockets often.
 

Indinera

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Let's imagine that you have the Developer A, that sold only ten copies of his game at $10. Here's a brief table to exemplify what I mean:

That's in theory but in practice if you were 'able' to sell 10 copies on Itch you'd probably sell 100-1000 of that same game on Steam, meaning Steam would still easily win.

I'm not a big fan of Steam but it beats hands down any other portal.

Steam rules and I can't think of a single reason not to distribute one's game there.

Having my own portal is my reason.

which took decades to vanish.

Future doesn't look too promising then considering Greenlight has only been around for 5-6 years :D
 
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CleanWater

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@Indinera , you have a good point, but what about the $500 minimum to tackle harsh taxes?

Captura de tela de 2022-09-07 14-03-34.png

Your $390,00 income still will be in their pockets, not yours.

To really benefit from Steam sales, you would need to sell (guaranteed) at least 200 copies every month. It doesn't happen in real life scenarios.

Note: I'm calculating here based on the first month release sales. After the first month, sales decreases considerably. Everyone who released a game commercially knows that.

By the way, USA charges any taxes from France when it comes to international bank transfers? How much is it?
 
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Indinera

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10x more income on Steam is very little to be honest. For what it's worth I rather have 100x more.

I forgot to say, Itch has the same withholding tax as Steam, so if you're in Brazil, you need to remove those 30% to your Itch income as well.
 

JohnDoeNews

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I rather have 10000 times more, but more is more, right? But I don't believe 10 sales on itch stand equal to 100 or 1000 sales on steam.
 

CleanWater

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Your $390,00 income still will be in their pockets, not yours.

To really benefit from Steam sales, you would need to sell (guaranteed) at least 200 copies every month. It doesn't happen in real life scenarios.

Note: I'm calculating here based on the first month release sales. After the first month, sales decreases considerably. Everyone who released a game commercially knows that.

By the way, USA charges any taxes from France when it comes to international bank transfers? How much is it?

@Indinera , please check my previous post, as I edited it.

10x more income on Steam is very little to be honest. For what it's worth I rather have 100x more.

I didn't understand your point. Can you be more clear? I don't think everyone will have a 100% sure chance of having 100x income there. It may vary.
 

Indinera

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Everyone who released a game commercially knows that.

I don't. I made tons after the first month.

By the way, USA charges any taxes from France when it comes to international bank transfers? How much is it?

I don't know. I'm not French and I don't live in France, I'm only French speaking.

I rather have 10000 times more, but more is more, right? But I don't believe 10 sales on itch stand equal to 100 or 1000 sales on steam.

I went for something conservative. I do have x1000 on some titles. X10000 maybe not lol

I didn't understand your point. Can you be more clear? I don't think everyone will have a 100% sure chance of having 100x income there. It may vary.

That's an estimate.
 

CleanWater

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Okay @Indinera, so, do you pay any taxes to receive your money, or do you live in USA and don't need to pay any withholding tax at all?
 

Indinera

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Okay @Indinera, so, do you pay any taxes to receive your money, or do you live in USA and don't need to pay any withholding tax at all?

I don't live in the USA. As there is a tax treaty between the USA and my country, I don't pay withholding taxes.
 

CleanWater

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I don't live in the USA. As there is a tax treaty between the USA and my country, I don't pay withholding taxes.

That's the point I wanted to reach. Steam is a great place to sell games, but it's not for everyone. I myself, had a harsh time there due to these (lack of) tax treaties between our countries, plus, more taxes I had to pay locally here.

The forum rules doesn't allow politic talk here, so I'll refrain from discussing it anymore (although it's almost impossible to not mention political factors affecting sales).

For short:

"I don't hate Steam, but publishing there for me right now is simply out of question, unless they (Steam store) change their payment method to developers from other countries, or politics (from both USA and Brazil) do something about these withholding taxes."

That's all.
 

Indinera

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Itch will withhold 30% just like Steam.
 

CleanWater

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Itch will withhold 30% just like Steam.

Not when you receive directly through Paypal, instead of paid-later method. The major problem is the Wire Transfer must be used to receive from Steam and their money holding policy, which totally breaks a small developer.

A new detailed chart explaining the differences in the long run. If you manage to sell 100 copies on Itch.io, you still will be doing better, even using the Paypal direct method.


Captura de tela de 2022-09-07 14-57-04.png
 
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Indinera

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Aren't PayPal taxes going to be the same as the 30% withholding taxes from Itch then?
Because otherwise it seems to me a way to bypass it, which is... unusual, to say the least.

Also as I said earlier only x10 is very unlikely. I have absolutely no game that made as much as 10% of its steam income on Itch.
 

CleanWater

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Aren't PayPal taxes going to be the same as the 30% withholding taxes from Itch then?
Because otherwise it seems to me a way to bypass it, which is... unusual, to say the least.

Also as I said earlier only x10 is very unlikely. I have absolutely no game that made as much as 10% of its steam income on Itch.

When it comes from USA, yes, but what if I'm selling on my own country? If I sell through Itch.io with their "paid-later" method, I still have to pay the withholding tax to USA (even if the sale came from my own country). What's the sense of that?

The same applies for European VAT. The sales that comes from Europe have their VAT charged there, then I need to pay withholding tax to USA from the sales that came from another country?

On this point, Steam do things well, because they charge the withholding tax only from USA, but their money holding policy and "wire transfer payment only" still affects me greatly. I need to pay money conversion taxes from sales that came from my own country because they convert it to USD before making the transfer to me. That's absurd!

Using the Paypal direct, I pay only the rightful taxes I should from both national and international sales, because I'm doing the transaction from me-to-customer. If I sell to another Brazilian, I'm only being charged the Paypal taxes and no more. If sell to Europe, I got their VAT charged and if it comes from USA, their withholding tax. Much more simple and straightforward.
 

Indinera

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Using the Paypal direct, I pay only the rightful taxes I should from both national and international sales, because I'm doing the transaction from me-to-customer. If I sell to another Brazilian, I'm only being charged the Paypal taxes and no more. If sell to Europe, I got their VAT charged and if it comes from USA, their withholding tax. Much more simple and straightforward.

Seems great.
That said the pb remains that Itch sales are very low.
 

woootbm

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@CleanWater Milking profits from 10 sales is not a viable business; this is a nonsensical way to make Steam seem like the loser. Maybe if you were talking about selling something that took seconds to make and can repeat forever, like a lemonade stand, you can do that. But spending months (or what should be months... or even years) to make a product and get 10 sales is always going to be at a loss. You might as well give your game away for free at that point. How is $70-80 for months of work even considered a profit?

And if you make your game free then yeah, itch makes sense because you can reduce the cost of your hobby. To me, I'd say hobbies cost money. If I'm willing to spend $60 on buying a game, it's not a big deal to spend $100 on publishing my own. So that's where my head is at. I do plan on charging for my next game. But... well, I'll just have to see how that goes, huh? If I get only 10 sales on Steam I'll be rethinking things, heh.

Anyway, it's good to know people don't hold some grudge against Steam. I think I must've misread people not wanting to fork over 100 bucks.
 

bgillisp

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One thing you all forgot, and I can say this as I live in the USA. You *have* to pay taxes on that income at end of year. USA taxes any income from any source, and failure to report it can get the IRS on you. So you might not pay that taxes via steam, but you pay around 30% at year end in taxes due to federal + state taxes on all of that.

Plus now paypal must report any income over $100 as well to the IRS, so itch going through paypal you'll still pay that. In fact itch income has to be reported too if you live in the USA.
 

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