What do you think about releasing a game during a Steam Sale?

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
So this is limited to my personal project even though it is near release lol. I'm asking your opinion on the hypothetical release of a game during a big sales event, like the Steam Summer Sales.

So at first I thought it would be a bad idea because if you decide to go commercial (so charge for your game), you would have to release it with a big discount to be on the same level as other games, or release at full price only to have people not buy it because everything else have a big discount. And if you decide to release a free game, people usually browse the store for commercial games during that period because it is a discount period! You can download anytime a free game, but discounts aren't forever.

But then I thought, perhaps it's not that bad to release a game during that period because it's the period when there is the most people shopping around for games. So this is basically the period where you could get the max amount of potential customers.

Note that I didn't take into consideration Steam's search algorithm since I don't really know how it works.

Your thoughts?
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
12,502
Reaction score
12,785
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
I'd avoid it myself, due to devaluing of the game. I understand even steam suggests you don't release during a sale.
 

Andar

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 5, 2013
Messages
28,978
Reaction score
6,669
First Language
German
Primarily Uses
RMMV
The only way to sell anything during a big sale is to have it also on sale.
It doesn't matter what - if there is a time limited sale everyone always goes for the sale options because they can buy regular price options later.

If you considered giving an introduction incentive by lowering the price for the first weeks anyway, then you can go that way.
Otherwise don't bother, because no one will check or buy on your full-price game.

And since your game is only listed as "new" for a limited time, you should not waste that time.
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Yeah, my first instinct was right then. But just after and just before a sale is probably not a good idea, and if you take into account there is no ideal time to release it too. I'm just confused lol.
 

Shaz

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
38,285
Reaction score
11,872
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
Even though you say it'd be good because there'd be a lot of people shopping around for games, those people are shopping for discount games and will bypass yours if it's not on sale. I don't know that "more people" is a good thing if it's just more people saying no to your game.

I wouldn't release during a sale. Especially if it means you'd have to discount straight away to compete.
 

Aesica

undefined
Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2018
Messages
967
Reaction score
910
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I suppose you could always discount it by something like -15%, but I'll say as a bargain hunter myself, I generally avoid buying games with very light discounts when I'm sale-shopping. If it looks interesting, I'll wishlist it and hope for a better sale in the future.
 

bgillisp

Global Moderators
Global Mod
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
12,502
Reaction score
12,785
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMVXA
If you want a right time to release, there's none right now due to allllll the steam sales. I'd say maybe February or August at best, as February only has the Chinese New Year sale which is limited in what is included, and August puts you about 3 months from the usual Fall sale.

In fact, just because Steam is one big sale dump right now as they have more sales than the average used car dealer in the USA I'm thinking I may have to get cute with things IF I decide to put my game on there.
 

EthanFox

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
342
Reaction score
272
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I should also add, as this might be useful for you to know - unless the rules have changed recently, you can't actually "launch" a game at a sale price.

Games have to have been listed on Steam at their regular price for a certain period, and there are more rules concerning how often you can have sales, what those sale prices can be... It isn't entirely open as to how you price things.

I would strongly advise against releasing anything during a Steam Sale.
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
And much time do you think would be good after the steam summer sale?
 

EthanFox

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Oct 15, 2018
Messages
342
Reaction score
272
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
And much time do you think would be good after the steam summer sale?
My advice would be to wait until the sale ends, then ensure your launch is after the end of that month - so, for example, if the sale ended in July, you wait until the first week of August.

This is because a reasonably large segment of the market gets paid at the end/start of the month, so people are generally more affluent early in the month.
 

Henryetha

Veteran
Veteran
Joined
Jan 14, 2016
Messages
387
Reaction score
205
First Language
german
Primarily Uses
I'd also avoid to launch during sales.. simply due to the fact that people are more focussed on grabbing discounts than getting introduced into a new game.
 

Touchfuzzy

Rantagonist
Staff member
Lead Eagle
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
6,438
Reaction score
5,463
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
I should also add, as this might be useful for you to know - unless the rules have changed recently, you can't actually "launch" a game at a sale price.
You can launch with a minor launch sale, like 10% or something like that, but nothing major.

I agree with the consensus though. Degica tries not to release games during Steam sales, it is generally not a good idea. People are just looking for great deals during the sales, not for full priced games.
 

Kupotepo

Fantasy realist
Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
781
Reaction score
755
First Language
Thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28, I think. I just what I aware of.
I think releasing a game during a Steam Sale it is a good idea. It is just a change in consumer cultures. We shop for a discount. That is why we checking for prices online before going to stores. Plus there are many other websites to buy the same game.

I do not see people here said yet.
You first release your games. The early buyers will sometimes have to sit thought bugs and reports to you. I think it is a polite thing to do for them. Bugs are not fun. They have the right to complain if nothing happens to fix the problem. (Consumer's rights law :LZSjoy:)

In the end, it is about the luck which consumers will your game first or another publisher first. Consumer's favorite genre is the most important factor for selecting a game. You cannot force a first-person shooting game player to like your RPG game even it is a free game.:kaoluv: We buy your game; it doesn't mean they like your game. Buyer's remorse:kaojoy:

I hope my opinions would be of some value.
 
Last edited:

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Kupotepo I was talking more about the marketing aspect. When you first publish your game, usually the platform (Steam, Itch, Epic, etc.) will list your game in a "New Release" tab, or give it some advantage in the algorithm for some time. So it's easier to find at the beginning. I think people here agree that is is not a smart marketing move to throw that advantage away by publishing it during a steam sale for example (I know that personally I wouldn't buy a game during that time if it isn't at least 40-50% off lol).

As for bug reports, I think a release shouldn't be a bug catching/testing period. Testing should have been done by that stage. Otherwise, I call it "Early Access" (which is another marketing move that works quite well in the gaming industry lol). But yeah, bugs are not fun and not fixing them taints your reputation as a developer.
 

Kupotepo

Fantasy realist
Veteran
Joined
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
781
Reaction score
755
First Language
Thai
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28, ok I did not that the stream did that kind of algorithm. "RELEASE DATE:" will technically tell which game is a new release. Unless you are a prestige company, we will wait for a discount because of verify trust between customers and sellers . I prefer to exposure tactic of marketing spreading the news. People shop for a discount game because they do not have money or smart shoppers.

I saw the new tactic is a live play in the stream store.

here article relating to you: (If I keep posting, it would take up too long in this forum.)
https://gameanalytics.com/blog/marketing-indie-game-without-budget.html
https://ninichimusic.com/blog/2016/10/17/6-must-do-marketing-tips-for-indie-game-developers
 
Last edited:

mathmaster74

just...John
Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2016
Messages
285
Reaction score
192
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28 Speaking from the 1 (very recent) game release experience I have on Steam: I didn't release during a sale. Once onboard with Steam Direct, I learned there's a timetable of sorts they have: Your game can't go live until 30 days after you paid the $100 fee for the app rights and two weeks after your store page has been approved and published for public viewing. My store page needed one resubmit. I was freaking out, but their response time was actually good (a few business days). Obviously, you can't go live without an approved build. Figuring out the build process on my own was not fun, but I kept at their instructions and eventually found my way. Once I got a build up, it also took one resubmit for their approval. Thankfully the build edit I needed to make was minor, and I resubmitted soon. It took about the same amount of time for them to approve that as the store page resubmit. It should be noted that you can release your game on sale for the first week. I released mine at a 40% discount, which is the max. they allowed. There's a rule about Steam sales, too, though. Once you've completed any sale, you have to wait (I forget if its 30 or 60 days) before you can put your title on sale again. You find all of this out right away, so you can kind of start planning. The key things are: 1) Don't wait until you want to release to onboard. You need at least a 30 day lead time, and 2) Expect to wait at least two weeks from store presence to game release. If you get your store approved earlier, great! That's more time for audiences to see your title in the Upcoming list. I can't say whether releasing during a sale would be better or not, but I hope what I could tell you helps as Valve/Steam has changed policy on some things and some posts here had information conflicting with my experience. Best wishes for a successful launch! :)
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@Kupotepo Yeah that's a tactic for the streaming platform, not the publishing platform, and not many platform can do both. For the publishing platform, learning about the algorithm (yes new release are given a boost in steam, same for itch), building your page and getting ratings is the traditional marketing way. What you linked is more of a tactic for a steaming service like twitch.

@mathmaster74 Thanks! I knew about the one month delay and the fee, but I didn't know about the sale rules. Small question though, do you need to send your build, present your trailer, and everything else, at the same time that you create your steam page, or you can do it later? And if you can do it later, when does the 30 days/2 weeks delay start?
 

mathmaster74

just...John
Veteran
Joined
Jun 12, 2016
Messages
285
Reaction score
192
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@MushroomCake28 I want to say 1 trailer was mandatory for the store page approval. Mine is just a screen capture of game play as opposed to a true trailer. You get a checklist on the Steam Direct developer site and it shows you which items are done and which are left for both the store page requirements and build requirements. The build and store page are submitted separately. I did the store page right away so the 2 weeks (starting at store page approval by Steam) would be a non-issue since it would fall completely within the 30 days (which starts with the processing of the $100 payment). If you don't get store page approval more than 2 weeks before the end of the 30 day period, then you're pushing back your earliest release date possible until that approval is done and the 30 days become irrelevant. Note: You have to start the 30-day clock before the 2-week clock because you have to pay the app fee to get on Steam Direct before you can access the Store Page Admin, let alone get an approved page submitted. You aren't forced to do everything within these time periods...but you probably want to. The alternative is, as mentioned before, your earliest possible release date will get pushed back...no good when you're trying to plan the timing. Btw, I notice you're in Canada. I'm not sure how that modifies what you can/have-to submit for tax identification purposes. I'm in the U.S. Be sure to read Valve/Steam's tax information carefully because they screen the entity paying to be sure you're legit, the screening process takes time as well, if you fill anything out wrong (thankfully I didn't) there's an even longer waiting period for them to reset and restart your payment process, and that can also be a factor in when your 30 days target starts. The build can be done at any time, but has to be up on the developer site and approved by Steam before you can launch. I suggest not waiting for store page feedback. Once you submit the store page, get on that build submission. Again...if it's up early, then all you're waiting for is the 30 day countdown to launch. Oh! Steam also advises against launching on weekends as there's no one there to "man the helm" if something goes awry with the initial release and customer complaints flood in. I planned to release on a Monday, but had a schedule change that pushed my release to that Wednesday. I know there's a lot here. I hope it's all clear. If not, please feel free to ask. Also, feel free to inquire deeper if need be. I am happy to help. :cutesmile:

Sincerely,
 

MushroomCake28

KAMO Studio
Moderator
Joined
Nov 18, 2015
Messages
1,914
Reaction score
3,370
First Language
English
Primarily Uses
RMMV
@mathmaster74 This is incredibly helpful! Thank you! (As for being Canadian, I don't think I should worry too much about it. The US and Canada are like cousins and we have so many agreements with each other. I know I filled something like that for itch and there were no issues! Thanks for the concern!).
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Latest Threads

Latest Posts

Latest Profile Posts

I really need to stop thinking there are new freebies just because someone made a new post in the freebies subforum lol.
AND just like that..... I got STEAM DLC up and working! YES!
Game making is like a marathon, except the last 1/4 is more like sprint... a very long and intense sprint.
Finally got to finish the demo for my project!
Another week has gone by. Maybe you made changes to your project/s. Maybe you didn't. Nonetheless, THAT IS NO EXCUSE TO NOT BACK THEM UP O_O!

Forum statistics

Threads
93,441
Messages
912,445
Members
122,968
Latest member
Paitshens
Top