Starship Rubicon

Starship Rubicon

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Meowie Pie Oct 29, 2015 @ 5:03am
For those pinching pennies... (Bundle)
Bundlestars Trinity Bundle is currently featuring Rubicon:

https://www.bundlestars.com/en/bundle/trinity-3-bundle
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Showing 1-15 of 20 comments
wickworks  [developer] Oct 29, 2015 @ 1:10pm 
For anybody who's interested, I'm going to be posting a postmortem on the bundle once the thing wraps up in two weeks. It's essentially an experiment: Does getting the game in the hands of people for essentially free (we get like 20 cents per bundle) help? Or is it just extra tech support for myself?

So far, it's been awesome to see more people playing and talking about the game. But, strangely, I've realized that it's not in my best interests to help promote the fact that the bundle exists. If our goal in the bundle is to reach people who wouldn't otherwise hear about the game, then 1) there's not anybody I can reach who I haven't already reached and 2) my efforts would be better directed at doing so during a normal steam sale (selling it at $7 or whatever instead of 20 cents).

If anybody has any thoughts on how deeply discounted bundles look from their perspective, I'd love to hear them.
Last edited by wickworks; Oct 29, 2015 @ 1:10pm
Meowie Pie Oct 29, 2015 @ 7:44pm 
Depends - the problem with bundles is that some people take advantage of them and 'Bundle Stack' meaning they'll probably buy this bundle ten times over and wait for the bundle to expire and then place the keys on a reseller or sell the entire bundle page; this usually results in your game being undersold still six months after the bundle is over.

I (obviously) don't want to discourage cheap games but if I developed my own I would let it cook for at least half a year before offering it to a charity bundle.

In the instance of Rubicon I think Steam is asking us NZ'rs $18 for the title which is way too steep for myself personally. Having chance to get it for under six on Steam would've been ideal.

When it comes to games, so many are being pumped out each day. I've always liked Valve's original sales tactic featuring "quantity of sales vs the quality of the sales" (ie; sold 20 copies at $5 each as opposed to only two copies at $25 each) it's the happy medium of getting the game around without going as low as twenty cents a copy.

I can pretty much guarantee you that organizations, during the 90's like "Hybrid" and "♥♥♥♥♥♥♥" were the developers, themselves, laundering their own games for publicity. Back then word of mouth made games go far and most rebelious teens wouldn't even sneeze at a free demo of a game but if they thought they were using their cunning to get away with the whole game free...?

As with everything I would suggest moderation. Like i said, if not for the bundle I wouldn't have got this game now but if I found it on sale for $6 along the way I would've still grabbed it up giving you another five or so dollars. =D
Last edited by Meowie Pie; Oct 29, 2015 @ 8:02pm
Meowie Pie Oct 29, 2015 @ 7:55pm 
Another marketing model is the one used by the developers who made Cave Story and Frogatto. The games' updates were published free to everyone during alpha, this way not only getting the game known but also benefitting from a free quality assurance team. It wasn't until the last 25% of polish was getting added before they turned them into retail titles.
Meowie Pie Oct 29, 2015 @ 7:59pm 
There are a few other tactics (that are a bit dodgy quite frankly) where the developer offers a half finished early access protoype to catch the attention of larger commercial marketing teams then abandoning their EAs as the bigger corps release the 'real deal.'

Or the State of Decay dude who sold the game's final patch as totally seperate game XD

incidently Capcom just did that with Devil May Cry 4 but waited a good half decade so it wouldn't be as noticeable. =P
jbdodson  [developer] Oct 30, 2015 @ 8:42am 
> this usually results in your game being undersold still six months after the bundle is over.

Yeah, that will stink but not sure what we can do about it. End of the day I am happy people will be playing the game but yeah, i'd wish for a system where people don't do that.

> but if I developed my own I would let it cook for at least half a year before offering it to a charity bundle.

That's what we've done here actually. That said, simply wanting to get on a Humble Bundle isn't easy. They a very selective and we've had conversations with them about it.

> In the instance of Rubicon I think Steam is asking us NZ'rs $18 for the title which is way too steep for myself personally. Having chance to get it for under six on Steam would've been ideal.

Interesting feedback, thanks. I think the value is good, but some might not agree with that. One thing about PC games if you don't love the retail price it will be available for less later.

> As with everything I would suggest moderation. Like i said, if not for the bundle I wouldn't have got this game now but if I found it on sale for $6 along the way I would've still grabbed it up giving you another five or so dollars. =D

Absolutely, glad you picked it up! We are fine with people picking it up how they do, it's just that we haven't promoted the bundle ourselves because the point of Bundle Stars, at least as I see it, is for them to promote it :D Also, I do think that when people pay more for something they value it more and are more likely to play it BUT that's not everyone for sure.

Also we didn't want to do any kind of early access. As a gamer I don't like it and have been burned so many times I'd steer any developer away from it I work with.
Meowie Pie Oct 30, 2015 @ 10:58am 
Good luck with it all.

If anything, if it does wind up becoming a common bundle title, 20 cents a pop can build up over a period of years so it would be like an ongoing royalty that might not be coming in otherwise if lost too far down in Steam's catalogue.

Maybe also try some digital outlets like Indie Gamestand who have smaller catalogues allowing the game to surface to marquee more often.
jbdodson  [developer] Oct 30, 2015 @ 11:26am 
Hadn't heard of Indie Gamestand thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on my list of stuff to checkout. I want to put the game wherever people want to buy it!
Meowie Pie Oct 31, 2015 @ 3:04am 
Originally posted by jbdodson:
Hadn't heard of Indie Gamestand thanks for the recommendation. I'll put it on my list of stuff to checkout. I want to put the game wherever people want to buy it!

Here's epic bundle which lists all of the bundle sites:
http://www.epicbundle.com/

and Cheap Shark listing most of the mainstream digi shops online:
http://www.cheapshark.com/browse

Rubicon is a decent game and sure it would get more love easier if not under so much heavy competition right now.

Spoke to FarmerGnome briefly, yesterday, ( responsible for Fistufl of Gun http://store.steampowered.com/app/229810/ ) -- just about eight years back his game would've got noticed a lot more but, like many, years of effort is being blindsided by an on pour of amateur attempts and shovelware.
wickworks  [developer] Dec 15, 2015 @ 11:51am 
Better late than never: I put that bundle postmortem together:

http://wick.works/2015/12/14/bundle-stars-postmortem/
kalirion Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:28pm 
Originally posted by wickworks:
If anybody has any thoughts on how deeply discounted bundles look from their perspective, I'd love to hear them.

Just read your post-mortem. I didn't buy that particular bundle, so I don't have the game in my account, but I am a habitual bundle buyer, so here's my perspective.

For me, bundles are an addiction that I really should quit. I only end up playing a tiny fraction of the games I buy in bundles, and the rest only show "time played' if they have trading cards - I don't actually play them, and use a program to "idle" them to get the cards dropped. If you make a list of all the bundles I've bought over the years, the bundles in which I haven't played a single game will likely greatly outnumber the rest.

I will sometimes buy a Steam game outside of a bundle. In many cases it's because the game's on a sale deep enough that it might as well be in a bundle (sub-$0.30 prices). But occasionally I'll get a more normally discounted game for $2.50-$5. To give an example of how rarely this occurs, in 2015 this happened once in November, once in April, and a whole 9 times during the Steam Summer Sale. Of those 11 purchases, the only item I paid more than $5 for was $7.50 for Grim Fandango Remastered, and that was purely nostalgia driven. And I probably wouldn't have bought most of these if I wasn't using Steam Wallet money which I got from selling trading cards from bundled games and the like.

Back in April of this year I reached 2000 games in my account, at which point I resolved to only buy bundles if they have at least one game that I'm really interested in. 8 months later, my account has 2465 games, so that hasn't been as successful as I'd hoped...

So given how rarely I buy games outside of bundles, the devs of bundled games aren't missing any money from me, unless they have one of the few games I have an eye on anyway. That has happened a few times - when a game that I would've gladly paid $2.50-$5 on Steam store gets put in a $2.50-$5 bundle with 5-10 other games. So my advice for avoiding this scenario is simple - always do Steam Sales before going into Bundles. Unless you're really in dire straits and can't make rent otherwise.
Last edited by kalirion; Dec 17, 2015 @ 1:32pm
Meowie Pie Dec 17, 2015 @ 4:02pm 
Originally posted by kalirion:
Originally posted by wickworks:
If anybody has any thoughts on how deeply discounted bundles look from their perspective, I'd love to hear them.

Just read your post-mortem. I didn't buy that particular bundle, so I don't have the game in my account, but I am a habitual bundle buyer, so here's my perspective.

For me, bundles are an addiction that I really should quit. I only end up playing a tiny fraction of the games I buy in bundles, and the rest only show "time played' if they have trading cards - I don't actually play them, and use a program to "idle" them to get the cards dropped. If you make a list of all the bundles I've bought over the years, the bundles in which I haven't played a single game will likely greatly outnumber the rest.

I will sometimes buy a Steam game outside of a bundle. In many cases it's because the game's on a sale deep enough that it might as well be in a bundle (sub-$0.30 prices). But occasionally I'll get a more normally discounted game for $2.50-$5. To give an example of how rarely this occurs, in 2015 this happened once in November, once in April, and a whole 9 times during the Steam Summer Sale. Of those 11 purchases, the only item I paid more than $5 for was $7.50 for Grim Fandango Remastered, and that was purely nostalgia driven. And I probably wouldn't have bought most of these if I wasn't using Steam Wallet money which I got from selling trading cards from bundled games and the like.

Back in April of this year I reached 2000 games in my account, at which point I resolved to only buy bundles if they have at least one game that I'm really interested in. 8 months later, my account has 2465 games, so that hasn't been as successful as I'd hoped...

So given how rarely I buy games outside of bundles, the devs of bundled games aren't missing any money from me, unless they have one of the few games I have an eye on anyway. That has happened a few times - when a game that I would've gladly paid $2.50-$5 on Steam store gets put in a $2.50-$5 bundle with 5-10 other games. So my advice for avoiding this scenario is simple - always do Steam Sales before going into Bundles. Unless you're really in dire straits and can't make rent otherwise.


You're more hard core than I am ....and I'm often called a cheap ♥♥♥.
wickworks  [developer] Dec 17, 2015 @ 4:28pm 
@kaliron
Wow... thank you for writing! This is one of the best-laid-out perspectives I've read.

Even after being part of the trading card marketplace, most of how it works is a mystery to me. Since cards go for pennies, I never imagined that there was a serious market for them, and didn't know their connection with bundles. What you describe almost sounds like mining for bitcoins.

I think you're exactly correct when you say to do steam sales before bundles. A steam sale is going to be the next experiment, I think. We're participating in the holiday sales, but since it doesn't seem that people with the game on their wishlist get emailed, they seem very different than individual sales.
shockedfrog Dec 18, 2015 @ 6:57am 
The majority of cards go for pennies, though some games do manage to keep the prices up - this is usually because they have a popular theme. Some anime cards and backgrounds tend to be a bit more popular, along with emoticons which people will actually use, whether it's in conversation or to decorate profiles. The most infamous is probably weed ( http://steamcommunity.com/market/listings/753/205610-%3Aweed%3A ), a favourite of mine is :apafrog: ( http://steamcommunity.com/market/listings/753/241320-%3Aapafrog%3A ) - hearts are also popular, as are some smiles, and sometimes things like stars/orbs.

I'm not sure how much money the more successful card sets actually make for the devs, though - it's probably not all that much from the items themselves, more from the additional sales made thanks to having them at all, so it's understandable why most devs just phone it in.

Even the less popular sets have their moments though, as long as they're cheap and easy to craft into badges - some people just want cheap levels for their profile, and during sales, there's a little extra demand because the crafted card sets spawn sale cards instead of (usually useless) coupons.
MDuh Dec 18, 2015 @ 8:42pm 
Originally posted by wickworks:
Better late than never: I put that bundle postmortem together:

http://wick.works/2015/12/14/bundle-stars-postmortem/

I also read your blog. It's sad, but I think devs should learn how to devalue their games properly when it's not getting the traffic and attention on steam. I was surprised that this game went to a bundle site first before even going to 50% sale on steam!

I like to think if I was on the shoes of the dev, so I'm going to try and think what I will do if I have this game selling poorly on steam.

-----------------------------

First I would start by putting my game for 33->50->66 and finally 75% sale on steam on intervals, maybe even start @ 33% as a release discount price. For an indie game that I never heard(or suggested) and a game name/picture that doesn't clique at me in first glance, 66% is the lowest discount where I put a 2 minute attention on the game's store page: watching the trailer in full, reading the description and if the game "somewhat" interest me, I check the game forums and reviews on the general reception on the game.

After that 75% sale, I'll put the game on sale @ 90% on sale on steam. This is the discount point where game collectors like me look at the store page and decide if this game deserves a 90% buy on steam, or wait for it to get bundled. Usually, I look at the review percentage on steam, if its like 60% or lower, most likely that I will just close the store page and immediately decide: "yep, only getting that one in a bundled"

Then after only that time I would try to put my game in a bundle starting with IndieGameStand. They feature a $1 promo with your game only

It's kinda sad to think that this is how I check games I'm planning to buy in steam nowadays, but you know what, it's really hard to sell a game on steam nowadays especially if you are an indie with no exposure and promotion on your game.

I used to think as a child that I'm going to be a game dev and when I was deciding a course in university, Game dev concentration was actually my first selection. Unfortunately, after seeing how oversaturated steam was, I just jump shipped to crytography/networking because I've seen how competitieve you must be when releasing an indie game steam already
Meowie Pie Dec 18, 2015 @ 9:28pm 
Originally posted by wickworks:
I used to think as a child that I'm going to be a game dev and when I was deciding a course in university, Game dev concentration was actually my first selection. Unfortunately, after seeing how oversaturated steam was, I just jump shipped to crytography/networking because I've seen how competitieve you must be when releasing an indie game steam already

This^

Daily I find cool games that entered onto Steam months back. I never noticed them because they only had about an hour spotlight on the front page before washed off it by obnoxious loads of DLC and other amateur games.
Last edited by Meowie Pie; Dec 18, 2015 @ 9:28pm
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