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  #1  
Old 09-15-2016, 05:29 PM
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Shadow Shadow is offline
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Default Steam reviews change

If you aren't in the loop, Steam basically added more ways to filter reviews and the default filter (and the resulting score) only take into account reviews by people that bought the game directly through Steam. External keys are left out (they are still there, they are just not included in the default settings).

Lots of people have been talking about this. You can see lots of developer reaction on RPS and on Gamasutra. You can also see some of the games that were most affected by this change here.

Here's how this is likely to affect Soldak from a developer standpoint:

The good: Hopefully developers won't be able to cheat their review scores any more by providing free keys to people (or just fake accounts) to write up fake positive reviews. You can see in that third link above that this has been happening. Hopefully this also stops the practice of people asking developers for free keys to write up a good review on Steam. We get a ton of these every time we release a new game on Steam. Frankly it's pretty unethical so we've never done this and it's time wasted going through all of this email.

The bad: Developers like us still try to sell as many units as we can directly to our gamers. We've always given Steam keys to our directly purchasers on request. In the past, sometimes this happens because we release the game directly before we get on Steam and sometimes these are people that just want to give us more support by buying directly from us. Either way these tend to be some of our more vocal fans and now their reviews will not be in the default filter and score.

The unknown: We will lose Steam reviews from our games sold through other means but end up with a Steam key. For us that means some bundles Depths of Peril has been in and a few portals that provide Steam keys that our various games have been on. I'm really not sure this will change anything for us. For developers that rely on things like Kickstarter this might be big deal.

From a customer standpoint (I do buy games, sometimes on Steam and sometimes not. I don't write reviews though):

The good: Now by default I only see reviews by accounts that actually bought the game on Steam. That should mean much more of the reviews are actually by real people and not fake crap. This should be nice. I can also always change the filter to look at all of the reviews if I want to.

The bad: For me personally from a customer standpoint, I'm not sure there is anything bad, but again I don't write reviews.

So having said all that I looked at Depths of Peril, Din's Curse, Drox Operative, and Zombasite on Steam to see how it has actually affected us so far by changing the filters and seeing what changes. With the new stuff Depths of Peril's score actually goes up 1% and loses 2 reviews, Din's Curse loses 1 review, Drox Operative loses 4 reviews, and Zombasite loses 4 reviews. So overall we lost a few reviews and DoP score actually went up a little.

So what are your thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 09-15-2016, 10:16 PM
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Castruccio Castruccio is offline
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Well my initial thoughts as a person in the "vocal fan" category is that this is an unfortunate change. Like you say, I always buy from you directly then get a Steam key. I have noticed that reviews with more hours played tend to be featured at the top of a game's review list, so I was going to wait until I had 50+ hours in Zombasite to write a review. Now, it looks like that review won't be featured since I bought the game straight from you.

Perhaps in the future it would be best to buy all of your games (and any game that a person is passionate about) directly from Steam so that the review will count. But this means you will lose 30% of that purchase to Steam, which is upsetting to me as a fan.

In general, this change seems like an odd one. It silences people who are enthusiastic about games and buy them directly from the developer or contribute to a developer's Kickstarter. What Steam needs to do is implement real human content control instead of trying to censor things automatically. The service has become so big, however, that it is probably impossible for them to hire human review moderators, but it seems like the only fair solution to this problem. Otherwise you silence the trolls and the passionate fans at the same time. Both the legitimate and illegitimate people are punished.
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Old 09-16-2016, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Castruccio View Post
Perhaps in the future it would be best to buy all of your games (and any game that a person is passionate about) directly from Steam so that the review will count. But this means you will lose 30% of that purchase to Steam, which is upsetting to me as a fan.
Just as a reference, direct purchases cost us around 10%.
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Last edited by Shadow : 12-01-2016 at 01:06 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-16-2016, 01:49 PM
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Castruccio Castruccio is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
Just as a reference, direct purchases cost as around 10%.
So that means a purchase through steam nets you 20% less than a purchase through your website. That certainly adds up over time, but I guess the boon of Steam is the increased visibility.

I don't know what your direct vs. Steam sales numbers are like (and I'm not asking about them), but I do wonder how much money you would really lose if you closed your web store and sold ONLY through Steam and made the Humble version DRM free without a Steam Key. In that case, all reviews of your game on Steam would have been purchasers through Steam, but you'd still have a DRM Free option at Humble (or GOG if your game makes it through their obscure vetting process).
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Old 09-20-2016, 01:02 PM
Notorious Notorious is offline
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If you do that then you play into the hands of the Steam monopoly and limit your direct access to your customers. I am anti Steam, don't use it at all because I don't support DRM nor monopolies. So I buy directly from you or from GOG.
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  #6  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:32 PM
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Castruccio Castruccio is offline
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It looks like Steam made a few tweaks to the system based on developer feedback.

http://store.steampowered.com/news/24331/
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2016, 03:12 AM
ZumbieMan ZumbieMan is offline
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I think that on balance, these are good changes. I'm all for more accountability in reviews and removing the scores of free keys is a good way to break the favourable review for a free copy thing, which is very detrimental in my view.
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  #8  
Old 03-28-2017, 07:14 AM
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If Steam share is 30% - what share GOG demands?
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Old 03-28-2017, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by oux View Post
If Steam share is 30% - what share GOG demands?
I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to talk about any of the various portals percentages. Most of the agreements have confidentiality clauses. I will say that most of the portals we deal with now days are similar. The casual portals that we used to deal with were way worst when it came to the developers share.
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Old 03-28-2017, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow View Post
I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to talk about any of the various portals percentages. Most of the agreements have confidentiality clauses. I will say that most of the portals we deal with now days are similar. The casual portals that we used to deal with were way worst when it came to the developers share.
What would you propose to use: gog or steam?
I am not a proponent of steam, but I am not sure about how gog treat devs and users.
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