The “Not on Steam” sale hopes to make money, and raise awareness of indies not on Valve’s service
Aaron San Filippo of Flippfly was frustrated. Race the Sun enjoyed a successful Kickstarter, but the game was having a hard time in its Greenlight campaign, and sales just weren’t where they needed to be without Steam. If he couldn’t do anything about the situation, at least he could talk about it.
The resulting post about the struggles of games that aren’t a part of the Steam ecosystem became big news.
“The past two weeks have been amazing,” San Filippo told me. “After we posted that and so many outlets, including the PA Report, picked up the story of our struggling sales, our fans really got energized, and we started climbing the Greenlight ranks.” The fact that Race the Sun was back in the news was a big help, and the blog posts, support from the Youtube community, and supportive fans have helped push the game back up the Greenlight charts, where it is now near the top ten games. Still, San Filippo was still getting messages about how people would buy it when it was on Steam.
“So, we at Flippfly decided to host an impromptu sale, the ‘Not on Steam’ sale,” he explained. “It's not an anti-Steam measure at all; we'd like to be clear that we love Steam. But we want players everywhere to be aware that there are some great PC games out there that aren't available on that platform. Many of them are stuck on Greenlight, and folks are missing out if they never step outside their favorite store.”
Right now there are around 40 games involved in the sale, and the requirements were simple: The games had to be sold at a discount, and they couldn’t be on Steam. The games are sorted in random order on the page, so no one has an advantage. The idea of a bundle was rejected because it was important that the games keep their own systems for receiving payment and sending out the game. There is even an icon that tells you if you’ll get a Steam code if the game ever comes to the service.
San Filipo was honest about the goals of the sale. “First, to try and earn a bit more revenue from our own game, to help buy us some time to port the game to other platforms,’ he said. “And secondly, to make some more friends in the indie community, and help shine a light on some of their games. We feel like we've enjoyed a lot of the spotlight these past couple weeks, and we'd love to remind gamers that we're not the only indies out there with worthwhile games who are struggling to make a living.”
“So in that sense, we feel like it'll be a success even if we don't see a massive revenue increase, as long as there's a general awareness raised about some of these other great games,” he continued.
You can browse the site now, and see what games are available, the discounted and normal price, whether or not you'll get a Steam key if the Greenlight campaign is successful, and there are even links so you can vote for each game on Greenlight. The selection is varied, and the number of games is a little overwhelming.
“We didn't want to play curators, though maybe we should have, and so we've basically opened it up to any developer with a game for sale who was willing to put their game in at a discount,” San Filipo told me when I asked about the extensive collection of games.
It's an interesting idea, and Race the Sun had done much to raise awareness of how important Steam can be for smaller releases, and how it can sometimes take opening the books to get people interested in a game. The publicity, and the resulting sale, proves that it's never too late to fight for your game, and the results speak for themselves.