Submitting game to Steam

Hi all.

I've been away for a while and took a break from developing games (or rather, trying to!). I want to start with something again, but before I do I feel I need to get something very important off my checklist. The last game I was working on, Control Shift (https://controlshift.itch.io/control-shift), was stuck in limbo at the 99% done stage but never quite got there due to scope creep and laziness.

But, I'm finishing it now by cutting all the fluff and rounding it off. I'm pretty happy with it as is. I don't want to sell it for very expensive but feel I can charge a dollar or 2 for it at least, and maybe recoup some of my costs if I'm lucky. But before I get ahead of myself - the reason I'm here is to get some advice. Should I start a company with all participants? Or should I publish the game to steam in my own capacity? I can always figure out fair distribution with my partners later on and we all trust each other. Though I suppose there could be greater tax implications doing it this way (hence I'm here for advice).

Next, I recall there being some film and publications board bullshit sometime in the past. Am I meant to submit the game to someone first to get it reviewed in order for me to not get fined and / or arrested if I publish to steam?

Any advice will be appreciated. I hope to start being a bit more active again soon :)

Comments

  • I don't have time to write a more wordy response, but here are my quick thoughts:
    • Don't plan on figuring out fair distribution later. There are an endless number of stories where ppl thought the same, and things turned out badly. This isn't necessarily because people are dishonest, it's often just cause people have a very different idea of what "fair" is. Have the conversation when things are still easy. At minimum get something in writing, although something legal is better.
    • If you want to deal with Steam you'll need to either setup a company or have everyone transfer/license their respective work to an individual, and then trust that individual. You don't need to have the entire team be an owner of the company, but you'll need to get at least some legal stuff done, so a company might be useful if you plan on future things. A company also gives you more options for tax. It depends a bit on your long-term plans and how much you expect to make from the game. Dealing with foreign entities like Valve is easier as a company.
    • IMHO you don't need to worry about FPB. You would be licensing your game to Steam and they are distributing it. At worst you could opt to not distribute the game in South Africa, but I have seen more than one game developed locally that doesn't have an FPB rating.
    • My impression is that $1 or $2 is almost always too low of a price point on desktop. I'm not sure what sort of scope you're aiming for, but I would try aim for selling it for $5 minimum. For one, it gives you more room for discounts. At that price range you aren't really competing for money, you're competing for time - as a consumer, do I want to put my time into this game? With sales and a large Steam backlog, the money is secondary. If you feel like $5 is outrageously high for your game, maybe consider putting it out for free or a PWYW model?
    Thanked by 2Denzil pieter
  • I don't have time to write a more wordy response, but here are my quick thoughts:
    • Don't plan on figuring out fair distribution later. There are an endless number of stories where ppl thought the same, and things turned out badly. This isn't necessarily because people are dishonest, it's often just cause people have a very different idea of what "fair" is. Have the conversation when things are still easy. At minimum get something in writing, although something legal is better.
    • If you want to deal with Steam you'll need to either setup a company or have everyone transfer/license their respective work to an individual, and then trust that individual. You don't need to have the entire team be an owner of the company, but you'll need to get at least some legal stuff done, so a company might be useful if you plan on future things. A company also gives you more options for tax. It depends a bit on your long-term plans and how much you expect to make from the game. Dealing with foreign entities like Valve is easier as a company.
    • IMHO you don't need to worry about FPB. You would be licensing your game to Steam and they are distributing it. At worst you could opt to not distribute the game in South Africa, but I have seen more than one game developed locally that doesn't have an FPB rating.
    • My impression is that $1 or $2 is almost always too low of a price point on desktop. I'm not sure what sort of scope you're aiming for, but I would try aim for selling it for $5 minimum. For one, it gives you more room for discounts. At that price range you aren't really competing for money, you're competing for time - as a consumer, do I want to put my time into this game? With sales and a large Steam backlog, the money is secondary. If you feel like $5 is outrageously high for your game, maybe consider putting it out for free or a PWYW model?
    Thanks for the thoughtful reply :) I'm not going to comment on everything just for the sake of commenting, but there's a lot of useful advice in here that I'll follow.

    I think you are probably right with needing to figure out fair distribution early on. I guess my point was that I put in most of the work, but I don't really care to get most of the compensation - but for all I know others feel like they put in the most work too :D I'll have a chat with the team straight away

    Good point on the price too. I suppose when something is priced too low most people will just straight up ignore it as trash. Now, Control Shift is the first game I'm going to try and sell. And its definitely not as grand as I once planned it to be after I allowed scope creep to nearly destroy the project - but its much more than I initially expected and I'm still proud of it. And I've seen friends and especially young kids have a few hours of fun playing it, so perhaps pricing it at $5 is fair (especially with discounts). I just don't want people to think I ripped them off because the game wasn't this awesome thing I once imagined it to be, but I suppose, that was never the aim from the start. If it can entertain for a couple of hours, then I'm happy.

    Cheers!
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