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Developer: our free game torrent resulted in 4x Steam sales

by Mark Tyson on 14 January 2020, 12:11

Tags: Valve, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Rockstar

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qaehrt

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'Give your game away free' promotional strategy

Games developer Shota Bobokhidze (AKA ShotX) was rather put out by the reception of his latest game when it hit Steam earlier this year. Colourful post-apocalyptic roguelite top-down shooter Danger Gazers made nary a splash when released on the hugely popular PC games distribution platform. It is easy to comprehend how difficult it is to be seen on such a populous store, with many big name, big budget franchises launching and being promoted on it regularly.

Slightly discouraged Bobokhidze decided on a new strategy to get seen. After a week of his new game treading water in the dark depths of the Steam Store, he decided to give away full working copies of his game on infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay. Polygon reports that he uploaded the DRM-free Danger Gazers 1.1.0 with a note saying "there’s no catch here, no Steam only features, just the fully functional game". All Bobokhidze asked was that if any players liked the game that they consider buying it via Steam ($9.99 / £7.19).

The upshot of Bobokhidze's quite brave promo strategy is that the game enjoyed a 400 per cent uplift in sales during the following week (compared to the launch week). Danger Gazers has been added to double the number of wish lists than it was before. Last but not least Bobokhidze's appeal seems to have tugged the heartstrings of some buyers, with a number of them donating double the price of the game to encourage further development.

GTA4 PC/Steam went missing

There was quite a bit of speculation over previous days about why GTA4 had suddenly become un-purchasable via the Steam Store. Yesterday Rockstar confirmed to The Verge that the game was no longer available on the platform due to its reliance on the Games for Windows Live (GFWL, or G4WL if you like) platform.

Microsoft shuttered the G4WL service back in July 2014 but some games incorporating the service could still run without game-breaking issues, though there might be some hiccups or required workarounds for smooth play.

In response to enquiries Rockstar gave The Verge the following statement: "With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game. We are looking at other options for distributing GTAIV for PC and will share more information as soon as we can." This means that the game looks like it will come back to Steam in good time - and there weren't any issues with music licensing, or any plans to make the game a Rockstar Launcher exclusive after all…



HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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On the GTA IV front, things were so much easier when you could use the XLiveLess mod as a workaround.

Unfortunately that only worked up until 1.0.7.0, so when Rockstar did an update in more recent times (most likely to remove music that they no longer had the rights to), whoever made that mod was long gone and thus it obviously never got updated.

Doing a search just now, I discovered this guide on Steam that was posted last month, that suggests there is a way for the game to work for Windows 10 uers, but I haven't tried it for myself.

To be honest, I only really played it on PC to free-roam and try out various mods (including better graphics packs), since I'd already played the actual story on the console versions in the years previous to that.
HEXUS
Last but not least Bobokhidze's appeal seems to have tugged the heartstrings of some buyers, with a number of them donating double the price of the game to encourage further development.
So people will happily pay developers lots of money to keep them going, but take umbrage when Epic adopt the same mentality?
Ttaskmaster
So people will happily pay developers lots of money to keep them going, but take umbrage when Epic adopt the same mentality?

People paying them to keep going through crowd appreciation of an altruistic act…or paying to have sole rights to consumer sales.

Hmm…
Tabbykatze
People paying them to keep going through crowd appreciation of an altruistic act…or paying to have sole rights to consumer sales.

Hmm…

Wow, look at the mental gymnastics these people have to put themselves through just to continue being a part of an internet meme
Usernamist
Tabbykatze
People paying them to keep going through crowd appreciation of an altruistic act…or paying to have sole rights to consumer sales.

Hmm…

Wow, look at the mental gymnastics these people have to put themselves through just to continue being a part of an internet meme

Nice try to discredit a perfectly reasonable post, but your score is an F, for failure. Or is the idea of doing something for a good cause versus profit so complex that you had to jump through hoops to understand?