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Re: Steam Key Scammers

How about starting a thread about wich media personalities are relevant and trustworthy, when the time is right? Josh won't have to wade through hectotons of junk mail and those tho could spred the word but hadn't heard of the game yet will get easier access.
Sure. This system sucks. But maybe a little less than the alternatives.
[hypes internälly]

Re: Steam Key Scammers

Der_Foe wrote:How about starting a thread about wich media personalities are relevant and trustworthy, when the time is right? Josh won't have to wade through hectotons of junk mail and those tho could spred the word but hadn't heard of the game yet will get easier access.
Sure. This system sucks. But maybe a little less than the alternatives.
woops, my bad, everything & anything actually means specific and conformed

Re: Steam Key Scammers

RageQuitKetchup wrote:I got a great idea for this; if someone wants to play or review LT, they have to buy the game first from either the official site or an authorized distributor (such as Steam, if Josh decides to work with them), and THEN they can play/review it.

Damn grubs.

Re: Steam Key Scammers

Another indie game, another deluge of demands and threats for Steam keys from resellers.

This article (and the mostly excellent comments) describes one indie game developer's experiences, with examples of the crazy "Give me keys!" emails he immediately started receiving.

Even better, he offers what seem like very good suggestions to other indie developers who sell their game on Steam.

Compulsively fascinating, if disturbing, reading.

Re: Steam Key Scammers

I'm glad you linked this article, Flatfingers. I've found this topic of yours before - actually, I remember when you posted it, and I had found it again since then (and within the past six months, too!). Seeing as Josh and the others will likely be tied up in bug fixes, OSX support, post-release features and the like, it seems likely that it will fall to me to deal with people asking for keys. As such, I've been looking into this sort of thing. Josh does like the idea of giving away free keys to a few promotion channels, but (of course) within reason, wherein lies the catch. At the moment I'm thinking 100k+ (non-bot) subscribers on YouTube (and a clear indication that they do game reviews/playthroughs) would be a good justification for providing a review copy. I honestly don't see that there's any point in handing out multiple free keys at all, and I certainly don't want to end up negotiating with resellers.

And, of course... this also goes hand-in-hand with piracy, for which the forums have a zero-tolerance policy (largely due to Gazz. Gazz has an extreme loathing for pirates beyond anything I've ever seen). I'd not like Josh to get a massive slice off of what he might earn - not after he's worked so hard. Josh isn't interested in adding DRM, either, so our options are limited. I think the most clever way to deal with it would be to intentionally release a pirated version... where all pirates are 10x as powerful as you might encounter in the normal version. Complaints of "Help! I can't do anything because the pirates are stealing everything I have!" would be hilarious and ironic. Also sad. Game Dev Tycoon did something similar.

In a perfect world, we would have something like how pirates were dealt with by the Stardew Valley community: The community members started buying copies for pirates, and there were hundreds, if not thousands of them that came forward. Unfortunately, I think a lot of that stemmed from the game itself being so friendly, open, and community-oriented. It still wasn't much of a solution, but it was a very happy, noteworthy one.

I'm going to continue giving this lots of thought on the way to release.
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Re: Steam Key Scammers

I'm glad to hear you're thinking about this. Having some ideas now about how you want to market LT when it's "done" will help keep that activity focused and organized.

One very important question is this: What is the depth of Josh's interest in promoting LT as a commercial product?

I think that's the main thing to guide marketing activity. If Josh will be happy just to be able to play the game he wanted, and has no interest in doing any selling, then marketing for LT will be limited to sending copies to a few well-known targets and hoping the game sells itself. Steam key requests from any account not verified as belonging to 100K+ streamers can be ignored unless you're feeling nice that day.

If Josh is interested in seeing whether LT can serve as a "long tail" revenue stream, on the other hand, and is willing to allocate some of his time and energy to promoting the game, then that's where you'll need to define rules (and maybe even support software systems) for how to process key requests. For example, suppose Josh streams LT on Twitch, or does (or joins) a Let's Play on YouTube, or does interviews with gaming journalism sites, or (as I hope) writes some articles himself; all of those will increase visibility for LT. And as Josh does more of those things, out will scuttle the key resellers. You'll want to be responsive to them because you want to reward attention to Josh's outreach actions... and that benefit-of-the-doubt is exactly what they're counting on.

If you give out individual keys, you will get scammed. So put aside any thoughts of perfection here. The main thing, from what I can see, is avoiding the obvious tricks: requests for 50 or 100 keys they'll guarantee to sell "for" you, and form letters that are too similar for coincidence. If you can dodge those, that's probably the best you can do without hiring professionals to handle key requests for you. (Also, you might be tempted to string along apparent resellers to try to cost them time and money, but I suspect that would be a mistake. Better to just ignore them and let them wonder than to interact with them.)

On piracy... I truly don't know. As much as I hate delays between when a game ships for consoles and when it is made available for the PC, I have to admit this probably does maximize sales versus piracy. (I know console games get cracked, too; it's still enough of a win to delay the PC release.)

The LT version of this would be to release only on Steam to begin with (hence the importance of Steam keys going only to verified accounts), then after some amount of time (two weeks? a month? enough time to add Mac support?), putting the no-DRM game up for sale on GOG or even directly from Josh's own web page. The strongly anti-DRM folks will be unhappy, and of course even this won't stop all piracy. But it would maximize revenue to Procedural Reality, Inc., and that is absolutely proper given all the work that's gone into this project.

Just some thoughts.

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