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View Full Version : Co-release beta on Steam?



XagoTrunk
02-18-2014, 01:52 PM
Games released on steam generally have pretty good success because of it's huge playerbase. Even F2P games like Path of Exile did it really well when they co-released with Steam. Is there any chance we could get this to happen with Hex as well? It would definitely garner a lot of good attention.

Yuhan
02-18-2014, 02:29 PM
Yup. Steam is huge. HUGE.

It would get a LOT of attention on that platform and as far as I know it doesn't require a tremendous amount of effort.

bojanglesz
02-18-2014, 02:33 PM
I'd figure (and hope) that's in the plans for actual release. Probably not PVP Beta though.

Gwaer
02-18-2014, 02:41 PM
I hope hex does well enough to not need steam. They can always release there if numbers are low. But the cut steam takes out of in game sales is not small.

Jinxies
02-18-2014, 02:45 PM
We've had this discussion before and I don't think it's worth it either considering cost.

Svenn
02-18-2014, 02:56 PM
As much as I want it to happen, Hex isn't going to suddenly be phenomenally big when beta/release happens. Steam might take a cut, but the amount of players that will be introduced to the game through it would far outweigh that. Hex has a base of maybe 20,000 and Cory wants that to hit over a million. That's going to be very tough to accomplish without some help. Without a Steam release I'd bet we'll be lucky to have 100k regular users.

Xenavire
02-18-2014, 03:10 PM
I do not think Hex will ever need to partner with steam in any way shape or form. But it is always an option should Hex be suffering. Doing it early is a bad move (guaranteed problems. Problems everywhere.)

The major: Servers. Almost every game on steam that I have played (MMO of course) has had segregated servers for steam players only. This could be dealt with, but I have a feeling this is a condition for using steam as a host - it might be hard to get around.

The minor: Steam cut on sales. Hex is already dirt cheap, if Steam is getting a cut, CZE might have to stop developing the game due to lack of funds. CZE might be able to angle things that they don't have to go through the steam store, but after seeing how steam handles things, it seems unlikely.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 08:40 AM
I do not think Hex will ever need to partner with steam in any way shape or form. But it is always an option should Hex be suffering. Doing it early is a bad move (guaranteed problems. Problems everywhere.)

The major: Servers. Almost every game on steam that I have played (MMO of course) has had segregated servers for steam players only. This could be dealt with, but I have a feeling this is a condition for using steam as a host - it might be hard to get around.

The minor: Steam cut on sales. Hex is already dirt cheap, if Steam is getting a cut, CZE might have to stop developing the game due to lack of funds. CZE might be able to angle things that they don't have to go through the steam store, but after seeing how steam handles things, it seems unlikely.
I'm not sure what games you are playing on Steam that have segregated servers. The ones I play don't... Path of Exile recently went up on Steam and it's the exact same servers for the customers not using the Steam version, for example. Champions Online uses their normal servers. Neverwinter uses their normal servers.

And again, if Steam takes a cut (even if it's 15% or whatever)... the thousands/millions of new people exposed to the game can easily more than make up for that. I'm not up on specifics, but I imagine Steam wouldn't be able to take a cut from the people using the standalone client either... so no loss of revenue from the people already playing.

I just don't see Hex getting close to 1 million+ users without Steam unless they manage a very good marketing campaign and get lucky that enough people latch onto it. It's not a casual game with mass appeal, which is where the millions of customers comes into play for most games, but rather a more hardcore niche game that needs all the exposure it can get.

Gwaer
02-19-2014, 08:43 AM
Time will tell? They can always get on steam afterwards if enough people aren't interested. Personally, I think there's a very good chance of them making it on their own. So they might as well go for it.

ossuary
02-19-2014, 09:23 AM
There's zero reason to use Steam for a game like this. It wouldn't be worth the trouble to integrate.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 09:31 AM
There's zero reason to use Steam for a game like this. It wouldn't be worth the trouble to integrate.

Yeah, exposure to millions of potential customers couldn't benefit this at all...

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 09:33 AM
I wouldn't complain about getting the overlay to work.

I did see someone mention that they had it working, but never an explanation of how, and my attempts failed.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 09:36 AM
Yeah, exposure to millions of potential customers couldn't benefit this at all...

You need to consider the fact that all those players can learn about it in other ways too. Most steam games I have ever played I learned about elsewhere.

Hex is likely to be one of those games. I mean we aren't talking about some indie abortion that fails to greenlight. We are talking about a potentially AAA game that wants to be the premier dTCG.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 09:51 AM
You need to consider the fact that all those players can learn about it in other ways too. Most steam games I have ever played I learned about elsewhere.

Hex is likely to be one of those games. I mean we aren't talking about some indie abortion that fails to greenlight. We are talking about a potentially AAA game that wants to be the premier dTCG.
Sure, they could eventually learn about it elsewhere maybe. The fact is that when games go on Steam they get massive surges in players, though. Also, I can't tell you how many times I've seen a friend load up a game on Steam I hadn't seen/heard of, right click and view the game page and go "Hey, that game looks like something I'd like."

Also, "potentially AAA" and "wants to be" are the keywords there. I absolutely love Hex and I want it to be the next big thing with millions of players... but I'm also realistic in my expectations. Most games (especially niche games like Hex) aren't going to have a million+ active players, it's not an easy thing to accomplish.

I'm not saying Hex HAS to go to Steam or should even necessarily be working on having Steam ready for release (and it definitely shouldn't be Steam exclusive)... but it's definitely something that needs to be considered. Steam is a massive player in the world of PC gaming.

Rendakor
02-19-2014, 09:54 AM
I assumed they'd launch on Steam with the transition from open beta to release (and thus the PVE launch). The massive influx of customers seems well worth the cut Steam takes of revenue.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 10:30 AM
Steam is only big because it keeps all the games together, and sells them cheap. I know a lot of people that dislike steam but have to use it (games like Skyrim force you to use steam, no exceptions unless you are a pirate.) I used to dislike steam, but I now use it as a chat service (and a host for my games, but not much else.) I certainly don't go looking for new games on steam very often, and I have yet to find a game that I think would have been worth buying on steam that wouldn't have been worth it buying it separate.

And look at the slightly older games, like WoW. They were never hosted on steam, and still had huge playerbases (I am saying WoW specifically because it had more than 8million players worldwide, both before and after steam was introduced.)

And might I add, that Hearthstone will also not be on steam, has a large playerbase, and is still losing players to Hex already?

People learn about these thigns by word of mouth, through big gaming conventions (E3 etc) and through TV. I think Hex will hit word of mouth hard, E3 is a possibility, and while TV might be unlikely, it is always an option. But only indie games get popular through steam. Other games are already popular, and just get sales on steam because steam is cheap.

bojanglesz
02-19-2014, 10:40 AM
Steam is only big because it keeps all the games together, and sells them cheap. I know a lot of people that dislike steam but have to use it (games like Skyrim force you to use steam, no exceptions unless you are a pirate.) I used to dislike steam, but I now use it as a chat service (and a host for my games, but not much else.) I certainly don't go looking for new games on steam very often, and I have yet to find a game that I think would have been worth buying on steam that wouldn't have been worth it buying it separate.

And look at the slightly older games, like WoW. They were never hosted on steam, and still had huge playerbases (I am saying WoW specifically because it had more than 8million players worldwide, both before and after steam was introduced.)

And might I add, that Hearthstone will also not be on steam, has a large playerbase, and is still losing players to Hex already?

People learn about these thigns by word of mouth, through big gaming conventions (E3 etc) and through TV. I think Hex will hit word of mouth hard, E3 is a possibility, and while TV might be unlikely, it is always an option. But only indie games get popular through steam. Other games are already popular, and just get sales on steam because steam is cheap.

I'm sorry but "And might I add, that Hearthstone will also not be on steam, has a large playerbase, and is still losing players to Hex already?" You're kidding yourself if you think Hex is actually pulling people from Hearthstone right now. In the future? Could definitely see it and I hope it happens. But not now.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 11:23 AM
I'm sorry but "And might I add, that Hearthstone will also not be on steam, has a large playerbase, and is still losing players to Hex already?" You're kidding yourself if you think Hex is actually pulling people from Hearthstone right now. In the future? Could definitely see it and I hope it happens. But not now.

But it is already happening. Not in massive numbers, but several new slacker backers have specifically stated that they came to Hex because Hearthstone wasn't engaging enough.

Not to mention a lot of people that have tried both are sticking with Hex, barely touching Hearthstone.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 11:36 AM
Steam is only big because it keeps all the games together, and sells them cheap. I know a lot of people that dislike steam but have to use it (games like Skyrim force you to use steam, no exceptions unless you are a pirate.) I used to dislike steam, but I now use it as a chat service (and a host for my games, but not much else.) I certainly don't go looking for new games on steam very often, and I have yet to find a game that I think would have been worth buying on steam that wouldn't have been worth it buying it separate.
Steam is big because tons of people love it for various reasons... including good prices, easy game management, as a social platform for gamer friends, etc. I know many people (myself included) that will actually pass up on games because they are NOT on Steam. I like having all my games in one place and unless a game is REALLY good, I will sometimes pass on it if there isn't a Steam version available.


And look at the slightly older games, like WoW. They were never hosted on steam, and still had huge playerbases (I am saying WoW specifically because it had more than 8million players worldwide, both before and after steam was introduced.)

And might I add, that Hearthstone will also not be on steam, has a large playerbase, and is still losing players to Hex already?

People learn about these thigns by word of mouth, through big gaming conventions (E3 etc) and through TV. I think Hex will hit word of mouth hard, E3 is a possibility, and while TV might be unlikely, it is always an option. But only indie games get popular through steam. Other games are already popular, and just get sales on steam because steam is cheap.
Blizzard is a completely different beast. They've got a built in base of fanboys from the 90s that play all of their games. WoW was also the exception to the rule for games, especially MMOs. Blizzard builds games for casuals, which is a much larger market.

Can you name me 5 MMOs other than WoW that have an activate player base of over 1 million users currently? Can you name me a single digital card game other than Hearthstone that has even reached 1 million players?

I said it in another thread, but here it is again... comparing Hearthstone and Hex is silly. Hearthstone is huge because of several factors including the fact that it's Blizzard with their built-in fanbase and it caters to the casual market. I can't stand Hearthstone and I hate to say it, but Hex isn't even in the same league with it in terms of being able to capture users currently. We might be able to steal the occasional straggler from Hearthstone, but most of the people playing Hearthstone will either find Hex too complicated because they want something casual or will play Hearthstone simply because it's Blizzard's current big thing.

Also, Hex IS an "indie game" right now. And I don't think Hex will hit word of mouth as hard as you think; amongst the group of players who play digital TCGs, sure. However, that's not a large market... certainly not enough to pull in the million+ that Cory keeps saying he wants.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 11:50 AM
Well, lets face it, your point about Hearthstone is true, but not for the reason you are stating - it is because those sheeple (I am an ex fanboy, so I know how it is, we were always sheeple) are never going to be interested in a complex TCG - not because they are stupid, but because they have no desire to play TCG's. The few that do probably already play Magic, so there is a chance of crossover, but Hex is not going to draw in the WoW players by the droves. Hearthstone is that easy, shallow experience that those players are used to.


But there is a huge amount of people out there that would be open to playing a TCG, and they will find HS lacking. Those same people may not be able to or be unwilling to play physical TCG's like Magic, and that is where Hex comes in. There is a huge market for that sort of player - I know, I am one of those people, and I know a bunch of people who are just like me. I am a single TCG player who could have never got my friends interested in MTG, but I had no trouble interesting them in Hex.

I think you are underselling Hex's potential to draw in new players. I mean 20k+ people jumped in without playing first. How many more will come in when it is F2P? And word of mouth has spread Hex pretty far for a unreleased game. Blogs, podcasts, even a few big gaming sites have done features on Hex. Just wait, the second big wave will come soon (after open PvP most likely.)

Gwaer
02-19-2014, 11:52 AM
Not to mention the fact that CZE sells a crapton of deck builders that are top of the class, when they're ready to launch they can just start throwing in a fancy piece of paper advertising hex into every game they sell.

bojanglesz
02-19-2014, 11:54 AM
But it is already happening. Not in massive numbers, but several new slacker backers have specifically stated that they came to Hex because Hearthstone wasn't engaging enough.

Not to mention a lot of people that have tried both are sticking with Hex, barely touching Hearthstone.

I'd argue that Hearthstone wasn't even competing with Hex in this sense. As in, sure someone can download Hearthstone for free and say "this isn't for me" then see Hex and think "this is much more up my alley". I wouldn't classify that as Hex taking away from Hearthstone at all. There's virtually no marketing presence for Hex anyways. Now, once the game starts rolling, it'll be a different story.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 12:22 PM
Well, lets face it, your point about Hearthstone is true, but not for the reason you are stating - it is because those sheeple (I am an ex fanboy, so I know how it is, we were always sheeple) are never going to be interested in a complex TCG - not because they are stupid, but because they have no desire to play TCG's. The few that do probably already play Magic, so there is a chance of crossover, but Hex is not going to draw in the WoW players by the droves. Hearthstone is that easy, shallow experience that those players are used to.
So we are in agreement here (and I am one of those ex-fanboys as well). Hearthstone is a different beast that caters to a different audience.



But there is a huge amount of people out there that would be open to playing a TCG, and they will find HS lacking. Those same people may not be able to or be unwilling to play physical TCG's like Magic, and that is where Hex comes in. There is a huge market for that sort of player - I know, I am one of those people, and I know a bunch of people who are just like me. I am a single TCG player who could have never got my friends interested in MTG, but I had no trouble interesting them in Hex.
I think there are enough people out there to make Hex successful... but I'm not so sure that there's millions of players worth willing to play (especially knowing that they'll need to spend lots of money to be competitive).


I think you are underselling Hex's potential to draw in new players. I mean 20k+ people jumped in without playing first. How many more will come in when it is F2P? And word of mouth has spread Hex pretty far for a unreleased game. Blogs, podcasts, even a few big gaming sites have done features on Hex. Just wait, the second big wave will come soon (after open PvP most likely.)
Well, to be fair, there were far less than 20k actual backers. Some people, myself included, backed multiple times (3 in my case). We're looking at probably closer to 10-12k actual people I'm guessing. That's actually not a ton of people. I do agree that we'll see a big second wave on release, especially for the f2p part. The problem is that when you have a big surge you don't retain all of those players. I think we'll see a few hundred thousand new players around release, and retain maybe half of that.

Essentially, people seem to think Hex will release and suddenly jump to a multi-million userbase. I think it's possible that Hex could hit that... but probably not for years. More likely we'll get along with a couple hundred thousand a bit after release if we're lucky and hopefully grow from there if it catches on. I'll point you to League of Legends for a more likely model. On launch they had a decent size player base, but it took a couple years to really catch on.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 12:48 PM
I am talking about years for millions, but I do think we will happily hit several hundred thousand in the first year, with a good deal of those retained. I think we could also be surprised with a better reception, but the smart guy puts his money on a build-up.

I just don't think that steam is required for that buildup, or that it will ultimately help. Path of Exile can target a wide audience because it boils down to hack and slash. Hex is a lot more thinky - I am sure some steam players would love it to bits, but I bet it would not be very well received (barring the free parts.)

Svenn
02-19-2014, 01:03 PM
I am talking about years for millions, but I do think we will happily hit several hundred thousand in the first year, with a good deal of those retained. I think we could also be surprised with a better reception, but the smart guy puts his money on a build-up.

I just don't think that steam is required for that buildup, or that it will ultimately help. Path of Exile can target a wide audience because it boils down to hack and slash. Hex is a lot more thinky - I am sure some steam players would love it to bits, but I bet it would not be very well received (barring the free parts.)
So we're mostly thinking along the same lines in terms of Hex players, except in regards to the importance of Steam for numbers. The one thing I will say is that Steam does actually cater towards hardcore players, which is what Hex needs, and digital card games are something that are not unfamiliar to Steam (SolForge, Duels of the Planeswalkers, Spectromancer for example).

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 01:25 PM
I have never even heard of Spectromancer. Never seen an advertisement for SolForge. And DotP sucks, to the point that I bought the 2013 version and hated it until I modded the crap out of it. It also doesn't cater to anyone except existing MTG players who are bored (no trading, no buying packs, nothing of any interest at all. Just sitting down with premade decks and bashing your head against a keyboard.)

I don't ever see advertising for any good dTCG (hell, the only one has been DotP) and I think Hex would just be left with little advertisement, just like most other games. Or it would rot in Greenlight for months. Even with top notch advertising, most people that will join are MMO players looking for the new flavour of the month and the retention rates are likely to be very low.

While I would hope they would play well together and attract more players, I feel that steam would cause more grief for CZE than it is ultimately worth, at least in the early days.

Svenn
02-19-2014, 01:48 PM
I have never even heard of Spectromancer. Never seen an advertisement for SolForge. And DotP sucks, to the point that I bought the 2013 version and hated it until I modded the crap out of it. It also doesn't cater to anyone except existing MTG players who are bored (no trading, no buying packs, nothing of any interest at all. Just sitting down with premade decks and bashing your head against a keyboard.)

I don't ever see advertising for any good dTCG (hell, the only one has been DotP) and I think Hex would just be left with little advertisement, just like most other games. Or it would rot in Greenlight for months. Even with top notch advertising, most people that will join are MMO players looking for the new flavour of the month and the retention rates are likely to be very low.

While I would hope they would play well together and attract more players, I feel that steam would cause more grief for CZE than it is ultimately worth, at least in the early days.
Spectromancer was Richard Garfield's previous digital card game (that played quite a bit like SolForge actually).

I know quite a few people who found SolForge through Steam and got way into it. I used to see it on the front page and get some pop-ups about it fairly regularly.

I'm not sure what the grief is. They'd have to spend a little bit of time setting up the Steam end of things but that shouldn't be a big undertaking, and they'd have to worry about paying Steam. Relatively minor issues compared to the exposure.

Also, if there's any doubt at just how important Steam is... an article from a major gaming site titled "Reminder: Not All Worthwhile PC Games Are On Steam": http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/10/reminder-not-all-worthwhile-pc-games-are-on-steam/

Gwaer
02-19-2014, 02:00 PM
They would also be beholden to steams rules, if they wanted to try sonething new, they'd have to check and see if it was against them. They'd be giving up a portion of their creative freedom, their income, etc. it would be better for Hex to end up more like league of legends than having to worry about agreements with valve.

And if numbers don't pick up fast enough, they can always get in steam later.

Xenavire
02-19-2014, 02:57 PM
I don't see the relevance of that article - any gamer with a brain knows that plenty of quality games exist outside if steam. I own a 3DS, I play PS3, and I own a few PC games that have never been offered on steam. Not to mention independent MMO's.

Steam is a great tool. But it is not flawless. And gamers know that.

TZHX
02-20-2014, 10:17 AM
Steam would definitely introduce new gamers to the game. It's far beyond it's competitors as a digital distirbution means. However, it's also -- on occasion -- a bit of a toxic community and there are rumblings from some less-than-AAA/none-indie-starlet developers that they can be a bit of a pain.

Also, I think that until Hex has something to offer F2P players (i.e. PvE content), then "releasing" as a free-to-play game on Steam will just create a bad first impression as people see they need to spend money to do anything in this game they were told was free. Steam has enough F2P games that people don't need to look twice, so it makes the most sense to wait a good while before releasing there, until the game is polished and has some of those shiny bells-and-whistles.

Xenavire
02-20-2014, 11:03 AM
They need to distinguish between free to play, and no purchase games. Free to download, with in-game purchases, are free, with free to play elements. True free to play is no-purchase (meaning none ever.)

Steam isn't the only one making this mistake though.