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Be careful what you wish for.
by Paul Johnson on 08/20/14 06:11:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


As most know, Steam is a very closed shop indeed. Even before the current gen consoles' "more open" policies, you could always get a contact at MS or Sony to try and get on their kit. They'd often say no, but you could at least have that conversation. Even when you got that no, it was a dignified experience where you felt like a grown-up talking to the big boys.

But getting to talk to someone at Steam as an outsider is not so easy so you're left with the popularity contest that is the Greenlight process.

So. We had a mobile game that we'd taken the time to make work nicely on PC. Steam is pretty much the only game in town so we had to get on it to make any decent sales. We couldn't win that popularity contest on PC because what fanbase we do have all come from mobile. The only realistic answer for us was to put our dearly held indie status to one side and find a publisher with a backstage pass.

Enter Cosmi. Once part of THQ. We spoke at length, they promised presence in Walmart (lie), Target (lie) and Steam (result). Yes, we got what we wanted. Walmart's budget aisle would've been nice, but we wanted Steam and they got us Steam so all is well.

Until they stopped paying us. We're currently owed about £15K with a quarter to come. I'm assuming they went bust seeing as they're not responding to my queries/cajolling/threats. And as an overseas company we've probably not heard from a liquidator about our debt. Or something. I can't bring myself to find out as it'll only piss me off if I see they're still trading. We're not getting our cash either way.

So anyway. We got our first ever game on Steam. It's there right now.


This could only happen to me!


EDIT: News just in. We've now spoken with a representative from Valve and they were perfectly reasonable about the situation. A resolution is on the cards...  :)


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Dan MacDonald
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Sorry to hear it Paul. It's a sobering cautionary tale. I hope you get it sorted out.

Paul Johnson
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Thanks Dan. All part of working with publishers ime.

I've been putting it off, but having posted that now, I'll be taking legal advice to get this Steam thing resolved one way or another.

Kyle Redd
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Oh god, I really hope you get justice. I've been with Steam pretty much since the beginning, and trying to get any sort of useful, non-automated communication from Valve, on any subject, has always been fruitless.

It's irritating as a customer, but I had always assumed that developers were treated with a little more courtesy, as the parties that actually create the products that bring in all that money for them. To hear your experience is just as bad as ours is astonishing.

I bought Great Big War Game a long time ago, and have enjoyed it. If you are ever able to get a real explanation from Valve as to how this happened in the first place (and if they intend to do anything to prevent other developers from being similarly scammed), please write a follow-up.

Paul Johnson
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Thanks for the support. Hopefully a lawyer will be able to get us past the bouncer on the door and then I'm sure it will get sorted amicably. I hope!

Jason Bentley
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A) For 15k euros, it's worth hiring a lawyer immediately (if you haven't already)
B) "Fuck You, Pay Me." is one of the most important messages you'll ever see.

Paul Johnson
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Just a small update to finish that part off. We're now in contact with Valve and things are progressing just nicely. Result! :)

Charles Geringer
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Just wanted to wish you good luck.

I did like combat monsters a lot and felt it had a lot o potential. I wish I had more time to play it.

Paul Johnson
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Thank you, that's much appreciated. We'll hopefully get back on to that next year for a long overdue free update too.