Steam Sale Saves Developer

If ever proof was needed of how important Valve's Steam platform has become to many PC developers, look no further than the tale of Introversion, the developers of Defcon and Darwinia, whose company was saved by a Steam sale.

Despite a string of cult successes like Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon (pictured), the British developers had run into some tough times recently, and had gone from being a "proper" studio, with an office and staff, to having to fire most of their workers, sell their furniture, move out of their office and code from their bedrooms.

In desperation, one day they decided to add some Steam achivements to Defcon. Doing so meant Valve gave the team some promotion on Steam, and that promotion turned into sales.

Valve okayed the promotion and even though it didn't focus on DEFCON we were happy that we had achieved our core objective. This was the game-changer. When we started Introversion we'd had a string of successes and believed we were undefeatable, but it was a long time since we'd had a victory and we really needed one. Right on cue, Valve delivered. The promo exceeded all of our expectations and when combined with our low burn rate (no office or staff now) we had gone from being fearful about paying our mortgages to having a year's operating capital in the bank.

Great news for Introversion, as they thoroughly deserve it. It'll also hopefully give them the coin to continue development on Subversion. But for everyone else... Valve may be in most people's good books, but it's still a little frightening to think that a single company can play kingmaker with the fortunes of developers across an entire platform, so dependant have so many PC publishers become on Steam for legitimate sales.

Coming Clean [Introversion, via Rock, Paper, Shotgun]


    I hope you're not suggesting that Steam are somehow doing something wrong themselves. They've done nothing but try to expand the reach of so-called 'PC' game developers by expanding to Mac, for example. Further, they can't be faulted for giving the consumer what they want either. And as long as they continue to keep doing that, then there's no real reason to fear them going under or anything, as they must be making money hand over fist. We weren't...aren't... worried that we are pretty much bound to Windows as gamers either. I dunno, this is a bit of a rant here, but that last line in the paragraph there seems a bit odd.

    It's not odd. He's not having a go at Valve for their product. Luke is pointing out that there's nothing else keeping PC alive, really, outside of Blizzard's games and Zynga's games.

    It -is- worrying that there's a monopoly, but at the very least, we can take solace in the fact that the monopoly is controlled by a -private- corporation WITHOUT stakeholders.

      I also thought the article was having a go at Valve, somehow suggesting that they had something to do with the downfall of Introvision.

      Also, I don't know if I would include Zynga as a company that is saving the PC platform for gamers.

      Its not a true monopoly. There is still the EA download dealy and amazon has something too. Steam just so happens to be the best because they established themselves in the market alot earlier so they have better infrastructure IMO. I wonder when the day will come that EB and other over priced game stores will be forced to compete directly with online distrubution methods.

      My cable gives me downloads of 34 mbps pretty consistantly, so its actually quicker for me to download then run down to the local store which is more expensive and has less of a selection.

    I love Steam sales. I have a bad habit of buying games on sale through Steam...I cannot resist :D

    And a good corporation at that. With their own stellar IP's, we PC gamers have a lot of faith in Valve and it's Steam.

    valve has some great games for real good prices on steam. i love the bundle.

    I do love Valve but I worry what would happen if Gabe decided to cash out and have a public float or sell out to ActiBlizzard or the like.

    Lets hope that day never comes.

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