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Details on how Slay the Spire sold on Linux plus some thoughts

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In the past, I've spoken to many developers about how their games sold on Linux and this time we have information on Slay the Spire to share.

First, we need to take into account that according to the Steam Hardware Survey that Linux only currently represents around 0.82% of the Steam market. Also, this is only on Steam and so it's not counting Humble Store where it's also sold.

Here's the breakdown the developer provided:

95.5% - Windows
4% - Mac
0.5% - Linux

To me, that's a surprise (the developer was surprised too) as that's quite low even for Linux sales. When doing this before (part 5) it did fluctuate quite a lot between 0.6% up to highs of around 16% (although that was a rare one with FLASHOUT 2 in Part 3).

Obviously a big part of the problem is just how many games there are now across all platforms. Even just on Linux, Steam has somewhere in the region of 5,426 games available and that's not taking into account all the bigger titles that can now be played thanks to Steam Play.

Competition is hotter than ever and being a smaller platform, it isn't obviously helping. It's basically the same story as it always has been—increasing our market share somehow is the only thing that will help. The uphill battle remains and will do for a long time, the important thing is to continue to make sure we're worth the time for the developers who do support Linux. Be helpful when issues arise, put up a review for a game you enjoy, tell those developers you enjoyed it on Linux and so on you get the idea.

Slay the Spire is a popular indie game, one with an "Overwhelmingly Positive" user rating from over 20,000 user reviews and it definitely deserves your attention. It's stolen a lot of time away from me personally, it's fantastic.

You can find Slay the Spire on Humble Store and Steam if you wish to pick up a copy.

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stretch611 5 Feb, 2019
It would be nice if Humble continued to show stats for its bundles like they used to do. It would break down sales by OS and average price paid for each OS.

(I just looked and verified... on the "Caffeine" bundle they are only showing total sales and average of all sold.)

I remember when they used to have this information, Linux and Mac sales were always a bit higher than their actual market share. (Windows still sold the most by a wide margin.) But interestingly, Windows users used to pay the least, Mac was in the middle and linux users paid the most per sale on average.

Admittedly, Humble has grown quite a bit from 10 years ago when it only had a few bundles a year and no store. It is a bit more mainstream now and with a larger audience. Based on that I would suspect being more mainstream means a greater percentage of windows users now versus 10 years ago, but I really would be curious about the numbers. (Of course, the old humble was all cross-platform and DRM Free (mostly indie devs); and now it is possible to get windows only, Denuvo infested games in their humble monthly bundle.)
dirkdierickx 5 Feb, 2019
game is on my wishlist, i still have many, many games left to play and this one is just in the queue.
i'll buy & play it for sure one day, there is no rush.
const 5 Feb, 2019
I always assumed humble and other key resellers sales heavily distort our sale figures on Steam. I buy almost all games on humble. I feel quite attached to them from the old days, where humble really improved my linux experience tremendously, because they were the first bigger player that cared about it. Plus they are often the cheapest non-dubious option and monthlys can be a really nice gamble.
I bet there are a lot others like me in the linux gaming community.
Now that I think of it, I should probably start to be more attached to Valve instead of Humble, as humble really doesn't care about Linux as much any more, while Valve are the main force behind a lot of improvements.

Regarding Slay the Spire - I couldn't really find this game appealing to me. Maybe it's well polished and fun, but the idea itself did never interest me enough. Maybe the word rouge-like is holding me back.

Last edited by const on 5 February 2019 at 10:31 am UTC
QuoteAlso, this is only on Steam and so it's not counting Humble Store where it's also sold.
That makes me wonder how a Steam key activation is counted

Unfortunately, they are not. I asked a developer friend (just yesterday I finally got an answer) and Steamworks shows very little information about keys. Apparently, just total activation and geographic spread of those activations.


Grrr, maybe half of my games on Steam are Steam keys (mostly from Humble).
It surprises me that devs don't have some kind of overall sales stats by OS, including keys activations.
(And actually I'd be very curious to know what kind of stats devs have access to)
scaine 5 Feb, 2019
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mao_dze_dunI'm stunned why some people can face cold numbers and still refuse to accept reality. The Linux market is TINY which is why game sales are also tiny in percent. A lot of people like to present alternative math by which 10% of all Linux gamers on Steam will always buy any given game. Well guess what - it doesn't work that way. Nobody ports to Linux expecting a profit bar actual porting companies. All in-house ports are a work of love and mad props to developers who actually do them. But next tine a couple of spiteful people (you know exactly who you have) start spitting venom at a developer who plain admits the numbers aren't there - please refer them to this article.

You sound (weirdly) angry, despite the cool tone of the other replies here. As I said earlier, no one is refusing "to accept reality" - it's simply odd that such a popular game has such a low percentage of Linux sales when so many other very similar games do so much better - usually much higher than our "0.5%" market share suggests.

As for whether the number are there or not, that depends. If you're going to sell 1M copies, then sure, 5000 extra sales is pretty meaningless. If you're going to sell 50K, then 5000 extra sales suddenly looks pretty sweet (albeit only one dev has reported close to 10% Linux sales). If my £9 game takes in £6 profit... that's £30K in the bank. That's great, even if Windows and Mac still nets you a more significant £270K.

Either way, the devs have to do the maths. "5000" times "game profit" should, in most cases, cover any expenses related to the Linux version. Not all cases, but certainly most cases. And while you might be right that Linux support is often a work of love, love doesn't pay the bills.
TheSHEEEP 5 Feb, 2019
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scaineAnd while you might be right that Linux support is often a work of love, love doesn't pay the bills.
Not THAT kind of love, anyway.

This daily shitpost was sponsored by Powerthirst.
medicalcannabis 7 Feb, 2019
This was not my type of roguelike. I bet I wasn't alone in passing this title by.
g000h 7 Feb, 2019
medicalcannabisThis was not my type of roguelike. I bet I wasn't alone in passing this title by.

What would you say "is" your type of rogue-like?

For me, I like Slay The Spire, FTL: Faster Than Light, Frost, Dicey Dungeons, Darkest Dungeon, Out There: Omega Edition, Delver, Pixel Dungeon, Don't Starve, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Wayward, Haque, Eldritch (and others which I haven't played or considered yet).

Last edited by g000h on 7 February 2019 at 5:40 pm UTC
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