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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.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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38 comments
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Patola 4 February 2019 at 12:51 pm UTC
Those news made me mildly depressed. Although it's not my type of game, I wish the linux sales were much better since it's a nice, desirable game to have.
g000h 4 February 2019 at 1:01 pm UTC
I'm pretty shocked by this revelation. My money would be on 2% of sales or higher.

Regarding the price, many of the purchasers of Slay The Spire bought it whilst it was in Early Access, myself included. It has only just recently reached full release status (approx 3 weeks ago).

Some of my reasoning:
- It is the sort of game which would appeal to Linux gamers.
- It was available as a Linux native version practically during Day One of Early Access (and has been ever since).
- The price wasn't as high as it is now, during the Early Access period. ( I picked it up for approx $10 )
- It has been reported as working on Linux, and given great reviews on this very Linux-centric gaming website.
- It isn't really a game which is going to be bought by the Chinese market (primarily Windows users).
- We've had reports of other native Linux games doing far better than Steam's hardware statistics.
- It'll run on a potato, which is good for the not-so-gaming-oriented Linux crowd.

Even the Mac sales seems a bit "off" to me. The fact that it is able to run on a potato means it is good for all those Macbooks with low-spec graphics.

Thanks for asking Mega Crit, the developers about this. Don't suppose they shared any hours of gaming per platform data (or equivalent)?
scaine 4 February 2019 at 1:54 pm UTC
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KlaasI have not bought the game because it is priced above my “I'm willing to buy a Steam version” price point which is about 8 €.

If the game was released on Itch or GOG I would buy it ASAP, although I'm still not convinced that I would enjoy it more than Dicey Dungeons which is somewhat similar and seems to offer a little more control for the player.

Welcome to GOL! If you liked Dicey Dungeons, you'll absolutely love Slay the Spire. I can tell you that while I played all the characters in Dicey once (and once only) in about 5 or 6 hours (being generous, it was probably less), I'm still playing Slay the Spire after nearly 100 hours.

I paid $7.50, plus $2 tip, plus $2 VAT for Dicey. That's roughly £8.50 in UK money. Meanwhile, I played £12 for Slay the Spire in November last year. It's since gone up to £19.50. Dicey will also go up in price when it releases, although I admit that Slay's jump was quite large.

So, I suppose that even at the more expensive price point, I'm getting way more than twice the value for Slay than I got from Dicey.

I'll go back to Dicey eventually, it's awesome. But it doesn't (yet) have the staying power that Slay's demonstrated.
Salvatos 4 February 2019 at 2:25 pm UTC
PitAnd it won't increase the number of native Linux titles either - on the contrary, as has already been shown by titles revoking the native port in favor of proton.
Others have already addressed most of your points, but I'd also like to point out that AFAIR the devs that removed Linux versions of their games on Steam were those where the ports were broken and/or inferior to Proton performance and they weren't willing to fix them. So even in those instances Proton improved the situation for Linux players, going from an unplayable native port to a playable non-native one.
Klaas 4 February 2019 at 4:09 pm UTC
scaineWelcome to GOL! If you liked Dicey Dungeons, you'll absolutely love Slay the Spire. I can tell you that while I played all the characters in Dicey once (and once only) in about 5 or 6 hours (being generous, it was probably less), I'm still playing Slay the Spire after nearly 100 hours. (…)
Thank you. I've been reading articles and comments for a long time, you I'm only new to you, but you aren't new to me.

I've definitely played Dicey Dungeons longer than you. I love Dicey's whimsical tone. It reminds me of Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Obviously there are still some rough edges, but it is still at version 0.15.1.

One thing that I don't like in Slay the Spire is the meta progression.


scaine(…)So, I suppose that even at the more expensive price point, I'm getting way more than twice the value for Slay than I got from Dicey.(…)

I'm not questioning the price point in general. For me, Steam is a huge reduction in value, because even if you assume that the service will be available as long as you want to play the game, it still feels like a borrowed game. And I still resent Valve for the shift in game distribution from physical copies of games that you could install at will to empty boxes with a slip of paper. IMO that is highly undesirable and it made me stop buying (and playing) any newly released games for several years.

Releasing the source code (e.g. HyperRogue) increases the value of a game considerably.

As it is, Slay the Spire costs 21 € on Steam and that is almost thrice the amount I would be (reluctantly) willing to pay for a Steam copy.
skye 4 February 2019 at 7:30 pm UTC
Hmmm I bought my key through gmg but have been playing it exclusively on linux so hopefully it got counted... I'm 500+ hrs of playtime so steam has got to know what os I'm on
mao_dze_dun 4 February 2019 at 7:46 pm UTC
I'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.
morbius 4 February 2019 at 8:24 pm UTC
Wow, that's depressing. I didn't expect big numbers for Linux, but 0.5% is really small. The game is on my wishlist, but I'm waiting for a better offer, around 8 euros or so.
Klaas 4 February 2019 at 8:48 pm UTC
skyeHmmm I bought my key through gmg but have been playing it exclusively on linux so hopefully it got counted... I'm 500+ hrs of playtime so steam has got to know what os I'm on

According to @cbones it did not: link
CFWhitman 4 February 2019 at 10:56 pm UTC
Something to be aware of when it comes to Linux market share is that games don't really make a significant difference. That is, Linux market share is not significantly affected by the games that are available.

On computers, games follow market share rather than the other way around, so the more people who use Linux altogether, the more games will become available for it. You should be aware that Linux market share has been steadily growing and has practically tripled on the desktop in the past ten to twelve years (from about 0.7% to about 2.1% according to Web hit based statistics). Of course, 2.1% is still a very small percentage of the desktop, but the growth curve could reveal a lot of potential. It's hard to know when that kind of growth curve will play itself out, but if it were to keep going, it could mean a double digit percentage in an unexpectedly short time.
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