The second part in my investigation into how well developers are doing on Linux with selling their games via the Steam store.
I hope you all enjoyed the first part; it was a good experience talking to developers and seeing their numbers, so I decided to reach out to more developers for your reading entertainment!
They are listed from best to worse performing titles, so be sure to show your love for the lower ones.
Harvest: Massive Encouter
For the last 12 months
5.4% Mac OSX
If we count the whole lifetime though;
2.3% Mac OSX
Just bear in mind it was released in 2008, the Linux version only got released at the end of 2012, so that 1.5% figure is actually really, really good.
Jens Bergensten, Oxeye Game StudioUnless Steam for Linux really takes off in the future, we're not sure it's the effort for us to offer our games on multiple platforms. It's very time consuming for such a small team as Oxeye has.
16.2% Mac OSX
This is after Linux had a delayed released.
8.0% Mac OSX
3.0% Linux (Ubuntu distributions account for 57% of the Linux users)
Mihai Gosa, KillHouse GamesThe stats were different in our first month since the Early Access release, where Linux was around 6%, it seems things have changed.
We also released a free demo for almost two months. That was before getting on Steam, but Linux downloads totalled at 5%.
The initial development time for porting on Linux was about 2 work days and another 3 days added in the following months for updates/fixes.
All the code written for the Linux port is contained within a single file of 1320 lines.
Most problems we had on Linux were compatibility issues, which were solved by using an older Ubuntu version for compiling the game. We also never managed to do proper alt-tab when the game is running full-screen, which seems to bring major anger to our users :(
Mac OSX initially took longer at about 3 days, mostly due to the programming IDE (Xcode) and the time it took to go buy a Mac machine, but didn’t have to do any fixes on it afterwards.
Since they’re both POSIX systems, parts of the code are common.
Even though it depends on factors like what technology/engine you’re using (we’re using a home-brewed engine) and how you architectured your code in the first place, I can’t imagine why more developers don’t do it.
Bottom line is Linux+Mac brought us 11% of the sales for a single week’s work, so yeah, it was definitely worth it.
2.1% Mac OSX
4.9% Mac OSX
6.70% Mac OSX
Sales % per platform for the last 4 months.
The Windows figure is over inflated since many people redeeming Kickstarter keys were forced to use Windows for several weeks after Steam launch. Looking at the player figures or sales this month, the actual number is roughly 8% with Mac at 5% or so.
1.1% Mac OSX
Simon Roth, Maia DeveloperLinux was one of my target platforms from conception. I'm far more keen on supporting it than OSX, which has been nothing but trouble in comparison.
Since I use standard, Linux friendly libraries such as SDL, it's really a no-brainer to support. Using different compilers on multiple platforms is a good way to weed out complex memory bugs so even if it wasn't profitable to support, it would be worthwhile to me. Interestingly, due to the new GCC features and the low system overhead on Linux, Maia Linux often outperforms the other platforms in testing. It's also far easier to support currently, as Linux users are generally more technically proficient with their systems.
I primarily develop and test on Mint, as I prefer the "Windows" style GUI rather than Ubuntu's horrid new interface. I think Linux adoption was hit hard by Canonical totally losing the plot since around their 8.10 release.
For future games I will definitely support Linux, and am considering a controller support for the Steam box. I'd really like to see ATI put out some better drivers as the NVIDIA ones are currently a mile ahead.
The developers where kind enough to show us that image when I requested it, so that makes:
3.57% Mac OSX
Again this number may seem small, but I doubt the guys at Facepunch Studios think it's not worth it (For those who don't know, Facepunch Studios created Garrys Mod) . When you look at it that 5,621 * £14.99 selling price is around £84,258 give or take, that's without taking taxes and Steam's own share into account, but that's still a lot of money, probably more than some indie games will ever make.
0.05% Mac OSX
% of total revenue made since PZ appeared on Steam.
Looks like it's time to show Project Zomboid some sales love don't you?
Chris Simpson (known as Lemmy) from Project Zomboid's The Indie Stone had this to say:
Chris Simpson, The Indie StoneI remember though coming up with a figure of approx 3-5% linux back in the day we offered direct downloads, though obviously this is a much lower sample of people. In truth its not really easy for us to tell definitively, but for the large part if the cross platform support isn't too heavy, then its beside the point.
On the whole the low numbers don't bother us as we have a lot of pride supporting all three platforms, but more crucially we firmly believe in time those numbers are going to swing dramatically in Linux's direction with SteamOS, even if it takes a few years. We worked on a game using XNA, which is MS proprietary technology, and while MonoGame exists now, we were stung badly by MS's reckless abandon of it. And with Windows 8 and MacOS both taking worrying steps toward forced application signing and funnelling more and more through their own stores, it's not about making money but securing the future freedom of our game not to by tied into a closed system governed by a company who could just screw you on a whim. That's why Linux is and should be of prime importance to developers, particularly those doing alpha funding business models where they have to rely on income from a single game for years.
OH I should add, and this is of prime importance further to our numbers. We don't feel we've done a good job, even an acceptable job, at supporting Linux thus far, due to the problems we've had getting familiar with it as developers. As such we've probably lost a huge chunk of sales from Linux and to a lesser extent mac due to our poor support of them. We have a demo of the game we urge people to try before buying, and due to the nature of Linux and our inexperience we've yet to hit on a way to make our game 'just work' and this may have turned a good % of people on Linux off buying our game. we're improving this and hope to come up with a way to make PZ more accessible to Linux users without manual set up and such, so the numbers may look a lot more flattering to Linux at that stage.
Again a big, big, thank you to all the developers who could spare time; we know they are always stupidly busy and not always doing fun things. Paperwork takes a lot of time to do!
What do you all think of Part 2? Are you surprised or do you think it's still about right for where Linux is in the market right now?
About the author - Liam Dawe