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Before I get into the topic of the blog let me give a little background so there is some validity to my opinion. I have been gaming 30 plus years (since the Atari 800 & DOS days) and the last 3 years have been committed solely to EA/indie games. I have covered many EA games on my YouTube channel and written articles for N4G.com as well. This is not to brag but just set some context for where I'm coming from.
I have notice in the last year many EA games are arriving on Steam (some from Indiedb) that are severely broken and lacking in content. Immediately they are hammered with negative comments/reviews and from this point it becomes an uphill battle. It's as if the current trend is to get on Steam as quick as possible even if the game is lacking in any real content and is plagued with major bugs. Let's do a comparison and contrast of two similar games so we can get to the heart of this blog.
Let's look at the Steam release approach of Black Death and Gloria Victis. Two games set in the medieval times with a focus on PvE and PvP. Black Death arrived on the scene with much hype touting an original idea (the plague) coupled with some great visuals on the UE4. People were expecting great things based on the trailers, footage, and the fact it was on the UE4. The Black Death arrives on steam and well it suffers quickly from a "black death." There were major connectivity issues, performance issues, features didn't work and the list goes on...basically the game was unplayable. The negative reviews quickly poured in and the it's been an uphill battle ever since. The Black Death's teams response...well basically they indicated they were a small team and only tested it with a small amount of people...sorry.
Now looks at Gloria Victis and the dev teams approach to early access. Similar genre medieval setting with PvP and PvE elements but on the Unity engine. The team decides to hold off on a Steam EA release and instead works on the game for last couple of years funding it through a self created website/community. They use this as their testing grounds, a way to get feedback, make adjustments, and fund their project. Fast forward to today and the game has made major progress and server stress tests are a regular occurrence. They are set to release on Steam next month as an EA title but on solid ground. Why? Well they started with a small but dedicated community, took feedback, ironed out the bugs, received funding, and worked through the issues. Being "under the radar" the negative issues did not become as it would have had it been on Steam....damage control done right.
Now I am not implying one team is better than the other but I am using these two examples to bring to the forefront a trend I am seeing. To many EA games are arriving on Steam untested and severely broken. First impressions are everything and starting off on the right foot can mean the difference between success or failure for a small indie team.
Should more small indie teams use the Gloria Victis model? Create a website, promote through social media, build a small but dedicated fan base, get feedback, tweak, tweak again, test, squash bugs, update game, test, test again, all the while receiving funding/backers along the way. Then when you are feeling confident that proper testing, adjustments, etc. have been done then release on Steam as EA....
What do you think?
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