So Death Pirate has been released on Steam. It was a quite long and difficult road.
Porting the game for Steam was pretty complicated. The Steam system is overly confusing with its own terms and its set of softwares. Anyway, I'm not allowed to talk about it (it's written "Steam Confidential" all over it!) so let's close the chapter.
Things were going smoothly and the game was ready for release two months before. One day, a nice fellow sent me a message on Singe Studio's Facebook: "You should check the Death Pirate board on Steam. Things are going sour over there". I didn't even know Death Pirate had its own message board on Steam! I read a few messages and, yes, it was a mess.
Last september, I received a message from a guy from Desura asking me if I'd want to apply to a special campain to boost my greenlight votes. For one week, they would sell the game at a discount price and the buyers would greenlight the game on Steam (I only got 200 votes from it - it needs around 2500 votes to be greenlit). Then, when the game would be released on Steam, they would get the game for free. I answered "Ok, why not!". I didn't sign anything, I didn't fill any form.
In the meantime, I reworked the game completely for the Android platform and reworked it again for Steam. When I created the Steam page for Death Pirate in March, if I remember well, someone sent me a message saying that he brought the game on "IR" (???) and asked if he would get the game for free on Steam. I answered that he brought the game on "IR" (???) so he wasn't entitled to play the game on Steam again. It's quite logical, if you buy a game on PS3, you're not entitled to the same game on Xbox 360.
It appeared that "IR" meant "Indie Royal" and it was the special campain I applied to 7 months before. I didn't remember this at all (I applied through a messenger in not even 1 minute by a simple "yes, why not?" - easy to forget to kind of stuff). So yes, the guy was actually entitled to a free copy of Death Pirate on Steam. But I didn't know.
It was the reason for an amazing flame war on the Death Pirate board. Nearly 250 messages of pure hate were destroying the reputation of the game. I tried to calm things down by answering most messages but, you know, it's the internet. I was a thief, a crook, an idiot, a murderer, a rapist, anything that could come into their minds.
So I looked for the email of the guy who made me apply to Indie Royal. I told him that I would send him the Steam keys for those who bought the game. He answered me "Alright. I will need 1000 keys.". I checked again the number of buyers and told him I'd send him the 200 keys for 200 buyers. He said that I had to send more because Steam keys tend to be falty sometimes and just in case it doesn't work, blablabla. Alright, here goes 1000 steam keys (1000 free copies of Death Pirate). The guy tells me he would send them right away (but the buyers wouldn't be able to download the game before the release day).
I do the announcement on the Steam board that they would get their free games. The board which was so full of hate before became just plain dead - people are more motivated when it comes to hate than to actually communicate or simply talk about a game. Fun.
Here comes the release day of Death Pirate. I check if the buyers' keys are working. No. None of them actually received anything. Consequently, more hate ensues on the board. I contact the guy from Indie Royal who answers me coldly "Desura and Indie Royal are out of business. I have nothing to do with these matters anymore". Fear. I'm still dead meat for the board.
I sent many messages to the same guy telling him that he should have told me before I sent him the Steam keys and that he lied when he said he would send them right away. I also implied that if he didnt send them and asked for so many keys, it probably meant he was to re-sell them illegaly on some other website. He was therefore a thief and a crook! No answer.
A few days later, the board is happy. They got their free games. Then the board turns dead again. One or two thanks and that's it. And a few bad reviews too. The steam experience.
Well, you got the whole picute now, the long hard road to release a game. In the end, I found myself strangely fullfilled. I did it. No regrets.
But I won't do it again for a while.