I got approached by the Timothy Roberts (GameStreamer’s CEO) and Nathan Lands (Co-Founder and Executive Vice President) about a possible cooperation with GameStreamer. We agreed that I’d do a detailed review for them, and Nathan also agreed to do an interview later. I will mostly focus on the developer side (which – bit confusingly – they call “publisher”) in this review, but will also highlight some points about the benefits for those who want to sell their games.
In short: if you are interested in getting more sales (whether you are developing games or selling them), you want to check out their system.
GameStreamer (GS) has been working silently for couple of years and recently opened their doors. Basically, they mention having a massive network that contains both publishers and developers. GameStreamer works with clients that have good traffic coming to their sites – and GS to provide targeted traffic to certain demographics. In my mind, this means that for example Car sites could offer targeted Car games to their audiences (instead of “new random casual game every day”). In terms of conversion this sounds good.
They are also working with variety of clients to create new type of revenue streams and they have various payments models available – ranging from try & buy, only buying, subscription, micro-transactions to rental and advertising.
Benefits for developers
There’s some obvious benefits for developers who wish to use GameStreamer to distribute their games:
- First of all, it’s free (so basically, you have one additional way to get publishers to sell your game)
- The royalty rates are quite low – as we often see in today’s gaming industry (GS offers 25% of net revenue at the time of writing this review). It’s hard to say if that’s a bad or good rate, since they claim to have a great amount of publishers that can sell games (with great technology) – so who knows if the conversion rates are better (and if their net revenues are decent), then to me it sounds like worth pondering.
- You might also earn revenue from trial downloads, since the 25% net revenue goes for that too. So basically, the more people download your games – the more you have chance to earn (that sounds like a solid deal to me)
- Registration is pretty straightforward (register here – but be sure to read the terms before registration, don’t just do what I write here). No hassles to figure out “how to get published”.
- Please notice that the terms say that you are required to have 36 months with them (although in my experience you usually can discuss on how things go) – I asked this from Nathan and will update this as soon as I get more information on this.
I briefly mentioned to Nathan about getting Dead Wake into the system, and when the time is nearer for release of Dead Wake we’ll continue discussion and see if it sounds like a good deal to try out. Right now I don’t know how good the system is, but to me the concept sounds promising: if they can sell my game to targeted audience (and generate me revenue) then it’s worth the deal. These type of portal options aren’t always available for niche games, so to me this sounds a good distribution possibility for my game. Their site sells games ranging from casual to multiplayer to much more.
Benefits for those who want to sell games in GS catalog
If you want to start selling games from their catalog, you can sign up to become a White Label Partner with them (see WLP overview). They can also help you create your portal with their system. I’ve registered to become a partner to see how the system works, but right now I have no further information about this – except that I’d guess you can customize your portal (at least according to their site) to provide targeted games to your audience.
Like said, they give 25% of net revenue. The net revenue is a tricky term (which unfortunately most publisher/distributor will give you). If game costs $10, then net revenue isn’t $2.50. It can be $2.40 or $2.00 or $0.73. It all depends how cost-effectively they can provide games. If the costs of providing games are big, then 25% net revenue sounds bad. If they have little overhead in selling games, then of course net revenue sounds just fine.
Since I don’t have access to information that would say what this 25% means in practice, it’s hard to know how good deal it will be. Basically, if it’s a bad deal for developers – then the word will spread and eventually they won’t get many developers and their company will not be here for long… but if it’s too good for developers, then the publisher won’t like it, and soon they might end up having loads of developers but just few publishers.
If on the other hand they manage to balance this to create a win-win-win situation for every party (developers, publishers and of course for themselves) then we know things are good: this means that it might be a simple way to get your game distributed.
Like said, I don’t know how good deal they have, but they’ve got World of Goo in their system, so it can’t be all that bad I believe.
Update: Nathan from GS informed that “they are carefully reviewing some of the feedback and also are considering upping the revenue share from 25% to 35%”.
Revenue also from downloads
I really like that they also offer potential revenues for downloads. I presume this works so that if people click their ads (in case there is such) in your game (or game download page perhaps – my wild guess), you earn 25% of the net revenue. A really nice way to increase developer income (at least when the conversion doesn’t work).
How the GS distribution works
GS allows game developers to upload their games to the system, and then distribute to partner online games stores. So basically, you upload your game – then the GS partners will start selling it. And if all goes well, you start getting bucks.
While I’ve been exchanging emails with the GS folks, I’ve got a professional image from them. I got prompt replies. I felt friendly attitude.
My gut feeling is that GS can be a really big thing in the digital distribution for games. I think they have spent a good deal of resources to make the concept true, and we’ll see how things will go. That’s why I think the developers who get first in the system can benefit from this the most.
I don’t know how much hype GS offers, but the impression I got from them (and seeing all the studios they partner with) is at this point positive, and I think this can help add another way for developers to monetize their games. In their website they say:
… not only can the multi-national developers get involved, but so can the 2 guys working out of a coffee shop in San Francisco.
Sounds good for one-man studios.
Where to go next:
There’s several resources to check out:
- They have a brochure about GS: download (9 megs).
- If you are a developer, and wish to get more information about them, I recommend that you visit their game distributor pages.
- If you want to see their catalog in action, check out their store.
- If you want to sell their games, see WLP overview.
For everything else, check out their website: GameStreamer.net.
An interview with Nathan coming in the nearly future (say: within couple of weeks or so) – dedicated to game promotion and marketing for developers (questions will be outside GS too). Please comment in this blog entry and ask anything. I’ll be asking Nathan any clarifications there might be about this system, but also will be making questions regarding game promotion in general – and trying to get some tips for developers.