Why Garry’s Mod Is The Most Successful Indie Product In Steam?

When you go to check Steam indie games and click “top sellers”, the chances are that you’ll see Garry’s Mod listed there in top 10. Over the years, it has pretty much always been there (at least when I’ve checked the list).

In fact, it’s the only top selling indie product that was released in 2006. That’s quite a long time to stay on top.

In my books, that’s the most successful indie product in Steam.

Why is that?

I’d have a few ideas on that (there’s some marketing points in here, so it might be actually a good idea to read this. At least the thing where word “pack” is mentioned):

  • It’s not a “real” game, as there’s no goals – it’s a toy. (Please, let’s just agree on this? Games=goals, toys=games with no goals). Toy that let’s you play around.
  • It’s a toy… but also a “sandbox game” where you can bring new items and mess with them.
  • You can construct: put your creativity in the work. And just construct. For people like me (who like to create, like many do) it’s a huge satisfaction to see and do new creations.
    It’s moddable. Strange as it sounds, but this mod is actually moddable and people have created their own game modes which other people can try.
  • It’s wacky: you can pose characters in funny positions. Save screenshots. And then hear your friends laughing.
  • It’s social. I think this is a huge thing. In this game/toy… you get to create new things and then you can share your creations. Naturally you can do this in other games, but in garry’s mod it’s kind of like expected: why create funny faces unless you plan to take screenshots and tell your friends. I’d guess there’s underlying expectation about sharing things created with garry’s mod. (I might be totally wrong on this).
  • It’s been updated: since it’s a mod, whenever Valve brings new stuff or games (like Team Fortress 2), garry’s mod got tons of content (naturally with some work, but anyway).
  • The price is probably very right.
  • Valve’s promotion. As garry’s mod is made for Valve’s product, there’s good chances to get promotion made by Valve. For example, now you can purchase a pack “Garry’s Mod + Team Fortress 2”. Valve has interest to sell TF2, so Garry’s mod benefits from that. You don’t get to see “Team Fortress 2 + (random indie game)” being sold in a pack. Cross-selling is a good thing, and when you can stick your product close to other (very popular) product, you are in a good place.
  • It got there first. Being first isn’t always a good thing (as competitors can come and ruin your thing by doing something better), but garry’s mod pretty much was there first to provide a wacky mod for Valve’s products. It got there first, and is holding the lead. Why bother buying some other wacky mod (don’t even know if there is any?) as garry’s mod is the popular one?

Last but not definitely least:

  • It’s indie made.

And everybody knows that indie made stuff rocks.

Juuso Hietalahti

One Comment

  1. Garry’s Mod was not the first mod to use the Valve engine JBMods was the first then Garry’s mod and SMod and a fiew others even though garry’s mod is a much better product Garry did have to steal ideas and so forth off JBMod to get where they are today see http://www.jbmod.com/

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