Developers: Let’s do digital distribution right.Posted: December 21, 2012
The odds are that very, very few of us are going to deliver our games through steam. That doesn’t mean we can’t be super slick when distributing our games, but it’s something we consistently fuck up. So here’s how I propose we operate when distributing games to best serve the awesome people who take a chance on us and buy them.
First of all, none of this shit:
Expiring links are the BANE of digital distribution. What if I want to download later? What if I want to get the updated version of the game? What if I want to gift the game to someone, but their birthday happens after the link expires?
If you are having BMTMicro/FastSpring deliver your files, those links will expire (BMT also has a habit of becoming blocked if the person doesn’t download the files when they get their link). I don’t know about other services so much, but it seems to be a standard.
Expiring links are only worthwhile to businesses who want to treat their customers like shit, that isn’t us. so here’s what you do;
Have a download page on your own site with all the download links:
Just one address for everyone is fine, but if you really want some key-based download pages feel free to work that out so long as those keys don’t expire. Put your updates here and people can always return for the latest version of a game.
If you are using BMTMicro/FastSpring, you probably have to upload a file to their servers (that will expire). But you can also specify what goes into the email customers are sent, so GIVE THEM A LINK TO GET THE GAME FROM YOUR SITE.
Providing a link that never expires is kind of what makes steam such a reliable service. For all the issues I have with steam, they deliver a fucking excellent process for buying games and getting them.
In my browser, I have a folder of bookmarks with game downloads. I can just click it and see a list of games I’ve bought. I get a sense of pride every time I open it, these are things I own, these are things I supported. Give your customers a chance at this pride, it’s the same enjoyment folks get from adding games to their steam library.
Right now my folder of games is pretty small. Not enough developers are providing bookmarkable downloads. If we want to exist outside of steam we need to get rid of this expiring link bullshit, and make it easier for customers to browse and get games they have bought from us.
LET’S DO THIS! \:D/