'Give your game away free' promotional strategy
Games developer Shota Bobokhidze (AKA ShotX) was rather put out by the reception of his latest game when it hit Steam earlier this year. Colourful post-apocalyptic roguelite top-down shooter Danger Gazers made nary a splash when released on the hugely popular PC games distribution platform. It is easy to comprehend how difficult it is to be seen on such a populous store, with many big name, big budget franchises launching and being promoted on it regularly.
Slightly discouraged Bobokhidze decided on a new strategy to get seen. After a week of his new game treading water in the dark depths of the Steam Store, he decided to give away full working copies of his game on infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay. Polygon reports that he uploaded the DRM-free Danger Gazers 1.1.0 with a note saying "there’s no catch here, no Steam only features, just the fully functional game". All Bobokhidze asked was that if any players liked the game that they consider buying it via Steam ($9.99 / £7.19).
The upshot of Bobokhidze's quite brave promo strategy is that the game enjoyed a 400 per cent uplift in sales during the following week (compared to the launch week). Danger Gazers has been added to double the number of wish lists than it was before. Last but not least Bobokhidze's appeal seems to have tugged the heartstrings of some buyers, with a number of them donating double the price of the game to encourage further development.
GTA4 PC/Steam went missing
There was quite a bit of speculation over previous days about why GTA4 had suddenly become un-purchasable via the Steam Store. Yesterday Rockstar confirmed to The Verge that the game was no longer available on the platform due to its reliance on the Games for Windows Live (GFWL, or G4WL if you like) platform.
Microsoft shuttered the G4WL service back in July 2014 but some games incorporating the service could still run without game-breaking issues, though there might be some hiccups or required workarounds for smooth play.
In response to enquiries Rockstar gave The Verge the following statement: "With Microsoft no longer supporting Games For Windows Live, it is no longer possible to generate the additional keys needed to continue selling the current version of the game. We are looking at other options for distributing GTAIV for PC and will share more information as soon as we can." This means that the game looks like it will come back to Steam in good time - and there weren't any issues with music licensing, or any plans to make the game a Rockstar Launcher exclusive after all…